Part 9: Takeshi - First Day - Part 5TrackZweitestock
There was a carousel there. Only instead of horses, it was set to a dolphin theme... It looked like its official name was the Dolphin Carousel. With no visitors around, the ride seemed a little spooky and very lonely. Even the dolphins themselves looked sad.
New soundtracks in this update, thank God.
Suddenly a happy melody started and the ride began to rotate. Of course, no one was riding it.... All of the sudden, it no longer seemed so lonely, but that much more spooky.
"Wh-wh-wh-what is this? Watch out! This place is haunted. Even thinking about it gives me the creeps..."
Then from somewhere I heard someone snickering.
You came skipping over to me.
"Hey, Takeshi. When did you get here?"
"Looks like you are having a lot of fun..."
"But it is fun, isn't? Doesn't it make you happy?"
"Hee, hee. I alwayws wanted to give this ride a whirl once."
You pointed to the merry-go-round.
"Don't just turn it on without any warning! You almost gave me a heart attack! You surprised the heck out of me!"
I shook my fist at her. I might have been exaggerating a little, but...
"Takeshi, how could you be scared of a silly pod of wooden dolphins...?"
You looked at me sideways, and grinned at me mischievously.
"Nobody is supposed to be here in the theme park. It was like a horror movie!"
"Geez. You're such a chicken."
"Well...you were wasting energy by turning it on, too. What if there were a blackout? And we've no idea how long LeMU's back-up power is good for. Besides, everybody knows that you should save energy!"
"So, you're not only chicken, but you worry a lot, too."
"What're you talking about? It's common sense..."
"Oh, Takeshi, so you don't know?"
Next she held her palms out and feigned exaggerated surprise.
"This LeMU doesn't get any of its power from outside. It is all generated inside this complex."
"Down more than 300 feet underwater on the ocean floor are thermal seafloor vents, basically hot springs. So LeMU takes hot water from there and uses it for steam. The power of that steam is used to turn the turbines and that's how we generate our power. While LeMU is a theme park, it is also a closed-cycle plant and a test case for self-sufficient power generation."
"And that's all memorized from the new employee manual."
"I explain it in that kind of depth and all you can say is, 'I see'?"
"I mean, what a WONDERFUL explanation, you're a model employee!"
"Hmmm... Takeshi, that was sure a sexy scream you let out when the dolphins started moving. You were scared, weren't you! I think I'll tell everyone about it..."
"Do what you want."
"... Then again, maybe you shouldn't."
The dolphins had stopped moving of their own accord. You explained that the ride ran for about three minutes each time before shutting off automatically. We leaned against the fence surrounding the Dolphin Carousel.
"So you only work here part-time during the holidays?"
"Yup. I started the end of April and have been staying here. This is my fourth day..."
"And then out of the blue you get this. Pretty rough."
"Takeshi, how many times have you come to LeMU?"
"This is the first time."
"Ha. Then I've only got a three day head start on you."
You laughed happily. She was sure cheerful. I had to respect her unflagging optimism and energy.
"You're tough...I mean this situation is so depressing and it doesn't seem to faze you."
"No, I'm really not. It's just easier. I said it earlier, didn't I? Would you rather I get depressed?"
"I think it's better to laugh."
"You're right. That's all we can do."
Then she laughed again. I tried to force a smile.
You stretched like a cat. Then she sat there and hugged her knees. I followed suit and sat down next to her.
"To tell you the truth... I came to work here because I thought my dad might be here."
"Actually, my father worked in the Research and Development Division of LeMU."
"Research and development?"
"Uh, well...he worked on a computer program. It's the hologram that Sora uses, the LeMMIH terminals and the complex control system... I don't know the details, he worked on all of it from when LeMU was first being built. Of course, he didn't do it alone. He was one of the members involved in developing the project."
"Huh? Is that so...?_"
"But my father... My father...disappeared one day."
"He just went missing..."
"He.... He has been missing as long as I can remember... It was when I was one year old, 17 years ago..."
"17 years ago... So you don't remember...your father?"
"No... I've only seen pictures and movies of him... I don't really have any memories... Everything I just told you I heard from my mother..."
"But why? Why did he disappear?"
"If I knew that, I wouldn't have come here. But the only clue to what happened is probably here... The last time my father was seen was in LeMU. So I thought that if I came here maybe I would find some clue about my father...It seems like my mom has already given up, so I can't count on her... My mom seems to think my dad is already dead..."
'Dead'... The word 'dead' had a heavy ring to it.
"But you know? I believe! I believe that he is alive somewhere! He has to be! He just went missing. They never found his body. I heard that some of my father's research is being used in the new programs on some of the latest attractions. There has to be a clue somewhere in this place about the work my father was doing..."
"Well the original... The attractions are already under water."
After that we lapsed into silence. I didn't know if I should say something to her. I tried to think of what to say but didn't hit upon anything.
Suddenly You stood up.
"I'm kind of in the mood for some music. Something light and fun if you know what I mean."
"So I think I'll get the dolphins spinning again? Takeshi, why don't you finish looking around?"
The dolphins started spinning again. You didn't come back. It looked like she had disappeared to the corridor behind the merry-go-round.
(...I guess I'll get out of here...)
It was as if the dolphins saw me off. I left the room behind.
There was a sign with the LeMU mascot on it. This was where I had peeled the mascot costume off of the kid.
That Myumyun raccoon dog mascot... I didn't see any raccoon dog stuffed animals next to all kinds of key chains, hologram pendants, seafood snacks and other stuff. I still had no idea what that raccoon dog was.
In one ear, out the fucking other with you, isn't it? <>
He wasn't really looking at anything, but his gaze seemed fixed.
He just kept staring at the ground. I expected to see a hole open up in the ground he was staring so intensely. He had his hands on his temples.
"How's your headache, Kid?"
"What's the matter? Did you find something? Or did you remember something?"
"Uh...? I...um... Who...are you?"
"I just told you a bit ago. I introduced myself. I'm Takeshi. Takeshi Kuranari."
"Oh. Is that right? This is...? What am I doing here?"
"*sigh* Oh great."
It's that amnesia thing. The Kid couldn't even remember what he had just said. He just moved from one topic to the next, forgetting the last.
"This is the marine theme park LeMU. Something happened and we are trapped here."
"Le...mur? What do you mean 'trapped'?"
"That's something I would like answered myself."
"Uh... And who are you?"
"Takeshi means samurai in Japanese."
"Maybe you should start taking notes. You know, keeping track of my name, the other people, where we are and stuff."
"Notes? Yeah, maybe I should..."
"It looks like you understand what taking notes means. Take good ones. Even when you are eating. And if you can remember, you can make a memo of your name, too."
I gave the Kid a memo pad and pen I had filched from the kiosk.
"Thanks. Hey, can you tell me what year it is?"
"You forgot that, too?"
"It's 20... Uh, what year IS it?"
Hey, youre one to talk about forgetting things.
I searched around in my pocket. My entrance ticket stub was crumpled and stuck to the back of my PDA.
"Oh, that's right! It's 2017! Take notes! Write it down!"
He was taking it down. It looked like he hadn't forgotten how to take notes.
"So why'd you wanna know the year?"
"Yeah, kind of."
"I thought that if I heard the year then I might be able to remember at least my birthday."
"I see. Come to think of it, you don't even know how old you are, huh?"
"By the looks of it, I'd say you're not a day over 42."
Surprised the Kid felt his face.
"HA, HA, HA. I'm kidding! Relax! There's no way. You're probably in the neighborhood of 14 or 15. If you are 18, then you've got a baby face. Geez! Don't tell me you forget your own face?"
"If you're worried about it, go take a look in the mirror. You could sketch a self-portrait in case you forget later..."
"Oh. Yeah...maybe I will."
(Geez. He's got it rough...)
But his serious expression had relaxed. That at least was good.
"Alright. Well I'm gonna get going. When it's time, you come to the Security Office."
"Oh, the Security Office. Where is that? ...And where is this again? I'm sorry. I really don't know."
"It's alright. I understand. If you don't come, then I'll come looking for you."
"Hey, you remembered."
"Takeshi is your name...right?"
The Kid had been taking notes and sure enough there it was. My name, Takeshi, on his pad, but spelled wrong.
But I wondered what she was doing there. Besides, she was the only one that had been doing deskwork the whole time we'd been trapped. I imagined she would be getting a different kind of tired from what we got walking around. Mentally tired, maybe. As I was thinking that I knocked on the Security Office door.
"Hello? Sora, you there? Wait, this metal door is so thick you couldn't even hear me if you were..."
I pushed the button for the intercom on the panel next to the door. But Sora didn't reply.
"I wonder if she isn't in there."
The door wasn't locked, so I pushed the open button and it opened.
And it was dirty. The front wall was packed with monitors. They were all stained dark from cigarette smoke. Ashtrays were stacked up like it was normal. And there was a huge sign plastered on the wall that said 'NO SMOKING'. I recalled the sloppy clubroom back at collegeit had 25 years of history being only used by guys and couldn't help but chuckle. But I restrained myself and kept looking. Sora wasn't there.
"Sora? Hey, Sora? Where are you? I didn't think you were the type to go running off without telling anyone..."
I took another step inside the room.
All of the windows in the wall monitors opened and closed.
"T-Takeshi...when did you get here?"
For some reason the voice sounded like it came from the shadow of the desk.
I can see the changing room from here, though.
"So you are here Sora...I thought you'd probably be all stressed out from the work and situation so I came to take a look. What are you doing in that weird place?"
I approached the rear of the desk as I talked.
"Oh, no! Takeshi no! Please don't..."
"I'm busy right now..."
I couldn't see her face, but she sounded embarrassed.
"If you don't mind, can you wait outside for a little bit."
She spoke hesitantly.
"Oh! Are you changing?"
"Uh, no, not exactly. But I suppose it is something like that...Takeshi, you aren't going to change? If you don't mind employee work outfits...the changing room is directly behind this room. Just turn on the corner of the corridor and you'll find it."
"Nah, I'm alright. I'm just a little damp and uncomfortable, but I'm used to it."
"I see... I'm sorry, but I'm still working and I need to concentrate...but I'll be done by the appointed time."
"I'm sorry to bother you. I'll go look around a little more. Okay. Good luck."
During our whole exchange, Sora was hidden and I didn't see her. I waved in Sora's direction though I figured she couldn't see me and headed for the exit.
"Hey, it's not good for you to stay cooped up in here. Take a break once in a while."
I said it without looking back.
"Okay. But please do not worry about me. I like my work. If I really get into it...I can go for days without sleep just fine."
I didn't really understand what she meant.
(But I suppose She's probably really into her job.)
I imagined that system engineer was probably just an occupation that drew 'interesting types' and felt satisfied with that.
I took my PDA from my pocket and checked the time. There were 17 minutes until the time Sora had said. I wondered where I should hit next.