Part 15: Takeshi - Second Day - Part 3TrackKlamauk
I would go see Sora after that. I took their sandwiches in hand and left the room.
I called out as I walked corridors at random.
Heeeeeere, kitty, kitty, kitty.
I knew she wasn't the type to answer to that...
At the end of a corridor I spied Tsugumi.
"Oh, there she is. What are you doing here?"
'HIMMEL' was written on the door. Tsugumi wasn't really doing anything. She just stood in front of the door.
"Nothing... It's none of your business..."
"None of my business, huh...? Sure...whatever."
"What are YOU doing here?"
I held out one of the chicken sandwiches to Tsugumi.
"You're not gonna eat?"
Tsugumi tilted her head a little and stared at the sandwich.
"If you don't want it, I'll give it to You."
"I didn't say I don't want it..."
Tsugumi indifferently took the sandwich from me.
"Good. I went to a lot of pain to make that. If you said you didn't want it, I don't know what I'd..."
Tsugumi began to walk away without listening as I was talking.
"H-hey! Hold on a second!"
"You should at least say thanks."
Tsugumi didn't try to turn around. She shook my hand off of her shoulder effortlessly.
She let go an annoyed sigh.
Tsugumi said it in a low voice without turning around. My shrugged off hand floated in the air with nowhere to go.
"Don't... Touch me..."
Tsugumi repeated the same words again and silently started walking away. Down the water covered floor of the corridor... Rings rippled out slowly from where Tsugumi stepped as she walked away. Just then, the lights in the corridor began to flicker uneasily. I instinctively glanced up at the ceiling. I a dull growl-like sound shook the floor....
"W-what...? What is happening....? It couldn't be..."
Tiny waves formed in the water pooled on the floor. The walls and ceiling trembled slightly. Metal screeched on metal. I could see Tsugumi's back down the corridor. The lights clicked and flickered. Tsugumi turned and looked back at me. As if she wanted to say something to me...
The vibrations and sound died away. Only an eerie silence enveloped us. Only the emergency lights showed weakly.
"...Is this a blackout? Tsugumi!"
I kicked up water as I ran. I ran to where Tsugumi, shouting.
"Tsugumi! It's a blackout! A blackout!"
"What should we do?"
"Why're you asking me...?"
"Oh yeah...right... So, what should we do?"
"I know! First we should go to where everyone is."
You wasn't there.
I scanned the area. My eyes weren't used to the darkness yet and I couldn't see into the corners of the room.
"Hey! Coco! Kid! You!"
The echo of my voice was swallowed, vanishing into the darkness.
"Where could they have gone?"
My eyes stopped on the bench. On top of the tray I'd left there was one chicken sandwich remaining. I still had one of the sandwiches in my hand.... The emergency didn't seem to faze Tsugumi who was stuffing her face with the sandwich I'd given her.
Tsugumi handed me something. It was the balled up sandwich wrapper.
"...needs to be thrown away."
Saying that, Tsugumi left the room.
(Geez. I can't believe that girl...)
I took the crumpled up wrapper and put it back on the tray and soon followed after Tsugumi.
In the far darkness I could just make out three familiar outlines.
Splashing through the water the three of them walked over.
"Hey, have you seen Sora?"
I looked at Tsugumi. She shook her head.
"Wasn't she in the Control Room?"
"It's empty now."
"You sure? Let's check..."
I pushed the panel next to the door, but the button remained lifeless.
"Hey, how do you open this? Does the electricity have to be on?"
"Oh, there is an emergency mechanism for opening the door near the bottom of it..."
The door opened just wide enough for a person to squeeze through. I peeked inside the room. It was pitch black. I couldn't see a thing.
"Do you want a flashlight?"
Taking the flashlight, I turned it on and stepped into the room.
I swung the light left and right and shined it in the corners of the room. The electricity was completely down. Like an abandoned castle, there was no sign of warmth left. There was clearly nobody there.
I joined everyone and said this calmly. It had been one crisis after another since the day before.... I guess we were already used to the situation because nobody had lost it.
"I can't believe Sora would take off without saying anything first."
You tilted her head as she said this.
Looking at her then I noticed something.
"You, when did you change clothes?"
"Huh? Oh, this...?"
You was wearing clothes I hadn't remembered seeing.
"I spilled sauce all over my uniform... I had one change of clothes in the changing room. These are my everyday clothes."
"Hmmm. I see...so you had a change of clothes. Spilling sauce on your uniform? That's pretty clumsy."
"Ha, ha, ha..."
You scratched her head as if to offset her embarrassment.
"Anyway, we should be thinking about Sora."
"Yeah. For now..."
"Let's everybody split up and look for Sora. Without Sora around we won't know why there was the blackout or anything..."
Well, obviously something stopped working correctly.
"Yeah. Sora knows more about LeMU than anyone."
"Hmmm.... Alright, let's do this. You and the Kid, you guys check this floor. Tsugumi, Coco and I will hit the second floor... Okay?"
"Uh...um...what about Pipi?"
"Of course, he'll go with you."
I petted Pipi's head.
"Alright, let's go search!"
The three people and one mutt--myself, Tsugumi, Coco and Pipi--split up once we reached Zweite stock.
[Pipi] "Woo woof! Woof!"
Coco was shaking the flashlight and signaling to me. I had handed it to her before we started searching.
"How'd it go? Any luck?"
Coco used the flashlight to make a big X, signifying nothing found.
"How about you?"
"Nothing. She's not on this floor. What about Tsugumi?"
"Tsugumi just passed by in front of me."
"She went that way...toward the entrance to EI the egg elevator."
"The neutral buoyancy elevator, huh?"
"She was carrying something big."
Something big? It sounded like Tsugumi was up to something solo again....
"I'll go check it out."
Coco and I moved to the room next door.
Ahead in the pitch darkness was something rustling around.
Calling out, Coco shined the light on the shadow.
"...Hey, that's bright."
As expected, it was Tsugumi. She held out the palms of her hands as she stood up. Coco hurried to turn off the flashlight and rushed over by Tsugumi. I followed her over with Pipi.
"What are you doing here?"
" I don't understand what you mean by 'Hmph'."
"Hey, what were you doing?"
"Looking into something."
"EI the egg elevator?"
"What do you need this big thing to investigate for?"
Coco pointed down by Tsugumi's feet. There lay a massive plastic case. I was sure I'd seen it...in the warehouse the day before. It looked like a toolbox, but....
"I'm gonna need this later. Right now I'm just checking the status of the elevator. Whether it'll move or the doors open manually..."
Tsugumi was loads more talkative than usual. Her attitude toward Coco was much nicer than the one she had toward me. It seemed to me that Coco's unique personality kept even Tsugumi off balance.
"Hmmm... So how about it? Does it look like the elevator will move?"
Tsugumi glanced at me as she said this.
Shes smiling. This cant mean anything good.
"Hey, but what good would using the elevator do you?"
"I thought we'd go down to the third floor..."
"Third floor? Why don't we just use the emergency stairs like we always do?"
"Because those stairs won't get us where we need to go."
"They won't get us to the Generator Room."
That reminded me of what You had said. LeMU didn't receive any power from the outside, but had an in-house generating system. She'd said that the facility pumped up hot water from a thermal seafloor vent using heat from it to operate the power generator....
"But why do you need to go there?"
"Because it's a pain with the lights off."
"To make repairs. I think the cause of the blackout is the generator."
"Oh, I see! So that's why you need this big box?"
"Oh, I get it now.... That makes sense."
Tsugumi was finally freed from Coco's barrage of questions.
"Alright. I'm going down..."
"Takeshi...could you come along?"
Without thinking, I shot a question back at her. Her question was pretty sudden and caught me off balance. Besides, I thought that it was the first time that she had called me by my name.
"First there is one thing that I want to ask you..."
"You just said something about the emergency stairs not leading to the Generator Room, right? Yeah...so what?"
"Don't you remember the map of LeMU that we saw yesterday?"
I pressed on my temples with my fingers trying to tease out a buried memory.
"Do you remember?"
"I can't say I remember it exactly...but kinda, yeah."
"And what was between those two areas?"
"Between them? How am I supposed to know...? There wasn't anything there."
"Exactly. Which means?"
"The two areas are divided by a block which is now under water...?"
"Oh, I see... To get to the Generator Room's area, we have to access the second floor..."
"Could you...help me out?"
"But do you think it's alright? I mean, we haven't asked Sora's opinion... And we don't know if the cause of the blackout is really the generator..."
"I don't think you're going to find Sora. Because of the blackout..."
"The Control Room computer is going to be down. Even if Sora were around, she wouldn't be able to contact LeMMIH. So the only thing that we can do is go check out the generator...right?"
"Well, I suppose so, but..."
"So what're you going to do? Will you come along?"
Those words shocked me. I thought my heart stopped for a second.
They were not words that I ever expected to hear from Tsugumi's mouth. Tsugumi stared straight at me. Her intense gaze made me uncomfortable.
Its making me uncomfortable, too.
If that Libertarian water city idea comes to fruition in 6 years, and goes the same way the game goes, I will laugh, and then I will cry.