Part 116: Coco's Route - True End - Part 21TrackTraum In Der Dunkelheit
"But Coco wasn't aboard the submarine with us. I was unconscious then, so I hadn't noticed...But I realized it afterwards. Coco had been left behind in IBF..."
"I can't...believe it..."
"This is the Examination Room in IBF 3, over!"
"Thank goodness...that's where you were. A little while ago we got a message from the dispatch team that they couldn't find you. You had us worried there."
"I'm sorry, I was out for a bit."
"We were able to rescue the other three people in the examination room, and they are being cared for in the salvage vessel."
"Is everyone okay!?"
"We can't say for sure...their conditions are serious. We're fighting against time. The submersible is going to surface soon, and we'll transfer them to a floating medical center."
"Okay. You take care of them."
"They had rescued the other 3 people in the examination room...So, why...?"
"Those 'three people' were...me...Kaburaki and...One more...my fatherYoichi Tanaka."
"Why...Why did the rescue team leave Coco there!?"
"I heard it from them afterwards, but they said they couldn't find her..."
"Oh...I remember By the time the rescue squad got there, Coco wasn't in the examination room...I don't know why, but for some reason Coco had gotten out of her capsule pod. So the only people left there were You, Kaburaki, and Mr. Tanaka, who was already dead..."
"You and Kaburaki's condition was extremely serious. So they put the highest priority on saving the lives of those two...and the rescue squad left Meaning they...overlooked Coco... no...they abandoned her..."
You pinched her eyes shut, her face distorted in sadness.
"What do you want me to do?"
On the bottom of the ocean lay the cruelly broken body of a man....It didn't move...What do you want me to do? I'm not from this world. The only thing that I can do is look...Just look on...
You wanted to show me this dead body...? It makes me sad. Terribly sad. He had thrown his life away to protect the woman he loved. It was heartbreaking. His body had lost all warmth...I kept staringjust then!
(Dad! DAD!! DAAAAD!!!!)
My awareness split, broke, fractured, as a powerful force of will woke up inside of me. I was infused with an overwhelming passion. Hokuto's indomitable belief, willpower, emotions, and psyche were like a raging inferno that engulfed me. This ferocious and wild 'power' raged within me, and superseded my existence. It exploded in a shower of white sparks of light, and roared like thunder. Overwhelmed by the raw vigor, I withdrew. It was no place for me to be...
Hokuto exploded with bottled-up emotions and threw his instinctive 'power' free into darkness.
"Dad! Daad! Don't you die on me! Please don't die! I still haven't met you yet! Please don't leave me! Daaaad! Sara and I are waiting for you! Mom is waiting for you! Please don't leave her sad! Help us! You promised! You said 'I'm not going to die, no matter what!' Right? You swore you wouldn't let even one person die! Coco is still in the research facility! If you don't do something she's going to die! Daad!! Daaaaaaad!!"
At the bottom of the seabed...under unbearable pressure...He regained consciousness. How many minutes had it been since he last breathed?
But he was undeniably alive. He had revived...
'I'm not going to die! I promised her...!'
I could hear the screams of his mind in my ears.
He cut the water with his arms, and kicked with his legs, continuing to swim wildly through the water. The water pressure did not phase him, and his body felt no resistance. He moved forward in the darkness as if he were skating on ice. Bubbles trailed in an arc behind him. He maintained an unthinkable speed, tearing apart the wall of water in front of him. His only source of guidance was a faint light visible ahead.
His momentum carried him flying out of the water. Takeshi pushed his face out of the water, wracked by a fit of violent coughing, and spewed out seawater from his lungs. He clung to the edge of the pool. Sucking in deep breaths of air. He would partly take in a breath, only to throw up massive amounts of water. He repeated this many times. When the painful fits had finally died down, Takeshi lay exhausted like the dead.
Truth be told, he probably had been dead...Takeshi crawled across the floor. He flipped over on his back with a thud. He couldn't move...The sound of his heavy breathing echoed off of the walls.
"Dad! Dad! Hang in there!"
Hokuto called out.
"I don't know...who the heck you are...But don't call me 'dad.'"
"I'm telling you, I don't have any kids."
"But I'm your son!"
"Okay then, who's your mom?"
"Tsugumi. Tsugumi is."
"Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!"
"Um, laughing isn't going to change anything. But, there's no way you're going to believe me...Because...I'm talking to you from...17 years in the future..."
"Hmmm....17 years...that'd make it 2034, right...? By the way, where are you? I can't see you...anywhere..."
"I'm close by you."
Takeshi peeled himself off the floor where he'd been lying and rose slowly. He looked all around.
"Even if you look for me, I don't think you can see me. I'm only looking at you, dad."
"I don't have a clue what you're talking about, but..."
"My body isn't in your time. And it isn't like I'm using a speaker to send my words to you. I'm connected to your mind, talking to you."
Takeshi put his finger in his ear and wiggled it.
"I must be hallucinating this. I wonder if I'm...."
"No! You don't have time for this! We don't have time to waste!"
"Oh yeah, you mentioned earlier about Coco in the research facility, right?"
"That's right. Coco didn't get out in one of the submersibles. The man from the rescue squad who told you about the survivors...he was talking about You, Kaburaki and...the researcher."
"You've got to be joking...?"
"You've got to go back and check the research facility one more time. Coco's still in there."
The research facility was almost entirely silent. The only sound was the echo of Takeshi's shoes against the floor. The corridor wound left and right. He searched around, but didn't find any signs of anyone.
"That's impossible! I'm telling you she's got to be there somewhere!"
Takeshi tilted his head, a bit quizzically.
"Well, I suppose I should thank you. If you hadn't woken me up saying something stupid like 'Dad!'...I probably would have drowned..."
"Are you alright?"
"What do you think!? Just think about everything that has happened to me in the last few hours will you!? It started with getting Tief Blau, I got decompressed, re-compressed, and pumped up with Tsugumi's antibodies...And finally ended with getting sucked out to the bottom of the sea...and practically drowning..."
"Well, I guess I DID kind of throw myself out there..."
"In spite of all that...you seem to be doing alright to me..."
"W-well, I suppose.... Tsugumi's anti-bodies must've kicked in."
(Or maybe...The effects of the Cure virus have already started.Nah, there's no way his DNA could be re-written so quickly...But that might be another explanation for why Takeshi recovered so quickly from jumping into the water...I have no way of knowing. It doesn't matter though, he looks a lot better after walking around for a while.)
He looked strong even. Takeshi walked down the passageway on steady legs. He came to an intersection.
Checking quickly to the left and right, he set down the path to the left. It was right after that.
"Wait a sec...Did, something just...move right now?"
Without waiting for Hokuto's reply, Takeshi started running.
Coco had fallen down in the corridor. Takeshi rushed over to Coco and lifted up her motionless body.
Coco spoke faintly
"What...what are you doing here...!?"
"Umm... well...Pipi wasn't, um...I couldn't find him, and...So I...I went...looking for him..."
It appeared that Coco had gotten out of the pod by herself, before the rescue squad had arrive, and had gone off looking for Pipi.
"You are the most...totally...totally..."
Takeshi shook his head dumbfounded. Coco looked innocently at the exasperated Takeshi and said the following words.
"Hey...? ...Is everyone else...still... sleeping...?"
The next instant....
A loud explosion shook the walls of IBF. The sound came from up above. The falling wreckage from LeMU had probably collided with the roof of the research facility. Paradise was still collapsing it seemed. Takeshi quickly scooped up Coco's body and dashed across the floor.
"Hey, what am I supposed to do...?"
"Can't you escape by swimming through the pool?"
"Idiot! It's 357 feet under the water down here! Coco and I won't be able to hold our breath that long. Besides, in order to surface, we have to decompress slowly as we go up. It's 12.5 atmospheres down here. And the ocean surface is 1 atmosphere. There's no way we can survive, unless we get ourselves decompressed."
"How about the elevator?"
"It's been cut off. The elevator tubes were destroyed a long time ago. There's no way to go up."
"Well, let's go to the examination room!"
"I know that..."
He hit the control panel and closed the door. Strangely, there was no sign of flooding inside IBF. There was no sound of running water and the tremors had stopped for the time being. But there was still no time to relax. Coco's body was fast reaching its limit.
Takeshi laid Coco down on the bed. He ran towards the side of the desk at the corner of the room. He opened the one of the storage bins, and grabbed something. Something...it was the 'antibodies for Tief Blau' taken from Tsugumi.
Coco hadn't been inoculated with it yet.
Without a word, Takeshi gave Coco the antibodies. Coco, had long passed the stage of suffering and lay there looking limp.
"Come on...do the trick...."
Takeshi threw the empty syringe away and held on to Coco's hand as she lay there.
As a matter of fact, it seemed to be getting worse.
"Oh, come on! How come it isn't working!"
Takeshi banged the wall.
"Coco was infected a few days earlier than you, dad. So her disease has been progressing for that much longer than everyone else...."
"Damn it, we can't just sit here and wait....Besides, we've got to find a way to escape. I just need to think of something...."
Takeshi paced around the room with his head down. Occasionally, heavy noises echoed from the ceiling. Takeshi listened to the noises.
And then....Takeshi, looking as if he had just realized something, whispered to himself.
"I heard an announcement earlier, before Tsugumi and I escaped. The announcement said something like 'if you are not out in a few minutes, you're gonna be crushed.' But this place is still standing. Why is that?"
"I don't know why either....But...maybe...."
"That announcement might have been about LeMU imploding. But, think about it...This laboratory has been built so that the atmosphere on the inside and outside are equal. Since they're still balanced, it probably won't implode as easily...."
That must have been it. If you leave the cap on an empty plastic bottle, even if you come back years later, the air will still be trapped inside. Which meant that the laboratory should be safe...Unless extreme force was added from somewhere....such as a giant piece of partition from LeMU falling on it....
Although he didn't seem to be fully convinced, Takeshi nodded upon hearing Hokuto's explanation. By accepting the explanation, he was probably trying to clear one of the many problems facing him at the moment.
TrackDrittes Auge Nehmen
As time progressed Coco's condition got worse and worse.
"Damn it! Why is this all happening? Why!? Why!? Why!?"
Takeshi kicked the wall.
"Well, dad...you should have given her the antibody earlier...."
"Huh? It's a little late for that now, isn't it! Besides, Coco was in the pod under pressure at that time! I couldn't just open up the lid!"
"But...you could've given her a shot without opening the lid. Because You said...."
"And depending on how you use it, even cryogenic suspension..."
"But You didn't say a word about 'being able to give shots without opening the lid', did she? And if she didn't mention it, it must not be possible....Besides, neither you nor I have any idea what this device can do. What's cryogenic suspension anyway?"
"It's like hibernation."
Hokuto answered as if anyone would know.
"Hibernation? You mean...like bears do in the winter?"
"Yeah. I'm pretty sure that cryogenic suspension means you can artificially induce hibernation. It keeps human body temperature low, around 40 degrees Fahrenheit, and reduces your heartbeat and breathing to the absolute minimum....That way it increases your metabolic efficiency and conserves as much energy as possible."
"I see....Hey I wonder why they have it here...."
In the middle of saying this Takeshi stopped suddenly. At the same time, Hokuto's thoughts stopped, too. And then, they screamed out at the same time.
"I got it! We'll put her in cryogenic suspension!"
"I got it! We can put her in cryogenic suspension!"
"If it her body temperature is kept low, it'll slow down the rate of the virus infection too, right?"
"Alright! All we need now is a little more time. If we have time, I'm sure it'll work... "
"If we can slow down that virus even for a minute, or a second...it'll be better than nothing."
Then he started flipping through the manual at full-speed, skimming it. It didn't seem too difficult to set up. Takeshi, unlike his usual self, manipulated the computer terminal swiftly and smoothly.
Then....All that was left was to turn on the switch.
Takeshi reached out his hand to the switch that would close the lid. A split second before he flipped the switch...Coco quietly opened her eyes.
"Who's standing behind you, Takepyon...?"
Takeshi looked back. Hokuto was there.
"Can you see him, Coco?"
"Yeah, I do...."
"Coco...it's me, Hokuto."
"Hokuto....Hokuto is your name...? Can I call you Hokutan...?"
The Coco of this time didn't seem to know Hokuto yet. So who was the phantom girl that I had been seeing...?
"Hokuto....Is that your name?"
"Really. Coco? I can't see him, but this guy Hokuto helped us, you know."
"Hokutan....Thank you....And....And...the other person...you....Thank...you...."
"Other person? There's someone else?"
"Yeah, there is....I can see him...behind Hokutan.... "
Silence filled the room. The room temperature felt suddenly lower, for some reason. Coco....Coco was...looking at me. Just me....
Into my eyes....
"Are you talking about me?"
Feeling flustered, I gathered up my courage and spoke up.
"Yes, you. We finally meet....?"
"I don't know Hokutan, but....But I sure know you....Because....Because...all this time...you've been watching over me, haven't you?"
"Mister 4th dimension....Blick Winkel...."
"Let's play chicks some time again. We go piyo-piyo...piyo-piyo...."
"Coco...I was the one...."
Coco's cheeks eased up a little.
"I don't think you knew it, Takepyon, but....I didn't just play with you, I also was playing with him. Huh? Isn't that right?"
Coco was asking me.
"Uh-huh....I might have been watching over Coco for all this time. I've been watching over you....I wanted to get closer to you, too. But it was probably...not possible...."
"Hee, hee....So... you're the one who told me that you liked me then?"
"Yes, I suppose it was....I suppose it was...."
Coco and I looked at each other. We were staring at each other....Our eyes filled with passion...I felt as though my existence would evaporate any second.
"What's going to happen to me?"
All of a sudden, a dark shadow had covered Coco's eyes.
"Am I...going to die? "
"Don't be silly! There's no way you are going to die! No matter what, I'll save your life, Coco! I won't let you die!"
Excitedly I appealed to her. Although she looked to be in some pain....Coco smiled at me happily....My heart seemed that it would surely melt....
"Coco...so that's how it is, okay....? We're going to save you no matter what. So just relax. I want you to rest now...."
As he was saying this, Takeshi went to close the pod.
"Wait! What's going to happen?"
"You are going to sleep for a while, just like a cuddly bear."
"No....Please...don't leave me....Don't go anywhere....Don't leave me alone...."
"We're not going to leave you alone, will we? We're going to stay right here."
"You're lying....I don't believe you...."
"Quit being so stubborn! If we leave you like this you're going to...you're going to.... "
"No...no...no....I don't want to....I don't want to be all by myself. I'll be too lonely. I'm scared...I'm...so, so scared...."
"Takepyon, will you....Lie down...and...sleep next to me?"
"There's no way....This pod is...."
Takeshi stopped in the middle of what he was saying. He looked up at the ceiling, then to the monitor on the wall, and finally to the pod next to Coco.
"Alright, how about this then?"
"I'll sleep in the pod next to you. How's that? You won't be lonely anymore, right?"
Coco looked back and forth between Takeshi and me. She had a worried look on her face....And stared at us with eyes that seemed about to burst into tears.
"Really...? You aren't lying...?"
"Of course not."
"You promise....? You won't leave me and go?"
"I wouldn't do that, of course I won't go."
"Alright then....I trust you, Takepyon."
"That's a good girl."
Takeshi petted Coco's head.
"Okay, I'm going to close it now, okay Coco?"
Takeshi turned on the switch. The lid of the pod slowly went down.
"Hey? Before I go to sleep, will you listen to my request?"
"I wasn't talking to you, Takepyon...."
Coco's eyes were pointing towards me.
"Yes. Well, um...I....I want to see you."
"I want to see you again. I want to see you and talk with you more. "
"I think that I....I might just....It's just that I...."
"Oh...I can't say it...."
"But will you promise me? That...you and I will...see each other again someday?"
"I'll be...waiting....I'll wait for you no matter what....You'll...come...get me...? Promise?"
"Yes, I promise."
The space between the lid and the pod itself was almost gone. I could barely see Coco through the narrow slit....Coco faced towards me and whispered one last thing in her tiny voice.
"Well, good night....Brother...."
The sound of compressing air filled the room....The low whir of the motor....With a light metallic ring, the pod shut completely. Takeshi pushed another switch attached to the pod's chassis. The cryogenic suspension function was activated. There were small sounds, as though gas were leaking out. The pod slowly cooled down, humming with a slight vibration.
"Hey! Something Winkel! You still there?"
"What is it, Dad?"
"Oh, it's you, Hokuto...."
"You guys are confusing me....You and that Winkel guy are two different people, right? Or you are from the 4th dimension, too, Hokuto?"
"No, I'm just borrowing his perspective for now."
"Really....I mean, I still don't get it at all...but I don't suppose it matters."
Saying this Takeshi sank his body into an empty pod. The pod next to Coco's.
"What do you think...there's nothing else can I do, right? I made her a promise, you know...."
"So you're going to...!?"
"Yep, that's right. It doesn't look like there's a way to escape, anyway. We'll just have to wait for the second rescue team to arrive....But it'll just be a waste of energy to wait here doing nothing, so....I might as well get some sleep."
"D-dad! Wait a second!"
"No. I'm tired. I'm really, REALLY tired...."
Takeshi stretched his arm from where he lay, and flicked the switch for both closing the lid and starting the cryogenic suspension at the same time.
The lid started to close....
"Alright, Hokuto....I'm counting on you...."
"Oh, hey, one more thing."
"Quit calling me 'dad,' will you?"
"Well...I can't help it....I'm your son...."
"No, no, that's not what I mean. If you call me 'dad', why don't you say it a little more elegantly. Call me 'father,' okay? 'Father.' You got it?"
Hokuto took a deep breath trying to say something. But before he could say it, the lid of the pod had shut.
The cryogenic suspension had activated. The pod cooled down with small vibrations.
Just in case, Hokuto and I checked the monitor. The cryogenic suspension in the two pods was functioning properly. There were no signs of abnormality in the bio scans of Coco and Takeshi.