Part 1: Prologue - Part 1
The May sun shimmered on its surface. Above, high above, stretched a clear blue sky. The fresh, new sky looked so glossy and vivid that it might spill down to earth at any moment. The straight line of the horizon stretched into the distance, dividing the sea from the heavens.
: "So tranquil..."
A solitary seagull traced a gentle arc in the sky as the wind carried it away. The wind, full of the smell of the ocean, blew by him gently. The din of people could be heard in the background. The merry sound of children's voices echoed brighter than the sunlight pouring down.
: "So peaceful..."
It was like being inside a dream.
The man-made island, Insel null, rose above the waves of the water. It seemed like a place removed from reality. The word 'utopia' might have sprung to mind to describe it. Actually, a slab of rock on the boat dock of this floating island were carved the following words.
'Where is heaven?'
'Above the sky, and at your feet...'
: "Utopia, huh...?"
He mumbled and looked back casually...
Its a lemur
His eyes met those of the animal's. For a moment they eyed each other in silence.
To clear the air, he nodded his head. The animal turned away, ignoring him. Upon closer inspection he noticed something biting the animal from behind.
It was a young girl. She was shaped like a "person." Looking closer revealed that there was something strange about her as well.
Namely, a small tanuki attached to the girl's backside.
'In front of him there was a big tanuki being bitten by a girl, who was being bitten by an smaller tanuki'
The scene was enough to make him lose his sense of reality. He rubbed his eyes, rubbed them some more, and opened his eyes again... Even after blinking several times... the bizarre scene refused to go away.
: "Hey. Would you do something about this kid?"
Whispered the big tanuki.
But the words didn't reach his mind, because it was so busy trying to process the absurd scene.
(I must be dreaming, right?)
--That was what he was really thinking.
Perspective switch to our other protagonist!
This will happen several times in the Prologue. It can get confusing, but we don't get locked into a single perspective until a few updates from now. Perspective changes will be marked by animated .gifs like the one above.
If the beam travels to the right, it's switching over to the Kid's perspective. If it travels left, it's going back to Takeshi's perspective.
A dream that would not let him wake up. And whiteness. A cold, white, reality stretching forever. He felt the difference in temperature on his skin...The shock of it finally forced him to open his eyes.
I is that a polar bear on the far left?
He wondered how long he had been sitting.
It couldn't have been long. He had only been in the park an hour. He'd been sitting on the bench the whole time. Eating the same ice cream.
: "It's cold."
Of course it was. It had melted into a muddy mess. The melted vanilla ice cream trickled on to his hand, spilling on his lap.
: "Wooh, that's cold."
The ice cream slowly soaked into the fabric of his pants. Finally the coldness of it had spread completely soaking into his skin. He had been sitting there a while. He had been sitting so long. But the person he was waiting for never came. There was no sign that she would.
(I wonder why she hasn't come?)
He didn't know.
(Why am I here?)
He felt like he was teetering on the verge of utter confusion.
: "Oh well..."
He shook his head and sighed.
It didn't seem his pants would dry anytime soon.
[Park staff]: "What's wrong?"
He sensed a slight movement and a girl sat down next to him.
Oh god, its you.
A white outfit with a bluish ribbon. She looked like a guide.
: "Are you lost?"
A beaming, innocent smile appeared on her shining face.
: "Did you get separated from your friends?"
: "Yeah. I've been waiting."
: "Well...I was waiting."
: "You were waiting... For me?"
He was flustered as her grinning face peered into his.
: "I was told to wait here, so..."
: "I see... But it looks like they're not coming."
She gave him a sideways glance.
: "Listen, you've obviously been stood up and are tired of waiting..."
: "I know!"
Her face suddenly lit up and she clapped her hands together.
: "Hey, hey, you're alone, right?"
: "Well, you're bored right? How about I give you a tour of LeMU?"
She tugged at his arm. Without waiting for his reply, she made him stand.
: "B...but, I'm waiting for someone."
: "Waiting? For who?"
Who was it? He couldn't think of the name.
: "Well, I dunno who you're waiting for, but..."
: "If they haven't showed up yet, don't you think you've waited long enough?"
She said this happily, almost prancing around.
: "Whaddya say? How about it?"
He nodded slightly. The girl's nametag glittered brightly against the white fabric of her uniform.
That was what it said.
: "I'm You!"
She says this very enthusiastically in-game as I. Am. YOU!
: "My name's You... My last name is Tanaka..."
: "My real name is much longer, though."
: "Long, like, endlessly long. But... But, it's such a pain...just call me 'You.'"
: "Nice to meet you!"
With that she enthusiastically stuck out her hand.
: "N-nice to meet you?"
Without thinking he shook her hand. And before he had realized it, he'd been sucked along into her rhythm.
: "So, shall we go?"
They released hands, reluctantly. He looked again at his hand, which had moments before connected them. The vanilla ice cream that had spilled on it had completely melted away.
Perspective switch back to Takeshi!
He noticed that the two tanuki had formed a line and were proceeding forward.
In front of them was a massive, gate, that was sealed shut. The gate swung open soundlessly, and the big tanuki, little tanuki and the girl went inside.
(Finally my turn...)
He followed on their heels.
It seemed that the earphones were to be used at some point up ahead. He wondered why.
Looking around skeptically, but obeying instructions, he stepped into the building. He surveyed the ceiling. There were no windows. From the polished round walls, it was clear that the room was dome-shaped. He looked around. Many of the visitors, who had been waiting in line, headed into the room. Among them were friends, amorous couples, people with their families. The 'Tanuki family' had, however, split up it seemed.
The big tanuki shoved its way through the crowd of people and continued through a door on the other side of the room. The young girl stayed on the same side of the room as the little tanuki.
(I've got no clue what those tanuki are all about, but... I guess my friends aren't here either...)
He didn't see any familiar faces around. He figured maybe they had already taken the far elevator downstairs. Just 20 minutes earlier, the visitor room had reached capacity... and the friends he had been waiting with had gone ahead, leaving him behind to go down with the ext group.
(Oh well. I'm sure I'll find everyone down below soon enough.)
Finally, the gate to the entrance slipped shut quietly. The big tanuki fiddled with something on the wall and the room got a shade darker.
A park employee emerged out of the darkness. He wondered where she had come from. She was wearing a flashy dress. The dim light shining on her made her seem like a character from some dream.
: "What? No reaction folks? I'll try that again... Hello!"
It was the girl who, just a little while ago, had been attached to the rear of the large tanuki.
: "Oh! I've found a girl with some spunk. What's your name?"
: "I'M CO-CO YA-GA-MI! This is my pet dog, Pipi."
(So that isn't a tanuki, it's a dog.)
(I thought they didn't let pets in here.)
He tilted his head doubtfully.
I would be less concerned about whether or not pets are allowed, but more about the fact that youre in college and cant tell a dog when you see one.
: "So Coco, how many times have you been to LeMU?"
: "Uh, well...one, two, three, four, five... This is my first time!"
: "Hee, hee. Aren't you a funny girl?"
: "I get that a lot. You want me to do something even more funny?"
: "My friend taught me a good joke the other day!"
: "Why not?"
: "Because I have to tell everyone something right now."
: "Oh. Okay then. But it's really funny... That's too bad, huh Pipi?"
: "On behalf of the LeMU marine theme park, I'd like to thank you very much for coming. I am about to give you a brief explanation about the LeMU theme park and tell you a few things to watch out for."
: "Hey, who cares? Hurry up and let us inside already!"
: "I would love to take everyone inside... But, I'm terribly sorry. Everyone actually will have to stay in this compression chamber for now. It will only take 17 minutes. So please just bear with me for that long.
First, let me explain a bit about this room... it is called a compression chamber. Starting from now, the air pressure in here is going to rise to 6 atmospheres. Why do you think it is necessary to raise the air pressure? I'll explain the reason for that in a moment... But before that, let me tell you a few things you should be aware of. As the air pressure rises, you may start to feel a strange sensation in your ears. Like when you are descending a mountain or in an airplane. It's because the increased air pressure is pressing on your ear drums.
So if you think your ears feel a bit strange... Pinch your nose with your fingers, close your mouth tight and try to pop your ears. If that doesn't get your ears back to normal, or you if don't feel well, please raise your hand and let me know. In the event that happens, we will immediately stop increasing the air pressure."
Lady, you just told us how
: "...Is everything clear then? Alright then. We'll initiate the rise in pressure. As I said before, the time required to increase the pressure is 17 minutes. During that time, I will explain to everyone about the structure of LeMU."
: "At a depth of between 51 and 103 feet..."
: "From the top these are called Insel null, Erste boden, Zweite stock and Dritte stock... In terms of a normal building, you might think of it as a structure with a ground floor extending down to a three story basement. Insel null, here, is a floating island. It is an immense, man-made island, floating in the ocean... In German, 'insel' means 'island' and 'null' means 'zero. In other words, this is floor zero, or the ground floor. Next is from Erste to Dritte..."
: "Hey, hey. Hey, you. Hey, I'm talking to you."
As he was listening to the explanation, someone pulled on him from behind.
He turned to look around.
(What was her name again...?)
: "Hey. Don't you want to know about my joke?"
(Oh, that's right. Her name was Coco. And that animal she's holding is Pepe, or Popo, or something...)
: "You wanna know, don't you?"
: "Huh? What?"
: "The joke I was just talking about. It's an Ame-joke."
: "An ame..joke?"
: "No, I haven't.... What are you talking about?"
: "An Ame-joke is an American joke. Get it? 'Ame-joke.'"
: "Oh, really..."
: "Makes you wanna hear it, right? Want me to tell you?"
Next update happens Monday, so have at it!