Part 111: Coco's Route - True End - Part 16TrackErsteboden
"He had certain situations that he couldn't escape from. Certain things that kept him alive..."
You finally spoke. Her small voice bounced off of the cold, iron walls of the partitioning.
"Before he died, and everyone was off searching...I had the chance to talk with him some. I tried to get him to stop, because he seemed like he was suffering, but....He said talking made him feel better, so..."
"I see...well, what did he talk about?"
"Um......Before coming to IBF, he said that he'd been involved with the project to develop LeMU's system. He was one of the staff that had engineered LeMU's management software."
"Himmel, LeMMIH, and...Sora. Everything he made went into LeMU. Being a programmerThe system here at LeMU was like his own child."
"So...he was worried about his 'children?'"
"Yeah...that must have been it. Worrying about his children is what helped him live a while longer."
She closed her eyes and let out a small sigh. And as if shrugging off the heaviness of the moment, she bolted away from the wall and said...
"Oh yeah. There was one thing I heard from him that I was able to check up on."
"Sora's location...Sora is...the Sora that we know, isn't in Insel null."
"We know that LeMMIH's central processing unit - the main super computer - is on the floating island...It seems that everything that happens here on LeMU, is saved in LeMU's memory storage."
"Leiblich Pharmaceutical keeps an original system program for 'Sora Akanegasaki.' So even if they lose the copy here at LeMU, it won't hurt them at all. So basically...It is possible to make many different versions of the 'Sora' system. Even the Sora here might just be a copy. But, think about it? Sora is Sora, right? There is only one 'Sora' that we know, right? So what's the only thing that separates the Sora we know, from other Sora's?"
"Memory. The only thing that we and the and Sora here share is...Memory. That's it."
Takeshi tapped repeatedly on the area between his eyebrows, and opened his mouth.
"Really...If Sora's memory is here at LeMU...Then the Sora we know is...Sora is...in 'HIMMEL'..."
You nodded. She touched Takeshi's shoulder lightly, and tracing her finger across his chest went back into the examination room.
He turned right at a corner, then left, tracing the wall with his hand he kept walking. And he ended up in front of IBF's large pool.
Tsugumi was looking at the gentle ripples in the pool. As if she had drawn him there, Takeshi went to stand by Tsugumi.
Takeshi stopped suddenly. He turned around and stared at a spot on the wall.
"Hm? Takeshi...what's wrong?"
Tsugumi noticed Takeshi......Following Takeshi's gaze, she turned her eyes to stare over at the same spot on the wall. There was nothing there.
No, that's not true.
Takeshi and Tsugumi were looking at'Me' right then.
"Uh....I don't know...I just...I felt like somebody was...you know, staring at me..."
Takeshi turned back and said this to Tsugumi.
Tsugumi tilted her head quizzically. And with her head turned to the side, she narrowed her eyes and searched Takeshi's face.
"Takeshi......? Your...nose is bleeding..."
"You've got a nose bleed."
Takeshi hurriedly put his hand to his nose. His upper lip was wet with something.
"He-hey? Are you okay?"
Tsugumi looked worriedly at Takeshi's face.
"F-fine, I'm fine..."
Looking up, and wiping under his nose, Takeshi replied.
"I wasn't thinking anything sexual! Absolutely! Positively!"
"I-it's not like I...I don't care about that!"
"Well, alright then..."
The blood wouldn't stop flowing.
"Aaah, I look like such a dork."
"Who cares what you look like."
"I care. Looking like this in front of, you, I.....uugh...Aaaaagh....."
Takeshi spat out blood. Copious amounts of fresh blood poured from his nose and mouth. And simultaneously, his knees buckled.
"H-huh...? W-what's wrong....with... me..."
Takeshi looked at his blood-covered hands and blinked. His legs swayed unsteadily, and the color quickly drained from his face.
"W-what this...about...Blood...blood...blood is...."
"Takeshi! Takeshi, hang in there!"
"N-no, hey I'm fine, don't worry, Tsugumi...Don't...worry..."
"What are you talking about!? You're covered in blood, Takeshi! We need to get you to the examination room and get you looked at you right away."
Tsugumi supported Takeshi with her shoulder and pulled him along into the entrance of the corridor. From the entrance a single shadow jumped out.
It was Yubiseiharukana.
"Tsugumi! Takeshi! The Kid! He's in bad shape!"
Using the L-MRI, they found out that Takeshi, You and the young Kaburaki were all infected with the Tief Blau virus. Using the orange serum, the three of them were given shots......After that their symptoms improved a bit, but the severity of the situation had still not changed.
Takeshi asked this as he pressed down on the disinfectant-stained gauze.
"She's still undergoing the oxygen treatment. So we can't open the pod. It looks like the treatment is progressing normally. As long as she's in there, I don't think her condition will get much worse...As soon as she is finished, let's give her a shot as well."
Takeshi's face was still pale. It was hard to believe that it had ever been the color of a living person. His pupils were cloudy, his eyelids swollen and sweat flowed freely down his face. Wiping away sweat, Takeshi wandered around the room.
"I'm not sure how long our condition will hold with just one shot...Hey, You? Do you think we can do anything after it stops working?"
You was sitting at the computer terminal, silently typing on the keyboard.
"You, tell me what we can expect?"
"Don't talk to me, I can't concentrate."
"I'm trying my best...But someone has put a lock on the communications protocol, and we can't make contact with the surface. But, every once in a while, I've found some communication data that crosses through. If I can release that lock, or...well anyway, we just might be able to get through somehow. At least it is better than LeMU, where we had no way of making contact."
"Alright, show me what you got, genius!"
And looking like the dead, they both smiled weakly at one another. Brownish bloodstains were smeared on their mouths. Takeshi left You, to go look at the monitor set into the column. The monitor displayed the status of the capsule pods.
"How is Coco doing?"
Tsugumi came up beside Takeshi and asked.
"She's in 'serious but stable' condition."
According to the information on the monitor, Coco still had four more hours until she could come out......The pod was filled with high-pressure oxygen. And until the time was over, Coco couldn't leave.
Tsugumi whispered to Takeshi softly.
"Don't you think it's strange that I don't need any serum?"
"Huh? Ah, yeah...well now that you mention it...yeah...Are you okay?"
"Yeah, I'm fine. Fine......"
"But, you don't think it's strange? I'm the only one who doesn't show any symptoms of the Tief Blau virus. Isn't that odd...."
"Well...no, I mean..."
Takeshi smiled softly and continued.
"You said it yourself.....'The functioning of your immune system and metabolic efficiency are remarkable.... And your telomeres...never stop regenerating.' Meaning...It's...well, you know?"
She looked down slightly and puffed out her cheeks. She raised her eyes....Tsugumi walked over to You and murmured...
"You...would you scan me? Would you...check me?"
These words appeared on the L-MRI display soundlessly. The screen showed that Tsugumi was a Cure virus carrier.
But, her genetic makeup had been altered by Cure...And because of the peculiar functioning of her immune system, antibodies had been generated instantly, driving out Tief Blau.
Tsugumi, had gone beyond the normal human capability...She had mentioned that she was 'special.' Successful cases of genetic manipulation were probably exceedingly rare.
Looking at the results from the L-MRI scan, You nodded.
"So...the Cure virus really did exist."
"Do you know about it, You?"
"I found it in LeMU's database...But before that I'd heard about it once...from a certain person."
"A certain person...?"
"Someone called Shigezo Morino. He's a world renowned geneticist...He told me about it when I met him. 'In this world there are probably at least two or more types of the Cure virus...' So this must be one of them..."
"Yes. Me. I'm a carrier of the Cure virus. I'm already not like other people."
"But.....Tsugumi, why would you...?"
"I already told Takeshi, but...I also wanted you know, You...Besides, it's easier to have the machine show you, than to explain it myself, right?"
"That's why...you wanted me to scan you?"
"Yeah. Well, I don't suppose..."
"Anything changes now that you've found out...?"
Tsugumi laughed at herself derisively.
"Heh, heh...it's strange, Takeshi."
Biting her lip, Tsugumi was trying her best to laugh.
"But there's something even stranger than me...This machine knew right away that I had the Cure virus.... Why do you think? There have only been a few documented cases of Cure in the whole world, why do you think this computer could scan it so quickly?"
Takeshi's pupils dilated momentarily. He squinted, and replied slowly.
"Oh, so that's it...Leiblich Pharmaceutical already knew about the existence of the Cure virus...Just like Tief Blau..."
Tsugumi turned up to face the ceiling and closed her eyes, saying...
"That's why I...came here. To LeMU. To IBF. I HAD to come here. I wanted them to know the true gravity of...the seriousness of my existence was...But...I've come all the way and nobody's here. So stupid...I'm so stupid..."
From her closed eyes, a single tear fell.
From the darkness, I could hear only voices...
"Hey Takeshi? Have you ever hated everything...And thought that you want to die?"
'I' wondered to myself - where am I?
Was I inside of someone...? I couldn't see anything. All I could hear were voices coming from somewhere. Passionate voices...An agonizing scream...
"We aren't going to die! We're going to make it out of here! We don't have any time to waste here! I'm going to get out of this hell! I can save you, I'll prove it! Everyone! I'm going to save everyone who's here!! I won't let a single one die!!!"
The voice cut out suddenly...And the darkness cleared like a fog. My vision returned gradually...