Part 114: Coco's Route - True End - Part 19
Video: Coco The Descent
I was in the middle of a white darkness. Before I knew it...'I' had become lost in another world. I didn't even have time to wonder where I was, before I found the answer.
The year was 2017...I could see it. I could see everything.
I already knew...'What had happened at that time...'
"Takeshi, get up. The taxi's here."
Takeshi jumped out of bed and stood up. He stretched his arms and loosened his shoulders. Takeshi and Tsugumi were still stuck in the examination room of the research facility.
"Chami. Chami...come here. Come on, we've got to get going now."
Tsugumi scooped up Chami, who'd been running around on the floor and held him to her chest.
Stooping down, Tsugumi let out a cry of alarm.
"What's wrong, Tsugumi?"
"Takeshi...under the bed."
"Under the bed? Mine?"
He looked under the bed he had been sleeping on. Something was lying there...Reaching out, he pulled whatever it was closer to him.
"Hey Pipi, what's going on? What are you doing here?"
Takeshi picked Pipi up in both hands and shook him lightly.
There was no response, and all of the color had vanished from his eyes. He didn't move at all. Pipi was frozen...as if he were dead.
Although it had been weathered and tinged by the flow of the time, it was a scene that I was positive I knew. It was a scrap of a conversation between Sara and Yubiseiakikana.
"But really, that Konnie...I tell you, that robot dog looks so much like the real thing that I'll bet he is treating it like a normal pet."
"Hey, didn't you have a robotic dog at your house?"
"Yup, sure do. Actually, it's my mom's though...I think it's one of those really old types, but it just keeps ticking along happily. It never breaks."
If they were talking about Pipi that would mean...Pipi was a robot...an electronic dog. There wasn't any proof, but looking at Pipi's motionless body it was obvious that it wasn't the dead body of an animal. Like a wind-up toy that had stopped moving, Pipi's limbs had frozen in an unnatural position.
Takeshi opened his mouth slightly. It seemed like he was about to say something.
With a roaring sound, the whole room shook violently. Takeshi's body flipped like a small twig and flew into the wall. Tsugumi tumbled, and danced through the air to fall on the floor with a thud.
"Five minutes until implosion."
"Hey, WHAT did that announcement just say!?"
Holding Pipi under his arm, Takeshi looked up at the ceiling. Tsugumi quickly got up.
"We've got five minutes...until this place implodes."
"FIVE MINUTES!? Give me a break!"
"Why do they gotta tell us when there's only FIVE minutes left. Give us some more warning... for cryin' out loud!"
"*Sigh* Anyway, we've only got five minutes."
Tsugumi shrugged her shoulders exaggeratedly, and stared at Takeshi.
"You've just got to accept reality. You could learn something from me, you know?"
"Ha, ha, ha, listen to yourself, Tsugumi. Telling jokes at a time like this is more MY style, don't you think?"
"Ha, ha, well I guess you're right...But we should be okay if we've got five minutes, right?"
A smile floated to her lips, and Tsugumi held out a hand to Takeshi.
Takeshi took her hand firmly.
"The taxi's even waiting for us!"
"Well, of course. It's a TAXI...They aren't going to just leave us high-tipping customers here."
In front of them, the small submarine bobbed gently in the waves.
"Three minutes until implosion."
Only three minutes leftTakeshi and Tsugumi hurriedly scrambled onto the sub, and jumped down the hatch.
The hatch overhead closed automatically. Tsugumi took the controls. The mini-sub made bubbling sounds and sunk quickly into the water. As soon as they passed under the bottom of IBF, the ocean current pushed on the heavy hull of their vessel. Takeshi looked out into the ocean from a small window attached to the wall.
Tsugumi asked in a quiet voice. The small egg-shaped vessel holding the two of them headed silently toward the surface.
"There's so much that I want to do. But, first...I'm thinking more about where to start."
Takeshi spoke as he placed the motionless Pipi, on the seat next to him.
"What about you Tsugumi, what do you want to do?"
"What, you didn't like the question?"
"No, it's not that. Can I have a minute to think about it?"
Takeshi smiled. But that smile would soon fade...
A heavy ringing filled the submarine.
"What was that sound?"
Tsugumi looked at Takeshi worriedly...
The operating console made a funny sound.
"What's that noise...?"
"No clue...Hey, something just came up on that screen over there."
The monitor behind Tsugumi started blinking.
"What does it say...?"
"You're closer than I am, why don't you turn around and look at it yourself."
"N...no...I don't want to see it...I've got...a really bad feeling about this."
"Don't be so selfish."
Looking like he didn't have any other choice, Takeshi peeked at the monitor.
"Ah...which one, which one...Uumm...'Low battery'...That's what it says."
The monitor went dark and all of the power went out. The electrical equipment went silent. The only thing still working was the analog pressure gauge.
Present depth189 feet
Internal pressure12.5 Atmospheres
Tsugumi's voice was shaking.
"It's okay. We're going to be fine. Stop looking like you're going to cry."
Its momentum lost...the submarine began sinking slowly, very slowly.
Residual air pressure: 0
Ballast Tank: Unable to drain.
"Wonderful, we hitched a ride on a junker...You know, this cab always seems to stall on these country roads..."
"I'm terribly sorry ma'am..."
Takeshi looked at the aft hatch. It had a two-ply hatch...An inner side was made of reinforced glass and FRP, and the outer side had a door made from high-strength steel.
"Hey, you think if we let some of the high pressure gas out of the hatch we'd start rising again?"
"No...I don't think we'll go straight up and our momentum would be limited. Not to mention the fact that if we do that, we'll start flooding...Because we don't have any more compressed air. And we don't have enough buoyancy in the main fuselage."
"We've got to get rid of ballast..."
"The valve used to release ballast is usually electronically controlled. But now, we're..."
"Alright, let's just stay calm. Judging by how fast we're sinking...we only need to be a little bit lighter, right? If we can get rid of about 100 pounds or so, we should be fine."
"Let's try pulling out a few of those machines over there? That should make us lighter."
"You think it's going to be easy?"
"Well...they seem to be welded on fairly good. Probably not easy to do bare-handed. And unfortunately we don't have any tools..."
"So that's it, huh..."
Tsugumi bit her lip and looked down.
They were sinking...Without any electricity the submarine was just a hunk of metal.
"Looks like we celebrated too soon...Doesn't it...Ha, ha, ha...So stupid...I'm so stupid..."
Tears began to fill Tsugumi's eyes...
Tsugumi raised her voice. A single tear fell, rolling down her cheek.
"W-what are you doing Takeshi!?"
"What...you can't tell by looking? I'm opening the hatch."
"That's why I'm asking you! What are you doing!"
"Do you even need to ask?"
"Stop it!! What are you planning to do!?"
Tsugumi grabbed onto Takeshi's arm.
"Don't try to stop me..."
TrackDer Mond Das Meer
He threw off Tsugumi's arm and raised up the glass hatch. It was just large enough for one person to go through.
"Please don't touch me...Don't touch me."
"No! I won't let you go!"
Tsugumi grabbed onto Takeshi's arm fiercely.
"I don't care if I die... I'm not letting go."
They wouldn't stop sinking. Slowly and steadily they fell. Headed for the dark bottom of the ocean.
"Hmmm...You know you really are selfish."
"Do you know what the Archimedes principle is?"
For that instant Tsugumi's grip relaxed.
He quickly opened the glass hatch, and slipped to the back of the airlock. The area between the hatches was extremely cramped. Takeshi closed the glass hatch from inside, and shut the latch right away.
They had passed a depth of 210 feet.
"What are you doing? Open it up! Get out of there!"
Tsugumi wildly pounded on the reinforced glass with her fist.
"Tsugumi...what are you saying?"
"The glass is pretty thick you know, I really can't hear very well."
"You stupid idiot! Open it up this instant! What are you thinkiiing!"
Tears started falling from Tsugumi's wide-open eyes. Tsugumi desperately pounded the flat of her tear-covered hand against the glass.
"Hey, wait a second didn't you...I thought you knew about Archimedes' principle? I mean, I think you were the one that taught me about it?"
"I guess you'd know then. Sorry about that. Ha, ha, ha..."
"This isn't funny! Stop joking! This isn't...it's not about that!! You fool...Takeshi, you idiot!!!"
Tsugumi sobbed as she screamed.
"Yeah, I'm an idiotThe biggest one there is! You didn't know that? Tsugumi..."
Takeshi put one hand behind him on the other hatch. And slowly turned the handle.
Tsugumi froze in place.
"No...Do you really...Want...to...die...?"
"Don't worry. I may be stupid but...I'm not that stupid."
And saying this, Takeshi continued to turn the handle on the other door without stopping.
"Please...Don't leave me...Don't leave me all by myself!"
"There you go, always worrying..."
Takeshi forced a smile.
"I keep telling you, it's going to be okay, right?"
"You want to live, don't you...?"
"So live! As long as you're alive, live! Don't worry...I? I'm not going to die."
The hatch on the bottom of the submarine opened. The air, which had been compressed in the airlock, was jettisoned into the ocean.
Bubbles flew everywhere. An infinite number of white bubbles floated toward the surface. They seemed like powdery snow caught in the wind...Snow that flew toward the heavens.
He could no longer hear her voice.
Her face covered with tears. Her face was broken with sadness....
Takeshi paddled through the water, holding on to the railing. He closed the outside hatch. He couldn't see her any more.
He let go of his last source of support and kicked the sub. Takeshi's body spun out as if it were dancing into a blue world.
He sank toward the bottom of the ocean. White bubbles extended out beyond his field of vision...Wobbling slowly upwards toward the heavens.
Everything that he could see dissipated into the water. Outlines faded, nothing came into focus, only light and shadow reflected in his eyes. There was one thing, however, that he could see clearly through the haze.
A small white dot swaying in the distance. Dazzling light from the sky, poured down on him from a single point. Its image burned into both his eyes.
*Blub*...He let out his last gasp of air. Cold seawater poured into his lungs.
A blanket of blue darkness covered him in his final resting place. His limbs, sprawled out on the rocky ocean floor, had stopped moving, like a marionette with its strings cut.
This marks the end of the stuff we've seen before. It's all new content from here on forward!