Part 35: Chapter 2 Daily Life, Part 8
: Once again, we're going to go see Chihiro.
: She's in the laundry room this time.
: What's wrong? Did you need something?
> Spend some time with Chihiro
: You want to sit down and talk for a while?
I spent some time talking with Chihiro... Chihiro and I grew a little closer today.
> Yes, definitely
Tips & Tips: A thick book that has hints and codes for every game ever released. A must-have for any true gaming fanatic.
: Huh? A present...? Yaay! Thank you so much!
Seeing Chihiro so pleased with something I gave her makes me happy!
: What's wrong? That seemed like a pretty heavy sigh...
: Oh, sorry... It's just, everyone else is working so hard to get us out of here, but I'm no help at all.
: Th-That's not true at all!
: It's okay, you don't have to try and make me feel better. I know it's the truth. I'm completely useless without a computer in front of me... At least if I were a little stronger or something, then I'd be able to help somehow...
: Listen, you'll get your chance. I'm sure there'll be a time when your skills will come in handy. So you don't have to worry so much, okay?
: My skills might...come in handy?
: If I get a chance, I'm gonna work super hard to chip in! When it comes to computers, you can count on me!
You're right about that. No matter what anyone might say, you're still the Ultimate Programmer!
: Speaking of which, how did you get into programming?
: Well, I mean...I always assumed most programmers were guys, so...
: ...Is it really that weird...?
: N-No, nothing like that! I was just curious what got you interested in it. I mean, why programming of all things?
: Why...? I mean, there isn't much of a reason. I've always been kind of weak, ya know. I was never able to run around with my friends or anything... We had a computer at home, so I'd kill time poking around with it. And I found out I really liked it!
: My dad was a software engineer, and he had a bunch of programs on there that he'd built. I found one of them and started playing around with it, adding stuff here and there... And that was how I ended up making my very first program.
: Interesting... What kind of program was it?
: A kind of database software...
: Database software...
: A user could communicate with it, and it would take that information and find what they were looking for. It was a way of interacting with the computer without having to physically type things out.
She said it could understand the user without them having to type things out... So that would have to be...
> Voice recognition
: You used voice recognition, is that it?
: Yup, exactly! You could talk to it, and it could actually talk back. It was a lot of fun! It didn't even really sound like me! I would get totally absorbed in talking to it...
It's like a kid recording themselves and playing it back again...
: The key part of the program was getting it to recognize what I was saying. The recognition accuracy was the most important thing. Japanese is kinda hard, so it was pretty challenging.
: But you were able to do it eventually?
: Yup! And right around then my dad found out I'd messed with his software without permission. I thought I was gonna get in so much trouble...
: But all he said was how impressed he was! The software was able to take natural speech and pull out key search terms to retrieve information. My dad said it worked so well, it was gonna change the face of software interaction all over the world!
: The development costs are still pretty expensive, so it hasn't spread that much yet, but... Anyway, I've been addicted to programming ever since...
: I can't tell you how happy it made me to be able to make others happy!
It's obvious how much you love computers. You seem to just...light up when you start talking about them.
: Ah! Sorry, I spent all this time just talking about myself...
: No, I had a lot of fun learning more about you!
: Huh? Really...?
: Yup! I hope you'll tell me even more next time.
: O-Okay! Let's hand out again sometime! It's a promise, okay?
: Chihiro's Report Card has been updated based on your experience with her. You just unlocked the skill Algorithm! Give yourself a pat on the back. You've earned it!
: Algorithm is a very useful skill that works in the Nonstop Debates. It affects a mechanic we haven't encountered yet so when we do finally come across it I'll explain the skill more in depth.
I parted ways with Chihiro, and went back to my room.
...I guess I'm feeling a little hungry. I'd better get something to eat before it's nighttime.
: I should head to the dining hall then, I guess.
I just wanted to get something to eat. And now I'm about to get roped into something like this... Actually, no...I guess I'm *already* roped in.
: Hey, Makoto! Perfect timing!
: Huh? What's going on?
: I have a favor to ask!
A favor? I have a bad feeling about this...
: C'mon, Makoto. You gotta be our [witness]!
: Witness to what...?
: This guy's been talkin' shit about me since day one. Callin' me a coward and shit like that...
: You *are* a coward! That's why you turn to violence to solve your problems!
: That's why you can't do what society asks of you, why you walk around dressed like that!
: ...The fuck you say? You dunno shit.
: You've already lost to yourself, but you're such a coward you don't even realize it!
: So what, you sayin' you're *not* a coward? You think you're tougher than me?
: I *know* I am!
: Okay, then let's throw down. Prove you got what I don't got!
: I accept your challenge!
: So that's what's happening', Makoto. You gotta be our witness!
: You're gonna...throw down? You're not gonna like...start punching each other, are you?
: There's a bathhouse on the 1st floor of the dorm, right? With a sauna inside?
: I see...a simple endurance contest, is it?
: We're going to see who can stay in the sauna the longest, am I right!?
: Goddamn straight!
: A-Are you guys really gonna go through with this?
: Shit yeah!
: He'll be done in a matter of minutes, anyway. People like him are, without exception, all talk!
: Bring! It! On! Hell, let's make things interesting. Wouldn't wanna win without a challenge, right?
: We're gonna battle with all our clothes on!
: Th-That's idiotic! Suicidal!
: What, you afraid?
: Y-You're going to regret this!
: Shut up and let's do this!
: H-Hey, Mondo...
: What, asshole?
: You can take off your uniform, ya know. Go ahead, I won't judge.
: And you can shut the fuck up and mind your own business. I mean, look at you. Your face is all red. What're you, one of those goddamn hot spring monkeys?
: I-It just so happens...I was born with a red face...!
: You don't have to act all big, man.
: A-Act, you say? Hahaha! I'm still plenty good to go! I'm so good, I could eat a steaming-hot bowl of soup right now!
: Are they...okay?
I tried to push my concern aside. A few minutes passed... Then a few dozen minutes... Then an hour...
: D-Don't you think...it's about time...you gave up?
: What about you? You can't even hardly talk...dumbass.
: Say wh-whatever you want...I'm still totally...good to go! In fact, I'm starting to feel...kinda cold!
: That's...prolly not good...
: H-Hey, uh...guys? I know you both wanna prove how big of badasses you are, but...don't you think you've done enough?
: Shut up!
Gah...I just can't win.
*Ding dong, bing bong*
: Mm, ahem, this is a school announcement. It is now 10 p.m. As such, it is officially nighttime. Soon the doors to the dining hall will be locked, and entry at that point is strictly prohibited. Okay then...sweet dreams, everyone! Good night, sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite...
: ...Hey, did you hear that? It's nighttime. How about we call it a tie?
: In a true competition...there's no such thing as a tie! You win, or you lose. That's...the only thing that matters!
: Listen to you...you son of a bitch...! Then bring it on...! I'll...I'll push you right up to the gates of hell!
The gates of hell...!? That's not a good place to push someone!
: Th-This isn't good, guys...
: Yeah, you hear him? Better crawl on back...to your room...! I'll let you know how it went...in the morning! Then you can start spreading my...my legend...!
: Come tomorrow morning...you'll fall down in front of me..down on your knees. I'll show you where to do it...!
: Big talk from someone...whose face is about to explode...!
: Right back a-at ya!
: ...Okay, well...g'night then.
I really hope those two don't overdo it... But I'm sure... To the death? No, surely they wouldn't go that far...
The concern stayed with me as I slowly succumbed to sleep.
: If fate does exist...does that mean your future is decided the moment you're born? If all your yesterdays pile up to create your tomorrow is your future as final as your past? I just don't know. That's why I'm still alive--because I don't know. That's why I desperately cling to life!