Part 96: Chapter 4 Daily Life, Part 12
Kyoko walked ahead in silence...and in silence, I chased her. And eventually, we arrived...
: The dressing room...!? So the "something else" you mentioned...!
: That's right. It has to do with Alter Ego.
: But...you said we didn't need Alter Ego anymore.
: I didn't say we didn't need him. I just said he had done his job. Besides, it's not us that needs Alter Ego. *He* has business with *us*.
: Alter Ego asked me to bring others to come see him. Apparently he has something he wants to ask us.
Alter Ego...wants to ask us something?
: ...Hello. Oh, um...so it's just the two of you? Kyoko and Makoto?
Kyoko's fingers glided across the keyboard.
> "Is two not enough?"
: No, it's okay! Two should be plenty.
: But what is it he wants to ask us?
: Let's find out, shall we?
Kyoko typed in the question.
> "What did you want to ask us?"
: Oh yeah, so... I'd like you to take me somewhere where you can connect me to the school network.
Kyoko and I quickly glanced at each other. She replied...
: Well, um... You said my job was done, right? But...to just stop here... Saying I've finished my work...
: I don't want that! I want to keep being helpful to everyone. I want to work as hard as everyone else so that we can all get out of here!
: That's...what Master would want, too. So...to help everyone else... To solve the mystery of this school...
: The only way I can help is if you connect me to this school's network!
: B-But...if you did that...that's basically suicide. I'm positive the mastermind would find out about it. They'd find you, and they'd... You agree, right Kyoko?
: I realize how dangerous it could be. But still...I have to do this.
: I'm scared, but...I can handle it. I...don't really understand why, but...
: When I think about everyone else, my courage starts to grow...! You might think I'm just some inhuman AI, but it's true! So...it's okay. If it's for the sake of everyone else, I won't be afraid!
I couldn't help but get lost in that voice... It was just too committed... Too admirable... Too...fragile.
: You remember what you asked before, Makoto? You asked what the difference is between a person and a program, right?
: When I talk to Alter Ego, I don't know... I have no idea how to answer that question. I think maybe that's a question even the program's creator can't answer. But I can say this...
: There's no question that Alter Ego is our friend.
: To be honest, I didn't want Alter Ego to push himself anymore. Because if we take any more risks, the mastermind really will notice it... But...
: Let's do it, Makoto. Let's connect Alter Ego to the network.
: He's our friend, so I want to take his feelings into consideration. And he says that he wants to fight alongside his friends.
: If you were in his place, could you just sit by and do nothing in this situation? If you saw everyone else fighting and doing their best, could you just look the other way? Or would you stand up? Stand up tall next to everyone else and tell them you're their friend?
: Hey, are you guys...fighting? If it's about me, please don't.
: I...I want to believe in myself. I want to be able to say, "I know I can do this."
: So please...let me try!
: And besides...there's one place where the mastermind might not notice...
: One place...?
: Remember? There's another place besides here where there's no surveillance camera.
A room without a surveillance camera...
> The secret room
: That's it! The secret room you told me about...!
: I definitely remember there was no surveillance camera in there.
: And I do believe you can connect to the network from there. I remember seeing an ethernet port on the wall.
: However, just because there's no camera there, doesn't mean there's no danger. There's no way to be sure the mastermind isn't monitoring the network somehow. We'll also have to move Alter Ego, and the mastermind may spot us going into the secret room. If they pick up on any of this, then...it's all over.
: You're right...
: But despite all that, I still think we need to try. Because that's our best chance of finding any new clues.
: ... Kyoko... In that case...will you let me carry him? There's no way you could hide him with what you're wearing, right? So let me do it.
: Okay then, I'll leave it to you. ...Thank you.
: Then let's get started. It's gonna be a little cramped for you, Alter Ego. Bear with us, okay?
We started packing him up right away. I closed the laptop and stuffed it underneath my jacket.
: Ahaha! I-It tickles!
: Shh! You can't talk right now! We're going to move you to another room. Until we get there, you have to be absolutely silent, okay?
: Understood. Your command has been implemented.
To have him react like a machine like that all of a sudden... I didn't know how to react.
: In the secret room, there are a bunch of different cables in one of the desk drawers.
: So there might be a network cable in there?
: Assuming the mastermind hasn't taken it already...
: Well, all we can do is go and check for ourselves.
: Agreed. Let's head to the secret room...
: One quick trip later...
: Hey, Makoto...
: Are you sure all the documents are gone? I refuse to believe you! Go and check again!
: Just hurry up and go! And to make sure you don't run off, I'm gonna wait right here!
Oh, I get it--she's acting... She was so forceful, I thought I'd made her mad again somehow...
: Why are you just standing there? Hurry up and go!
: O-Okay, okay, I'm going...
: And be thorough. I'm counting on you.
Okay! First we have to find a network cable...
According to Kyoko, there should be a bunch of cables in this drawer. Hmm...
: Found it! This is a network cable, right? Now we just have to connect Alter Ego!
I immediately got to work. I pulled out the laptop and connected it to the ethernet port with the cable.
: And that should do it...!
: Yeah! I think it worked!
: Just leave the rest to me! I swear I'll find something! I might even be able to connect to the outside world. If I can, I'll see if I can call for help!
: So please just wait a little while longer...
: Just hold tight and put your faith in me!
As I was about to leave, I decided to leave him with one last thing...
> "No matter what, we're gonna get out of here! You and all the rest of us, as friends!"
: Friends...? Even...me?
: Thank you. Thank you, Makoto...
: How'd it go?
: Well... It went...okay. But all the, um, documents were gone. Just like I told you...
My reply was an unintentional mix of acting and real feelings.
: I see... Then there's nothing left for us here.
: Goodbye. *begins to leave*
Before I knew it, Kyoko was walking away. She wasn't acting anymore, that much was for sure.
: Um...so we're just gonna split up?
: Of course. I have no reason to stay with you at this point.
: Well...maybe, but...isn't that a little too...direct?
: Should I hesitate and fumble for something to say? You're so high-maintenance...
: Th-That's not what I meant... I just...had more I wanted to talk to you about. Like, what are you going to do about Sakura?
: Well...something has to be done, it's true.
: But the way things are right now, there's no way to persuade anyone. They don't have the mind to listen.
: Then what should we...?
: If we can find some new clue, that would likely change the situation. That's all we can hope for right now.
Which is why Alter Ego...
: All we can do is wait, and believe in our friends.
You're right... That's our only option.
We parted ways, and I headed back to my room.
: ... I'm kinda...tired...
So I laid down in bed. Maybe it was because of the stress of moving Alter Ego, but I was way more tired than I realized. So before long at all...
...I had completely dozed off.