Part 25: Takeshi - Third Day - Part 1TrackZweitestock
"You always just wolf your food down. I don't know, but there just isn't much satisfaction in cooking for you. Besides, with all that ketchup and mustard on it, you probably can't even taste it."
"It doesn't matter how it tastes."
"Of course it matters! I'm doing my best to show you how real cookin' tastes! You just wait, I'll cook you up a meal that will wake up your tastebuds...!!"
"I've had enough to eat, okay? I'm full..."
"...Hmph. Well, if you say so."
Suddenly, a low metallic sound reverberated throughout the installation. It was a dull, muffled sound.
"Wh-what was that!?"
"This whole place just shook...a little."
Tsugumi's eyes darted around, as if searching for something. Moments later the Kid and Coco, who'd both been resting in another room, appeared.
"Hey kid, what was that?"
"Uh, I don't know..."
"Hey, this doesn't have anything to do with that 'bad feeling' you had earlier, does it?"
The Kid shook his head.
"I don't know. Maybe we should ask Sora..."
"Did you call for me?"
From out of nowhere Sora appeared in midair and floated down in front of us.
"Ah, hi Sora!"
"Hey, Sora! Where were you?"
"I'm terribly sorry. I overslept."
Sora looked embarrassed.
"Overslept? But you're... Nah, we'll save that for later."
"Hey, did something just happen? There was an awful noise just now."
"One of the shafts that supports this floor has started to warp."
"We didn't see any signs of it yesterday..."
"Yes, well, it wasn't in my calculations. It appears as if the ocean currents may have influenced this outcome."
"How dangerous are we talking about here?"
"Well it should be within the margin of error, but...no, wait a second."
"There is an anomaly in one the of pressure-regulating pipelines, at Zweite stock's warehouse."
"'What are pressure-regulating pipes?"
"These pipelines are responsible for adjusting the pressure inside the multi-layered bulkheads comprising LeMU."
"If any of them should rupture, for whatever reason, I am incapable of repairing them. The anomaly is only slight, so you shouldn't have to hurry, but...I think it is best if someone goes to check on it. Would you please go for me?"
"Sure, leave it to me."
I volunteered right away.
"I'll go, too."
Unexpectedly, Tsugumi also agreed to go.
"Tsugumi? You sure?"
"Well, if we're going to fix something, we'll need tools, right? I know my way around a workshop."
"Alright.... Let's go."
"I'll help too!"
"Okay, you can come too Coco.... Hey. Does anyone know where You went?"
I looked around but didn't see You anywhere.
"She went to the Control Room when things were shaking earlier."
"We must have just missed each other."
"I'll go and tell her that you're going up above."
"Alright Kid. I'll leave it to you. Keep an eye on things from the Control Room, will you? Just to make sure we don't miss anything..."
"If something comes up, use LeMMIH to contact me."
"Alright, see you!!"
Bounding across the water's surface, the Kid shot down the corridor.
Even if there wasn't any need to hurry, we couldn't afford to waste any time. Tsugumi set her sights on the floor above and started lugging the heavy toolbox. Coco and Pipi followed right behind.
"By the way, Sora..."
I asked Sora, who was gliding alongside me, something that had been on my mind.
"Yes, Takeshi. What is it?"
"You mention you'd 'overslept' earlier...?"
"Y-yes, I'm sorry..."
Sora's face went a deep shade of red.
"Actually, there was a routine maintenance on one of the servers, where my data is stored. It initiated automatically this morning."
"It appears that it took some time for the return processing. I was a little too optimistic on the preliminary check. I'm terribly sorry."
"Hmm, so that's what it was... A, ha, ha, ha."
I laughed for some reason.
"Um, er, what...did I say something amusing?"
Sora was confused.
"No, I just thought it was funny that even YOU could oversleep, Sora."
"How should I put it? ...It's cute."
"Sleeping in is...cute?? That does not compute..."
Sora's eyes went round. Maybe it was because this particular use of the word wasn't in her database.
"I've caused all of you such trouble..."
"Hey, nobody's angry. Don't let it bother you. Everyone knows that you're working hard."
"Ah, yes. Thank you..."
Although Sora looked somewhat puzzled, her cheeks seemed to glow with joy. And for some reason I found that amusing too.
This isnt going to end well, is it?
I thought it was a charmingly innocent reaction. I supposed it was the kind of thing you'd call 'cute.'
Its not. Its unnerving.
It didn't look like there was anything wrong with the floor, but I could hear a small hissing sound. I headed in the direction of the noise.
"Still, there wasn't any sign of this yesterday. Why do you think this happened all of a sudden?"
"Well.... Everything doesn't always go according to plan..."
"Is it because everyone was bouncing around so much?"
Coco said this casually.
"Well, because everyone was making such a commotion. I wonder if that's why LeMU started to tilt?"
"I, I don't think so."
"Ha, ha, maybe it is."
Tsugumi laughed softly.
"But if we make some repairs, everything should be fine."
"Yeah, I guess so. Right, Tsugumi?"
"Yeah. Don't worry about it, Coco."
"Whew! I'm so relieved. Woo hoo! Alright!"
"Yep, the noise is coming from the warehouse."
"I'm going to perform a scan to determine the status of the area."
Saying that Sora disappeared.
"The steam in there isn't going to explode, if we open the door, right?"
After I asked that, Tsugumi eyed the door uncertainly.
"It's probably fine."
"You can tell? Hey, you aren't..."
"I'm just saying what you want to hear."
Sora suddenly appeared near the door.
"I've run the diagnostic. Atmospheric pressure is normal. No traces of toxic gas detected. The temperature and humidity of the room are rising in slight increments. An area of the pipe has ruptured, and there is a slight water leak. The water is about four inches at its deepest point."
"That's hardly anything at all."
"Well, yes, but..."
"Let's go in. If we fix it, there won't be a problem, right?"
"Yes. Please hurry."
I opened the door. I looked at the wall where the hissing sound was coming from. There was a faint crack in the pressure-regulating pipe, and water was dancing out of it in a fine mist. If that's all it was, it didn't seem like we had anything to worry about. I thought we'd be able to fix it in no time. Tsugumi had opened up the toolbox, and started spreading a few tools out in front of her.
"What do we need to do?"
"The pipe is bent a little bit...I'm going to clamp a metal sleeve on it, would you support the pipe for me?"
"What should I do?"
"On the other side of this...there should be a valve attached to this pipe. You see it? I want you to loosen that a bit."
We all started working in unison. We opened and closed the valves on a number of pipes, re-attached pipes and welded shut cracks...
"You seem really used to all this."
"What do you mean?"
"Welding. Where'd you learn that?"
"You want to know?"
"Uh, well it's just that..."
"You know, asking meaningless questions is a bad habit of yours."
I prefer the term 'morbidly curious', thank you very much.
And after that, I didn't feel I could ask anything else. Sora just stayed close to us, watching. After a while an intercom rang from the corner of the room.
"Huh, did someone call?"
"I'm sorry everyone, It seems like You is calling me. I need to go."
"Okay, go for it. We should be able to handle the rest ourselves."
"Okay. I'll leave the rest to you."
Sora got close to the intercom, and it looked like she got sucked into the receiver. I knew she could travel instantly, but still...it was disconcerting.
"Takeshi? Don't just stand there, on to the next pipe."
"Huh? Oh, okay."
"First take that blue valve and..."
The water underfoot hadn't gone down at all. Although the drain pump was moving, the drainage pipe was broken.
"After that I want you to turn the red valve..."
We'd fixed a number of pipes, but the sound of escaping steam still hadn't stopped.
"Alright Coco, wait just a bit."
"Okay, I'm ready."
"Takeshi, move the valves in the order I told you. Now."
"Hey, you listening Takeshi?"
"Huh? Yeah, alright, alright. I'm sorry. Blue then red, right?"
"Yeah. Loosen them and then shut them again."
I set to work upon the blue valve in front of me. I was supposed to loosen this...
(Eh? Which way was I supposed to turn this again...?)
Takeshi fails to pay attention, as usual.
I'm going to go ahead and say don't bother voting. They're short sections and she'll only yell at you if you get them wrong.