Out of the cage

What happens to a scientist without sense of responsibility [Guideline]


Start story
Japan, Tokyo


Sweat drips from your forehead as you look at the mutant rat that English researchers sent you. It was a naïve idea to start experiments with the animal.

You have recently developed pustules on your skin and you often feel dizzy.

And then there are the constant nightmares…

Drink water

Tell your boss about it?

He will panic and accuse you of breaking the law.

You’ll be out of a job for sure.

Remain silent
Go to your boss anyway
Japan, Tokyo

1 week later

The rat stares at you with its beady eyes, unmoving, and moves its tail slightly, like a cat before attacking.

You feel nervous.

A few weeks away from the animal would do you good.

Close eyes

You’re feeling a bit better again.

Your boss has offered you to fly to Kenya for an important congress.

You feel honoured, but are undecided.

Accept offer
Reject offer
Kenya, Nairobi

1 week later

You are standing at the airport. Sweat runs down your face.

The congress was a great success, but the only thing you can think about is this mysterious disease that has broken out again.

By now you have pustules all over your body.

Hand in luggage

The worst thing is: apparently this disease is highly contagious.

You also noticed these pustules on your colleagues a few days ago.

Enter departure lounge

You think of the guided tour through the slums of Nairobi organised by the Congress organisers.

You probably infected dozens of people there.

If this gets out, you could end up in prison.

Get on the plane
Inform Kenyan authorities
Kenya, Nairobi

5 years later

The disease was more deadly than the plague.

Since no one knew where it came from and no drug was found to treat it, the disease has spread across the globe in a flash.


Only half a million people have survived the disease, which was caused by a virus in a mutant rat.

You were one of the first to die.

Your ashes are in one of the huge underground storage facilities so that you can no longer endanger anyone.

Finish story
Kenya, Nairobi

1 year later

You lie in a crowded hospital room and know that the moment has come.

Close eyes

By the time you informed the authorities, it was already too late for the people in the slums.

Everyone there lives so close together that keeping a distance is simply not possible.

To slow the spread, countries imposed unprecedented entry bans so you couldn’t leave Kenya.

Gasping for air

Thanks to the quick action of the authorities, the disease will be contained sooner or later.

Unfortunately, you won’t live to see it.

Finish story
Prime Minister
Japan, Tokyo

2 weeks later

A strange virus has broken out and it is estimated that about 100 people have been infected.

Apparently, the virus came from a crazy researcher who experimented with mutant rats.

Scientists urge you to take strict measures to prevent the spread.

Think about it

You don’t know how curfews and assembly bans might affect people’s mental health.

For years, the suicide rate has been high, especially among young people. You are even more concerned about the economy. Japan’s economy has not been doing well for many years.

Banning people from going to work, closing universities and state-owned companies – all this could have a disastrous effect on the country’s prosperity.

Take no action
Take action
Japan, Tokyo

2 months later

You lie in a crowded hospital room and want to cry out loud, but you don’t even have the strength to do that.

You can see how quickly the virus spreads live on the big screen at the other end of the hall.

Turn head

“Another 50 dead”, says the newsreader, “First cases now also in Taiwan and the USA. Government concerned as 15% of population already sick. No antidote found yet.”

You are desperate. The thought of being responsible for the death of so many people is unbearable. For Japanese society, you are nothing but scum.

The only consolation you have is your rat, who sits in the cage next to the bed and looks at you with understanding

Finish story
Japan, Tokyo

4 weeks later

Thick bandages wrap around your body. You feel a dull throbbing in your skin. You don’t want to know what it looks like under the white fabric.

How much time has passed since your colleague poured acid on you out of sheer rage at your stupidity?

You notice the flat screen at the other end of the hall with the news on.

Listen more closely

“…virus is fully under control.”, says the newsreader, “The 800 people affected are under treatment.

The government will withdraw the measures from next week on.

It’s high time, because the Japanese economy has lost billions.”

Close eyes

What you did was a big mistake. You will probably never be allowed to enter a laboratory again. Your future life will be very different.

Thousands of people have lost their jobs because of your carelessness. Fortunately, no one has paid with their lives – a light at the end of the tunnel.

But was it right for your colleague to punish you like that?

Finish story
Japan, Tokyo

2 weeks later

Your boss enters the lab. You lower your head.

He was not happy about your report, but also concerned about your health. In the last 2 weeks you have been examined by the best experts in the world.

You were the number one topic of conversation among your colleagues.


“Seiko, we have the expert group’s report,” he says and hands you a thick folder.

Your colleagues look up with interest.

“Apparently the mutant rat infected you with a virus and your body reacted in an amazing way.”

Read expert opinions

Apparently, scientists have succeeded in synthesising a previously unknown substance from your blood.

This, enriched in large quantities, can be used as a highly dangerous biological weapon.

In small quantities, however, it could also be used against skin cancer.

Look up

“This substance could make the company rich. We’d like to market it before someone else discovers it,” says the boss, “Do you agree?”

You feel the expectant looks of your colleagues.

Insist that the substance is destroyed
Japan, Tokyo

10 years later

You finish reading the letter: “…ask you to pay for the treatment.

I spent a lot of money on your medicine, how could I know it would make me sick?

I will die if you don’t help.”

Fold letter

Thanks to years of hard work, you have risen to the head of the pharmaceutical company.

Selling the skin cancer drug made you and the company rich.

However, the drug probably has side effects: A lung disease that can only be cured with expensive medication.


To grant this woman’s request would set a delicate precedent.

You don’t know how many other people are affected by side effects.

Paying for each of these people’s treatment would drive your company into bankruptcy.

Ignore letter
Pay the womans treatment
Japan, Tokyo

2 months later

The number of people dying from a mysterious lung disease is skyrocketing.

Authorities found out that your drug was the cause and charged you.

Do they really think you killed those people on purpose?

Tear up indictment

How could it have come to this?

Why did you let yourself be so blinded by money and fame?

Now all your wealth is lost and society despises you.

But the worst thing is the silent reproaches that the people who died because of your medicine make to you.

Finish story
Japan, Tokyo

2 months later

During treatment, it turned out that this lung disease is highly contagious.

The womans entire neighbourhood has already been infected.

The drug is now banned from sale and you had to use all your assets to pay the damages.

But at least an epidemic has been prevented for the time being.

Finish story
Japan, Tokyo

4 years later

“A new laptop?”

Seiko could never stand your habit of buying a new device every two years.

“I had no choice. In”

Bite your lips

You can’t possibly tell him that your laptop has been hacked and sensitive data stolen.

You suspect that some secret service is behind it.

You know what they’re after.


You couldn’t believe it when Seiko wanted to destroy the new substance 4 years ago.

He could have helped many people, become rich and famous. As his best friend, you offered to destroy the substance and all the information about him.

In fact, you have been secretly researching it. You found out how to produce the substance in large quantities and saved the process on your laptop. And now this information has been stolen from you.

Look away

What to do?

Tell Seiko about it?

You could destroy a deep friendship.

And who knows what ideas the secret services will come up with…

Tell the truth
Stay silent
Japan, Tokyo

2 years later

You would never have thought Natsu capable of such a thing.

When her infallibility fell off like a mask, a world collapsed for you. But in the end, you forgave her. You brought the matter out into the open.

A new convention is now being drafted in the United Nations to ban the use of the substance as a weapon.

Finish story
Japan, Tokyo

3 months later

You stand in front of Natsu’s grave and fight with tears. You liked her very much, but in the last months of her life your relationship broke down.

She could no longer look you in the eyes. You know that she was hiding something from you and that this secret is connected to her murder.

But you can’t ask her anymore and this uncertainty almost tears your heart apart.

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