Part 36: Takeshi - Sixth Day - Part 1
The sound of boiling, bubbling oil filled the room. I fried the chicken in silence. After getting up, we all gathered in front of the sandwich shop as usual. As luck would have it, everyone showed up at the same time. I guess I could have called it lucky...
Hardly anyone said a thing. Everyone had glum expressions on their faces and ate silently. There was a strange atmosphere surrounding us. For some reason it had become hard for us to look one another in the eyes. It felt like the beginning of a bottomless rift amongst us. And at the same time, there was a strange smell in the air...
There was smoke coming from the tip of my finger!
"Smoke! Smoke! Aaaggggh that's hot....!"
I had been firmly pressing it against the grill. I hastily cut the power. A juicy smell, not unlike sausage, was coming from the burnt tip of my finger.
"Ooooooww, that hurts.... I'm such an idiot..."
As I blew on my finger to cool it off, I looked around at everyone. They had noticed, but they all turned their gazes down.
Not pictured, another parade of ..
Only Pipi was kind enough to acknowledge me.
"Yeah Pipi, I burnt myself pretty good, ha, ha, ha."
But soon, even Pipi turned his face away from me.
It seemed like everyone hated me. I felt totally alone. The sandwich I had just finished cooled and soon it no longer tasted palatable. It felt like the morning after a funeral.
Everyone knew, but nobody wanted to say anything. A moment of carelessness had opened our hearts up to despair... They shoveled the chicken sandwiches into their mouths in silence.
After we were all finished eating, everyone went to the Conference Room.
"There is something that I wanted to inform you about as soon as possible. I know it is difficult, but it is important for you to accurately realize the full gravity of this situation. Please don't panic, settle down...and listen carefully."
Sora paused for a second. Sora looked at all five of us in turn....You, Tsugumi, Coco, the Kid and me. The Conference Room was silent. But I could hear the sound of water, faintly coming from somewhere. Was it water lapping in the hallways...? Moments later I couldn't hear it anymore. As if Sora was waiting for this cue, she slowly opened her mouth.
"The situation...is not good."
Sora extended her hand and a holographic window appeared in the space in front of us. I felt like I hadn't seen her do that for a while.
"Since the flooding of the Cosmic Whale area in Dritte stock last night, there have been no further reports of significant damage. The burden being placed on LeMU's support columns has increased, due to the flooding. The structural distortion between floors is increasing. As this continues, LeMU will eventually lose its equilibrium and tilt dramatically. If the damage to the areas connecting the floors of different sectors increases, there is the possibility that pipe leaks could flood the dry sectors. In other words...we can't afford to be careless. Things are critical."
"Implosion of LeMU is estimated to occur at 4:30 a.m. on May 7. The calculation has a margin of error of +/- 12 hours. There has been no significant change in this prediction. In one area, the strength limits of partitions have already been exceeded. The destruction of LeMU will be gradual, but it will inevitably and steadily occur. It is...only a matter of time."
We all swallowed and held our breath as we listened. We knew we were reaching our time limit. We had no choice but to accept the reality. There was no avoiding the situation.
"Presently, the power generator is functioning normally. However, if by chance there is a blackout...we will switch to the emergency power source battery. This is generally meant for supporting the emergency lighting and the maintenance for LeMU's system...it should last for about two hours."
I needed to be listening more attentively to Sora's report. Just like You, Coco, Kid, Pipi... and even Tsugumi. Everyone was listening calmly to what Sora had to say. No one was panicking, yet.
Last night, Tsugumi's yells had pierced my heart. Yet her bitter bullet didn't come out my backit remained lodged inside as a constant reminder. She refused to look at me. Instead, Tsugumi just stared blankly in front of her. Perhaps that was for the best... No, that wasn't just it... Something else was bothering me. I tuned back in to the affairs at hand, listening carefully to Sora's report.
"The normal communication channels are still not functioning. Neither have I found an escape route. However... I have made protecting you my top priority and LeMMIH is devoting all of its resources to that objective."
"I am also using all sensors, lights, manipulators and means at my disposal outside of the complex... And I am still investigating whether there are any means of communicating with the outside using light, radio or sound."
Sora nodded her head, straightened her back, and surveyed the room. We were all silent. There was a look of determination in her eyes.
"Let me say one thing more... That as long as I...Sora Akanegasaki exist... And while my powers are limited, as long as you are here... I will do my utmost to find a way for you to escape to safety."
"We do not have much longer together, but I Sora Akanegasaki, am at your service."
She concluded with a serious nod. We also nodded in agreement.
"We must wait...and believe that help is on its way."
Sora's serious expression gave way to a smile.
"Everyone, let's pray for a safe rescue."
The gloomy atmosphere that had been hanging over the gathering lightened and everyone started thinking about how they should spend their time. Sora's smile instilled everyone with courage. I was grateful for that piece of code in Sora's A.I.the function that allowed her to be calm in times of trouble.
Everyone found a seat around the central stage. A ripple ran through the water on the floor. A wave swashed back and forth, from wall to wall.
"This is serious... What are we going we do...?"
I didn't have any ideas. A few quiet discussions were going on. Yet from where I stood, it seemed the more people spoke, the murkier the answers became. From the beginning it was the same debate repeated over and over again. Should we wait for help? Should we seek an escape route? All I could do was look to the ceiling. There was no sign that any bright ideas were on their way to my head. We were just waiting for the walls and ceiling to come crumbling down.
"Kid, what happened?"
"Everyone, be careful! Don't move! Don't stand up!"
A deep moan rumbled through the room as the floor began to shake. A wave of fear ran through us. Soon the shaking ceased.
"Don't worry! It's okay. Right, Sora?"
"Yes. The shaking right now was... I believe it was only due to a large amount of activity from the thermal vents, on the ocean floor. It should only be temporary."
But her facial coloring still hadn't returned to normal. Everyone looked around the room, exchanging glances. And just like that, nervous tension refilled the room again.
I decided to take charge.
"Alright! Listen up everyone!"
I rose to my feet and shouted to everyone.
"Listen, just stay where you all are! I'm going to check the kiosk on the second floor!"
Everyone looked shocked as I yelled. Some jaws even dropped. They may have been half put off by me. Still, I didn't concern myself with that. No matter how stupid it seemed, I continued...
"I'm going above to grab some snacks for everybody. There is plenty up there, and we still should be able to eat it. It'll be a pain to go get it later, and it doesn't make sense to let them go to waste. Alright? We're going to eat here. And let's have a good time Oh, that's right. Does anybody want beer...?"
You raised her hand timidly.
"But we don't sell alcohol at the LeMU kiosks."
"We've had a lot of complaints about customers having bad hangovers due to the differences in air pressure down here."
"That's too bad. Well, hardly any of you look like you could hold your drink anyway. I guess it'll have to be juice..."
"Excuse me, Takeshi?"
Now it was Kid who raised his hand.
"There are probably plenty of drinks at the chicken sandwich shop. That way you won't have to go above. There's canned juice and paper cups.... Why don't I go and get them?"
"Alright, Kid, you do that."
"Alright. Leave it to me!"
The Kid laughed. It seemed he was over the events from the day before.
"Hey, let me help!"
An excited Coco raised her hand, volunteering.
"I think Pipi wants to help too!"
"Great! Alright, let's go and get the supplies."
"Sora, do we still have time?"
You asked Sora this in a small voice.
"I am sorry. I am not able to run an accurate simulation... There may not be much time, but we will be safe until 2 p.m. That I can guarantee."
Sora replied casually.
You nodded and looked up.
"Kid, are you ready? Let's grab all the drinks we can carry."
"Okay, let's go."
"Oh, that's right!"
You slammed her fist into her hand excitedly and looked about the room.
"What about Tsugumi?"
"Tsugumi? H-huh...? She's not here..."
I frantically surveyed the room as well, but Tsugumi was nowhere in sight.
"Where the heck did she go? And when'd she leave?"
"I believe Tsugumi slipped out of here just a short while ago. She seems to have left for the second floor..."
"There's nothing we can do."
"She'll be back soon, right Takeshi?"
"Okay everyone, let's get ready to party!"
"Let's party! Party!"
I had only thrown out the idea as a way to lighten the mood... And before I knew it, we had ourselves a full-blown party in the making.
...Well, whatever. It was better than having everyone moping around.
"Fa la la la la, la la la la. Fa la la fa la la. LA LA LA!"
As we climbed the stairs, Coco sang some crazy song.
"You seem like you're in a good mood, Coco."
"Well, you know, I just get excited sometimes..."
"Looks like we've come to the climax!"
"The damsel in distress is in a pinch and in waltzes our dashing hero!"
"Young lady, are you alright? Are you not injured?"
"And there is our masked villain. I can't forgive you this, you evil scoundrel! Using my neutrino energy power...I'll kill you! Ayah!"
"Oh I can pretend can't I?"
"Huh, Takepyon? Are you fed up with me?"
"You think I'm just a silly girl, don't you? Ah! So sad! But you want to see what kind of parents could have raised me."
"No, no. It's not that...Not at all!"
I mussed up her hair affectionately.
"Heh, heh, he..."
"If I were in a pinch like that, I'm sure someone would come to my rescue! I just can't help but think of how wonderful that would be..."
"You know? What's wrong with dreaming like that?"
"Yeah, you're right. You know...to tell you the truth, I'm thinking the same way. I think that someone might come to rescue us! I don't know about the neutrino stuff though."
"Yeah yeah! You're right!"
We wanted to believe that a hero was on the way... and that went for Coco, Pipi and me, too.
We turned down the corridor and entered the souvenir shop.
"Hey, is that you? Tsugumi?"
I was shocked to see her. I totally blanked and went speechless.
"Is there a reason I shouldn't be here?"
Tsugumi spit out her words coldly... It was typical Tsugumi.
"No, not at all..."
"Tsugumi, how about you help us out?"
" Well, alright. I don't suppose I really have a choice."
Tsugumi nodded reluctantly.
"So what should I do, Coco?"
Tsugumi glanced at me... She didn't say anything and looked away quickly. Her eyes seemed dead. Thinking about it made me sad.
We began our party in an elevated part of the rest area. Even without alcohol, the party was lively. The Kid and I distributed the snacks and drinks to everyone. It was then that You volunteered to provide some entertainment.
First she performed an impersonation of a strange old archaeologist, who had a talent for cracking a whip Then Coco came out in a makeshift sumo outfit and stomped her feet on the stage...Sora kept busy filling the room with hologram projections of rainbows. The rainbow-colored bubbles that floated from the water surface through the air were particularly pretty.
After that Tsugumi joined us... She added a little magic to the show as she dropped her hamster in her skirt pocket only to have it reappear in her breast pocket. That really impressed the crowd. Although I knew about her hamster, Chami, many didn't even know Tsugumi kept a pet.
Then Kid and I performed a comedy skit. We pulled out one-liners and impromptu gags which got huge laughter from everyone.
Video: TakeshiSilent Last Supper
Kid and I exited the stage to thunderous applause.
"Ha ha ha ha ha! That was great!"
"That was absolutely wonderful!"
"Better than I expected..."
"Those two were perfect together."
"Thank you, thank you..."
"Thank you everyone..."
"Actually, I was surprised too that you poked fun at yourself using the truth about you losing your memory as a gag."
"Well, that's just how the skit flowed. It fit perfectly into our act."
"Yeah, I guess you're right... Well, it looks like I've got nothing more to teach you! So, go ahead and follow in my comedy footsteps!"
"Ah, sorry. I've already forgot everything you taught me."
"Well, that's too bad...you should at least take notes. Notes! But never fear! I ain't taught you nothin' yet!"
"Is that true?"
And that was about it... The party gradually wound down.
(These...are so good!)
It wasn't exactly the ideal breakfast food. Everyone happily downed their food. Food... If LeMU collapsed soon... I thought that could be everyone's last meal... Everyone understood that, yet said nothing. No... Everyone understood, which is why they said nothing.
After finishing my sandwich, I got up the nerve to speak to Tsugumi.
"What? What do you want, Takeshi...?"
Tsugumi crouched on the stage. I crouched beside her, and looked to see what she was doing. There, Tsugumi was drawing something on the stage with a thick marker. As usual, Tsugumi didn't look at me.
She stopped scribbling for a moment. I decided to come out and say what I had to say.
"About yesterday... I'm sorry. I didn't know what to say...but..."
"About what? I don't really know what you're talking about."
Tsugumi was curt in her response.
"Tsu-Tsugumi! You're joking, right? There's no way you could've forgotten. I know I haven't. That's not just something you can...just simply forget about. I realize it's not something you can talk about casually, but..."
Her eyes wandered around the room for a moment. Then, she looked down again at the scribbles she had been drawing.
"I don't really care. I don't care about what happened yesterday..."
"So, would you please stop talking about it? Don't say anything."
Tsugumi was back to her drawing on the stage floor.
"I'm trying to think of a way to get out of here, too. So don't...bother me."
Tsugumi refused to look at me as she spoke. After that I felt a little gun-shy.
I stood up and left her there. I walked over toward where Sora was.
"Hello. What may I help you with, Takeshi?"
Sora smiled softly when she looked at me.
"Nothing much...I just have a lot on my mind."
"Right now LeMMIH is handling operations and will alert me if any troubles arise. LeMMIH is also currently continuing investigation of means of escape as well as communication with the outside. Please do not worry."
"Thanks, Sora.... That helps. Can I ask what time it is? I need to set it on my..."
"No problem. The current time is."
"Hold on for a second."
I took my PDA from my pocket.
"Excuse me, Sora."
"Ah, yes. Tsugumi.... What is on your mind?"
Tsugumi was suddenly standing right between Sora and I. Tsugumi let out a nervous laugh.
"There's something I want to tell you, in private..."
"It's about escaping this place. I have a proposal for you."
"Is that so? What is it? You know of a way?"
"Yes. I might be able to help in some way. I want to hear from you whether or not my idea is feasible."
"What? Wait a second, Tsugumi. Sora and I..."
"Shut up, Takeshi."
Tsugumi held out her hand as if stopping my mouth in one motion.
"I want to speak to Sora. Alone. You don't mind, do you Sora?"
"No. Let's go talk in the Central Control Room."
"Right, let's go."
The two got down from the stage and set off with very serious looks on their faces.
"Wait! Hold up you two! Don't go starting something without telling everyone! Why can't you just talk here!?"
Tsugumi turned around and shot a sharp glare at me. Her eyes were ice.
"I told you to shut up, didn't I?"
Sora and Tsugumi turned their backs to me and left together.
Video: Silent Last Supper II
Things around me got quiet.
"What the hell."
"What the hell is going on here...?"
I felt alone. Balling up the sandwich wrapper, I threw it as hard as I could.
The wrapper fell in the water, creating a series of ripples.
"Takeshi...what do you think you're doing? You shouldn't litter, you know?"
You picked the wrapper out of the water and twisted it around her finger.
"Wh-who cares? It doesn't matter at this point anyway..."
"Oh, not that again. Quit your sulking, mister!"
"I'm not sulking."
"If you saaay so..."
You shrugged and let out a deep sigh.
I glanced over to the corner of the room and saw Coco and Kid climbing a statue. Looking over at them... You and I sat down on the circular stage.
"The reason is totally obvious. You don't have to say anything. Even if you look fine, I know it's just for show. I know you're depressed, Takeshi."
"W-well because! I mean, i-it isn't like that at all...!"
"Because? What's this 'because'? Obviously you're hiding something. You said 'because.' That's a little strange, don't you think?"
"Come on, try to prove me wrong."
I was pretending I was fine. Even I knew the reason was obvious. I was worried about 'her'...
You let out another fake sigh again.
"Well, if you're not going to tell me, do you mind if I ask a question?"
"Go ahead... As you wish... *sigh*"
This time I was the one to sigh.
"Okay! Here I go!"
"Well, hurry up already."
"What are you so angry about?"
"I'm not angry about anything."
The Kid and Pipi were playing sumo. Coco was the referee. I watching them... as You spoke.
"Hey...Takeshi... About Tsugumi's injury... It is healing really quickly... She didn't even need stitches, you know."
"Tsugumi seems like she leads a normal life, just like you and me... And I try not to worry too much about her and just accept things as I see them, but... But that just isn't normal."
She looked down at her feet when she spoke.
"Have you heard about Tsugumi's condition?"
"No I haven't... Wait, I might have."
"You can really be vague, sometimes, you know? Which one is it?"
"I'm sorry...I forgot."
"So you're one of those indecisive type of guys, hmmm?"
"Come on! Say something..."
I was silent. I figured it was something just between Tsugumi and me. And... I didn't really know enough about her condition to say 'yeah, I know something.' Plus, I was still having a difficult time believing the whole thing. Even when I saw it with my own eyes, part of my brain refused to accept it.
"Let's just drop it..."
"Ha ha. You really forgot didn't you?"
"Well I guess there's nothing we can do about it."
"... How come you asked me about it?"
"I wonder why?"
You said this sarcastically, playing dumb. And then a serious look formed on her face.
"The truth is... When I was looking at LeMMIH, I came upon some interesting information in the medical database. It was from the Leiblich Pharmaceutical database..."
"Leiblich Pharmaceutical? Database?"
"I think they use it during treatment in the infirmary, but..."
Coco and Pipi... I could hear the splashes from their running echo.
"When I scoured the database...I couldn't believe what I read. A body that doesn't grow old... A mutated body type because of a virus It shakes the foundations of modern science..."
"I might have found something related to Tsugumi's condition. In the database I searched through a number of old medical records. I found one that mirrors Tsugumi's condition. Generally speaking, the number of cases of victims of this virus known is very small.."
"What...? Hey hey! Hold on a sec... How come LeMU has that kind of information?"
"I don't know! Why ask me? All I do know is that data and the name of the virus."
"The name of the...virus?"
"Yeah, the name. It's called... Cure."
I pondered the name for a moment.
"Everyone! We've got trouble!"
Kid came running into the room yelling.
"Kid? Where the heck did you just go?"
"Problem? What kind of problem?"
Last section will be up once I'm done with class for the day.