Part 112: Coco's Route - True End - Part 17TrackDrittestock
But 'I' had still lost my 'center'... Other than a sense of impending disaster, and the stagnant, heavily air around me, I could feel nothing else.
'Why do you even bother looking?'...was a doubt that crept through my mind, but it faded quickly. All I COULD do, was to watch the events in this world as they passed by...I watched. I was an existence that could only watch. All I was, was a 'perspective.'
Takeshi said this suddenly. His eyes shone will a dull light. It seemed that the serum was losing its effect. Although Takeshi, You and the young Kaburaki seemed to be maintaining their composure...Their breathing was ragged.
"Well, I'm not a doctor, so I can't really tell, but...Smallpox, penicillin, snake anti-venom...."
"You're pretty smart, this should make sense to you, right?"
"It's our only chance. Your body is creating antibodies to the Tief Blau virus, we'll use that. If we can get those antibodies, there's a small chance we can fight off the Tief Blau."
"It's too dangerous! Do you have any idea how hard it is to make antibodies and vaccines that work!? There's almost no chance!! If you make even the slightest mistake, it could kill all of you!"
"If we don't do anything, we're dead anyway!"
Tsugumi's expression froze.
You and the young Kaburaki raised their heads to look at Takeshi.
"That's right...if we don't do anything we're dead. And if that's the case...It's better that we take this risk, no matter how small our chance of survival.....uuh....*cough*"
Fresh blood flew from Takeshi's mouth. A crimson mist danced in the air and floated away.
"Damn, not again...I can't believe how lame this is..."
Takeshi hurriedly wiped his mouth.
"What? You aren't going to laugh at me Tsugumi for being such a dork?"
"Come on, laugh, Tsugumi."
Takeshi held out his blood-covered hand toward Tsugumi.
"Stop it. Stay away from me...Stop...I don't want to..."
Shaking her head fiercely, Tsugumi backed away.
"T-Takeshi...Listen, Takeshi, Tsugumi..."
You opened her mouth to talk, from where she was seated at the terminal.
"There is a simple lab in the back of the examination room. I saw a centrifuge and a machine for refining serum...We could probably use that to safely and quickly extract the Tief Blau antibodies. If this thing can scan for Tief Blau, it can probably scan for the antibodies and extract them."
She continued to talk in a low, calm voice.
"Tsugumi, please help us. I'm asking you."
"Stay away from me, Takeshi...Don't touch me..."
Takeshi had backed her up all the way to the bed.
"You want to live with this disease? Once you've got the Cure virus, you can't go back! Do you have any idea what you're in for!?"
"But we don't know that the Cure virus will infect everyone. Even you, you said you were special, right?"
"Please...I'm begging you. Let me take a gamble...so that everyone can live."
"You won't be a normal person anymore!? I don't want everyone to live with the pain that I have!!"
"I, I know that."
"Aaaggh...You fool...you fool....You know I can't fight you...!"
Tsugumi ran into Takeshi's arms. She nestled up close and began to cry with all her might.
"If, you mess this up...I'll never forgive you, Takeshi..."
"It's okay...it's going to be okay...I promise you.... We're all going to get out of this...okay?"
Tsugumi was crying. Her breathing uneven, and shoulders shaking, Tsugumi wept freely on Takeshi's chest. Takeshi embraced her thin body. Her muffled cries continued to echo throughout the cold room.
From his barely conscious state, a noise from the speaker reached Takeshi's ears.
"Come in...IBF 3, please respond. This is the emergency rescue team from the Maritime Defense Force."
Takeshi rushed over to the terminal.
"H-hello! This is the IBF Infirmary... over!"
"IBF 3!? I repeat, this is the emergency rescue team from the Maritime Defense Force. Can you hear me?"
"Yeah! We can hear you! We hear you! Loud and clear!"
Voices spilled out from the other end of the line.
'Hey, there are survivors down there!'
'I can't believe it!'
"We're sending a rescue team immediately. Can you access the pool in IBF 3?"
"Uh, ah, yeah, it should be fine."
"Do you know how many survivors there are and where they are located?"
"In the examination room there are five...no, six."
"Six. I copy. A rescue team is headed there in a private sector salvage vessel. When it arrives, I want you to follow their directions and get out of there."
"How long 'till they get here?"
"They're going as fast as they can, but it'll take about an hour. But, if something goes wrong...There should be a small, deep-exploration submarine left in the research facility. I hate to make you do this, but I want you to escape to that area."
"S-something goes wrong...? W-what do you mean...?"
"The partition strength threshold is already being exceeded. If one section implodes, there's the risk that another area could collapse and start sinking. If that happens, we think there's a high possibility that heavy pieces could crash down on the research facility."
"A-alright... I understand..."
"Of course, we're doing everything we can to get to you before that happens. We're heading there, no matter what! So, please hold out a little longer!"
*Click* ...the connection cut out suddenly.
"Ah, hey! W-wait a sec!"
Takeshi hit the 'Call' button repeatedly. But there was no answer.
"Damn it, we can't open up communications from this side..."
Takeshi began to pour through the manual on the side of communication terminal.
"Ah, here it is!"
Following the instructions in the manual, he used the control panel to call up information on the monitor.
"It's a small electric submersible..."
The submarine was in a separate sealed sector attached to IBF. The specifications said it was a 'neutral buoyancy' miniature-submarine, for saturation diving. The important thing was, it could be brought over to the pool by remote control.
"If things get dangerous, I guess they want us to board this."
He quickly went about setting up the remote control program, so that they could move the submarine at a moment's notice, if necessary.
"Alright...All we have to do now is..."
"Get Tsugumi and Sora over here..."
The second Takeshi said this
Suddenly a low metallic crashing sound reverberated throughout the installation. The sound seemed to come from above. An alarm sounded from the terminal and the screen changed.
'Warning: LeMU hull breach: Flooding'
"LeMU....!? This is bad...That means...Tsugumi and Sora...!"
It was only slight, but the floor was trembling.
He suddenly seemed to get dizzy, and lost his balance, crashing into a wall. Holding his fingers to his temples, Takeshi shook his head to clear it.
"I...still gotta go...I have to GO!!"
Staggering while he ran, Takeshi took off. His legs moved as if he couldn't distinguish up from down but, still, he kept running.
The lift he was on started moving up...
"Depth 270 feet...Depth 240 feet...Depth 210 feet..."
Takeshi hit the intercom button violently.
"Ta-Takeshi!? What are you...?"
Takeshi waved to Sora as she appeared outside the window.
"Hey! Long time, no see!"
"Wh-what are you doing here!"
"Well, it's obvious isn't it? I came back."
"What's the damage?"
"There's flooding in Zweite stock. The warehouse area has been breached and cracks are beginning to form in the elevator shaft. The situation is serious. There is over six inches of flooding in almost all of the corridors."
"She's...trapped in the infirmary..."
"What about the door?"
"The electronic lock has been released. But..."
"It won't open 'cause of the water pressure?"
"Yes...Takeshi, I'm going to start decompressing the chamber."
"How long will it take?"
"I will complete it as soon as possible."
"I need to know how much time!"
"If I hurry...12 hours."
"Tw-twelve hours!? We don't have that long!"
"If we don't dissolve the nitrogen in your blood, you will get decompression sickness."
"I don't care! Open that door now!"
"I can't do that...!"
"If we don't act fast, Tsugumi is dead!"
"If we open that door now, due to the rapid decompression, the nitrogen in your bloodstream will form bubbles, causing blood clots, and in the worst case..."
"I don't care, you get that door OPEN NOW!!!"
"I can't...it's too..."
Looking around, Takeshi's eyes fell on an emergency escape lever on inside the chamber. Without hesitating, he pulled it down, and kicked the door.
There was a horrible noise, as though all the air inside had exploded. Takeshi's body was thrown from the room, along with the high-pressure gas that had been built up inside. He was tossed like a piece of confetti, sliding and rolling along the floor, only to stop when he crashed into the wall.
Takeshi twisted in agony. He flailed his four limbs as though he were a man gone insane.
From his unnatural contorted position on the floor, Takeshi began vomiting.
"Takeshi! Takeshi...are you okay?"
"W-well...it looks like...I'm still alive..."
Takeshi crawled weakly over the floor. He crawled and stood, fell again and rose again...then he fell backward....Repeating this process over and over, he finally made it to the door and said, leaning his shoulder against the wall...
"Don't you stop me, you hear? No matter what you say, I'm going."
"Alright, Takeshi. It seems that you've made up your mind...I'll stay here in Himmel, to keep track of the situation at LeMU, and send updates to your PDA. I'll do what I can to stop the partitions from falling...to see that this place stays together, even a little while longer. So
"Promise me...that you'll come back here with Tsugumi..."
"Yeah, it's a promise."
And saying that he laughed weakly.
There was a life reading in the Infirmary. The map showed that the surrounding corridors were flooded and that there was no way to access the area.
Ignoring his burning lungs, he quickly climbed up the open hole of the elevator shaft and began scrambling toward the infirmary.
She was in a corner of the room, hugging her knees to herself. At her feet was the slightly wet, furry, figure of Chami.
Tsugumi opened up her eyes wide.
"What are you so surprised about, Tsugumi? I came back, right now! I came back for you! Well, I was a bit late, but..."
Takeshi scratched his nose.
"Y-you idiot! What are you doing here!!?"
"Do you...want do die!?"
Takeshi was laughing as he spoke.
"I came back for something I forget, um, yeah that's it."
Picking up Chami in both hands, she stood up slowly.
"Yeah. Left it here, silly me...My irreplaceable...More important to me than anything else...friend..."
"...how...How...did you get here?"
She looked at Takeshi as if she still couldn't believe he was really there.
"Well, I'm a good swimmer. Actually, in a 25 meter pool...I made it down and back, once..."
"I kicked off wall coming back, but still..."
Takeshi mimed swimming as he spoke.
"Wait, I think I just beat my record a while a go...Hey? Do you remember the furthest I've ever swam underwater?"
"...Fif...Fifty one meters...?"
She answered, her expression beginning to break down.
"Yeah...You think I'd die in a place like this? I mean...I still haven't gotten enough abuse from you yet. I want to hear what you've got to say, from here on out..."
"So...I came for you, Tsugumi."
They both ran toward each other. Reaching out their hands to one another, they came together. And in the center of the infirmary they hugged each other close, embracing firmly.
Riding on Tsugumi's shoulder was Chami...Chami snorted, and looked at the two.
Sora was waiting for them back in the room.
"Takeshi, Tsugumi! I've prepared the chamber for you, get inside quickly!"
Hey, what's the rush, Sora?"
Although Takeshi was out of breath, he waved the flustered Sora off with his hands.
"C-come on! You have to hurry!"
"Relax.... I still have one more thing I've forgotten..."
Takeshi pointed to Himmel's console. The following words were written on the monitor.
"Willkommener LeMMIH Login: T.Y"
"LM-RSDS-4913A Sora Akanegasaki"
"Aktenkopie wird vervollständigt."
And from the blinding flood of light a voice could be heard...
"I was able to finish the transfer just in time. The last password, and name, T.Y...TANAKA, YOICHI..."
Where is this?'I' wondered. Was I inside someone...? I couldn't see anything.
All I could hear was a voice coming from somewhere. A warm voice. A murmuring filled with peace...
"It was in Himmel, along with Sora's memoryIt's on that terabyte disk. Thank you...dad."
The voice cut out with a crackle. The light faded. Color gradually returned to Takeshi's field of vision.
"Keep it simple!"
And letting out a strange shout, Takeshi pounded the Enter key on the console.
It was a single terabyte disk made out of polycarbonate.
"Okay, I'm taking this with me."
Had Takeshi been able to hear You's voice? He stuffed the disk in his pocket.
Taking a side-glance at the dumbfounded Sora, Takeshi went along with Tsugumi to the other side of the glass...
Tsugumi slumped over in her chair, breathing with her whole body.
Takeshi breathed deeply...and looked out of the window to the Control Room on the other side of the window.
"Sora...I guess this means good-bye for a while?"
Sora was standing still on the other side of the chamber.
"No, this isn't good-bye. I don't say...good-bye..."
Takeshi returned her smile.
"And yetI am everywhere. There will be a time when we meet again. I'm sure of it."
"Don't ask me anything now."
"Okay...I understand...now. I don't how, but I understand now. That the only place to find you is here, yet I can find you anywhere..."
"When you hit a button, don't forget to say 'Keep it simple'. Remember that."
"Yeah...heh, heh. Don't worry. I will remember. That's a promise. Mine and yours, professor...Thank you..."
The RSD image started to warp and break up. A fog enveloped Sora from behind. Sora's image changed to a rainbow hue. And then even the rainbow...started to fade. Sora's form disappeared...
Takeshi watched it all happen, and nodded as though he had confirmed something.