Part 40: Tsugumi Good End - Part 2TrackKopfsprung
His results from the scan came up on the control panel's monitor.
"Tief Blau 2017-Rev.17"
"The Kid's been infected with Tief Blau, too..."
"How could that happen!? Why? He's been with us the whole time. So why did he get...? Why, and where did he get TB!? ...*cough*"
I mumbled to myself, finding it hard to breathe all of a sudden.
"Takeshi, just calm down... None of us know where he got exposed to it."
"Takeshi, I want you to get scanned, too."
"Just let me scan you...please. It isn't normal to start spewing blood from your nose and mouth, okay?"
"Yeah I know...but..."
Tsugumi gently took the Kid off of the L-MRI examination table and forcefully put me up on it. Pressing on both of my shoulders, she forced me down on the table.
"Y-you don't have to do that...fine, I'll let you check me."
I brushed Tsugumi's hands off of me.
"See? I'm lying down now."
"Okay...You, please start the scan."
You started operating the control panel. The scanning light from the laser crawled slowly up my body. After a while...
"The scan's finished..."
"W-what's it say?"
My voice cracked when I asked the question.
"A-at least say something, You."
"The results are..."
You stared at the panel without moving.
"The results are black...You're infected too, Takeshi."
Tsugumi read the monitor for me.
"I'm sorry to say it, but..."
"Since coming to IBF... No it must've been longer, since coming to LeMU, all of us... Have been infected for quite some time."
Tsugumi hung her head down and let out a big sigh.
I stood up from the L-MRI, and was assaulted by a terrible dizzy spell.
"Takeshi, watch out...!"
The one to steady me from falling was the Kid. But from the looks of it, his legs weren't very steady either. Putting my hand on a wall, I somehow held myself up.
"We're in trouble, huh...?"
"Y-you can say that again..."
"If only we had that serum...the orange one...agh."
The Kid pressed his hand to his face. As he wiped his mouth, I noticed a thin trail of blood there.
"Y-yeah, the serum.... If they've been handling TB here at IBF, they should have some of that. If we use that, then the symptoms should lessen..."
I went around the examination room, and checked to see if I could find it anywhere. Tsugumi and You hurriedly started checking through the medicine cabinets. The Kid sank to the floor. He didn't look very good. His breathing was ragged and he had lines of pain etched on his face.
"It's no good. It doesn't look like there's any here."
"I can't find any either."
The two of them were shaking their heads.
"Damn...what are we going to do?"
"Hey Pipi, you seem like you're doing pretty well."
Without me noticing, Pipi had come up and was darting around my legs. His tail was wagging frantically. He suddenly dropped a few small objects from his mouth.
"H-hey! Where'd you get...?"
"What's wrong? ...Ah!"
You ran over to where we were.
"This is...the orange serum."
She picked up one of the fallen objects in front of Pipi. It was a small capsule - a capsule with orange liquid inside of it. Four of them had fallen on the floor.
"Where'd you find that Pipi?"
I didn't know if he'd understand me, but I asked Pipi anyway.
Pipi shook his head from side-to-side.
"Were there any more of these?"
He shook his head.
"This is...all of them?"
"...W-well we need to take these immediately... Sorry You, but get these ready. You're the only one who knows how to give shots."
"I found some syringes over here, You."
We gathered all of the cartridges of serum from the floor, and put them on the bed. Looking slightly doubtful, You prepared the syringes one at a time and gave the Kid and me our shots.
"Phew.... We can relax for a while now."
Sitting with his back against the wall, the Kid gave You a thumbs up. After that he smiled and closed his eyes. He must have fallen asleep. Tsugumi and I carried the Kid over to an empty bed.
"What do we do about Coco?"
"She's still undergoing the oxygen treatment. So we can't open the pod. It looks like the treatment is progressing normally. As long as she's in there, I don't think her condition will get much worse... As soon as it's done, let's give Coco a shot, too."
Video: Takeshi/TsugumiCure Virus I
"Oh yeah, you should probably give yourself a shot too, don't you think, You?"
"Huh? Um, no I..."
The next shot had already been prepared, but for some reason You was stalling.
She started coughing suddenly.
"Hey! Give yourself a shot quickly!"
"But, I-I just...*cough* "
She wouldn't stop coughing. Her arm holding onto the syringe started to shake.
Her coughing finally stopped. But her hands wouldn't go still.
"W-what's wrong? You aren't feeling well? You want me to give the shot to you?"
"Huh, n-no way... I...I don't like shots..."
"You didn't have any problem sticking everyone else!?"
"You don't like getting them yourself?"
"Well yeah. 'Cause they hurt!"
You puffed out her cheeks stubbornly.
"What are you talking about, your life's on the line here...! What'll ya do? Give me that syringe, You!"
Reaching out quickly, I latched onto You's arm.
"Tsugumi, hold her down!"
Tsugumi forced You to sit on the bed, and held her so that she couldn't move.
"Hey...*cough* what are you doing! Ouch!"
I grabbed onto You's arm, and stuck the needle in it.
"Hey! Where do you think you're sticking that! You've got it all wrong! Not there! Aaaa, stop mangling me!"
"Ow! Ouch! Stop! Go more slowly!"
"Well stop squirming around so much!"
"The angle's all wrong! You're going to get air bubbles in it!"
"Stop complaining! You can't do it yourself!"
"Stop iiiit! Lemmee goooo! I'm dyyyinnnng! Oooooowwwch!"
"You idiot! We're giving you this so you WON'T die!"
Tsugumi slumped her shoulders. You was throwing a tantrum like a spoiled child. Small droplets of red stained the white sheets of the bed.
We didn't have room to mess around anymore. Ultimately, You wouldn't let me do it so she ended up giving herself the shot. Complaining the whole time, and with tears in her eyes...
"Hey, You? Do you think we can do anything after it stops working?"
She was sitting at the computer terminal, silently typing on the keyboard.
"You, tell me what we can expect?"
"Don't talk to me, I can't concentrate."
"I'm trying my best... But someone has put a lock on the communications protocol and we can't make contact with the surface. But, every once in a while, I've found some communication data that crosses through. If I can release that lock, or...well anyway, we just might be able to get through somehow."
"At least it is better than LeMU, where we had no way of making contact."
"Alright, show me what you got, genius!"
I left You for a while, and went to look at the monitor attached to the capsule pod. Tsugumi came over to stand next to me and looked at the monitor.
"How is Coco doing?"
"She's in 'serious but stable' condition."
According to the monitor, it would be four hours before Coco could leave the pod. The pod was full of high-pressured oxygen. We couldn't take Coco out of there until the time had come.
"We should probably get the Kid into a pod, don't you think?"
"Yeah...let's get it ready."
But for some reason we couldn't get the hatch on the furthest pod to close. It wasn't easy but...I took the dead researcher out of his pod and set him down outside.
Mr. T.Y.... He was dead. He had looked like he was smiling at the very end but... His expression had betrayed his agony after all. It was probably best that Coco hadn't seen her father's dead face. Tsugumi sterilized the pod and finished cleaning up. I shook awake the Kid, who was sleeping in the bed.
"Hey Kid, the pod's ready. Wake up..."
He slowly opened his eyes.
"Sorry to wake you, Kid, but I need you to get in the capsule pod."
He opened his eyes wide at my words.
"What about...everyone else?"
"There's only one pod that we can really use. So you get in."
"Forget it, why should I be the only one to...I can't just abandon everyone!"
"It's not like that, it's about how sick you are. You're the most serious case after Coco."
"Still, forget it. Once I get in the pod, I can't get out for a while, right?"
"No way...I...I want to stay by Coco!"
Getting up out of bed, the Kid staggered quickly over to Coco's pod.
"I'm not moving from here until we know that everyone's getting out!"
He clung to the pod. I thought about trying to pull him off, but he seemed absolutely determined not to move.
"You stupid brat! What the hell are you saying?"
Forgetting my own exhaustion, I began shouting at the Kid.
"Don't you want to escape? If you want to get out, you have to listen to me! If you get any worse... Even if you get in the pod, it might be too late!"
"Listen, there's only one more shot of the serum left!"
I pointed to the orange capsule left on the empty bed.
"What?! Wait, why is there one left?"
All of a sudden, the questions flew.
You turned away from the terminal as well.
Video: Takeshi/TsugumiCure Virus II
TrackTraum In Der Dunkelheit
"What are you talking about..."
"That cartridge is for Coco, right?"
Tsugumi mumbled with her face slightly turned away.
"...So that's it..."
Everyone's gaze finally rested on Tsugumi.
"You know, Tsugumi...I still haven't given you an injection."
Tsugumi mumbled with her eyes averted.
"I had forgotten before; I injected Takeshi and the Kid with a shot. Then I got busy, and then..."
"So, out of four of the shots, we still have one left."
Getting up from the terminal, You spoke acidly.
"How you feeling, Tsugumi?"
"You're not in pain?"
Come to think of it, Tsugumi didn't have any symptoms. She didn't show any signs of the TB Virus. I dredged up Tsugumi's old words from the depths of my memory...
'Highly improved immune system and increased metabolic efficiency. Telomeres that continue to rejuvenate'
(It couldn't be...)
"Tsugumi, I want you to get scanned, right now."
Tsugumi's genetic makeup had been altered by Cure, giving her incredible regenerative powers against illness and injuries. Tsugumi had also been infected with TB, but she'd already been able to make the antibodies and drive out the virus.
Cure...... Tsugumi, had gone beyond the normal human capability... She had mentioned that she was 'special.' Successful cases of genetic manipulation were probably exceedingly rare.
"I found it in LeMU's database... But I'd heard about it before, once... I never would have imagined you're a carrier of the Cure Virus, Tsugumi."
"I don't care if you hate me."
"Hate you? Why would I?"
"Are you scared then? You're scared of me, aren't you, You? You're probably thinking that you don't want anything more to do with me, right?"
"I, I wouldn't think that...!"
You shook her head fiercely.
"Why... Why would you say that?"
Tsugumi bit her lips and said...
"Well, because, I can be here...and I don't have to suffer. It could be that I'm just watching all of you throw up blood, and eventually when you're crawling on the floor, I'll be laughing at you."
"Because I'm just a cruel person like that..."
You couldn't look Tsugumi in the eyes.
"I don't think that you're like that."
Clutching Coco's pod, the Kid spoke up.
"I don't think you're a bad person at all. I mean..."
"You're the one who saved Coco, right? You risked your life to save someone."
"Yeah, so what... To tell you the truth, I regret it now. Coco is suffering from TB now, isn't she?"
"She's stuck in that pod, and she's suffering... If I hadn't had the stupid whim to do that...this wouldn't be happening right now."
The Kid turned away from Tsugumi.
"Tsugumi! Stop it right now!!"
I yelled at her with all of my might. I ran over to her and grabbed her by her collar.
"Are you still talking garbage like that! Saying things you don't really mean!?"
"Stop lying to yourself!!"
"It isn't...a lie. I..."
"It's the truth...the only one who TB isn't affecting is me."
I let go of Tsugumi.
"So how about it Takeshi? Are you ready to accept the truth now...?"
Tsugumi was - probably just pretending - to smile at me.
"Yeah, it is an indisputable fact. Fine. I'll accept it. BUT...."
"You might just help us get better."
"What did you say?"
Just then, Tsugumi's expression became serious.
"Well, I'm not a doctor, so I can't really tell, but Smallpox, penicillin, snake anti-venom.... You're pretty smart, this should make sense to you, right?"
"It's our only chance. You're body is creating antibodies to the Tief Blau Virus, we'll use that. If we can get those antibodies, then there's a small chance we can fight off the Tief Blau."
"It's too dangerous!"
Tsugumi's expression was getting more and more worked up.
"Do you have any idea how hard it is to make antibodies and vaccines that work!?"
"There's almost no chance!! If you make even the slightest mistake, it could kill all of you!"
"If we don't do anything, we're dead anyway!"
She sucked in her breath. Without moving, Tsugumi's expression turned to ice.
You and the Kid, who had been staring at the ground the whole time, raised their heads and looked at me.
"That's right...if we don't do anything we're dead. And if that's the case... It's better that we take this risk, no matter how small our chance of survival....*cough*"
"Damn it, not another nose bleed... A nose bleed AND I'm coughing up blood... I can't believe how lame this is..."
I wiped off my nose and my chin.
"What? You aren't going to laugh at me for being such a dork?"
Video: Takeshi/TsugumiCure Virus III
"Come on, laugh, Tsugumi."
I held out my hand toward her. It was covered in blood.
"Stop it. Stay away from me... Stop...I don't want to..."
Shaking her head fiercely, Tsugumi backed away.
You was moving to stand up, but I lifted a hand signaling her to stop.
"Listen, Takeshi, Tsugumi..."
You opened her mouth to talk, from where she was seated at the terminal.
"There is a simple lab in the back of the examination room. I saw a centrifuge and a machine for refining serum..."
"We could probably use that to safely and quickly extract the Tief Blau antibodies. If this can scan for Tief Blau, it can probably scan for the antibodies and extract them."
She continued to talk in a low, calm voice.
"Tsugumi, please help us. I'm asking you."
"Stay away from me, Takeshi... Don't touch me..."
I had backed her up all the way to the bed.
"You want to live with this disease?"
"Once you've got the Cure Virus, you can't go back! Do you have any idea what you're in for!?"
She couldn't go back any further. Tsugumi searched for the bed behind her with her hand. With the tip of her outstretched hand, she brushed across the only dose of serum left.
"But we don't know that the Cure Virus will infect everyone. Even you, you said you were special, right? Please...I'm begging you. Let me take a gamble...so that everyone can live."
My legs were unsteady. My vision was hazy. But, I stepped forward strongly and stood up straight. I looked deeply into Tsugumi's eyes. I was trying to look inside to see what lay behind them.
"You won't be a normal person anymore!? I don't want everyone to live with the pain that I have!!"
Large tears welled in her eyes.
"I hate myself!! I...!!"
I slapped Tsugumi on the side of her face.
She clenched her jaw tightly against the pain and glared at me. Just then. I pounced on the remaining dose of the serum, stealing it out of Tsugumi's hand. I took it... And... Smashed it into a thousand pieces onto the cold hard surface of the examination room floor!
It let out a sad little sound and splintered into powdery fragments.
"What are you doing!"
"There's no other way. We've only got one option open to us now."
"Do you know what you've done...!?"
"You didn't have to do that... You know I can't fight you...!"
With her lips trembling, and her shoulders shaking, Tsugumi sank down on to the bed.
"Yeah, I know."
"You jerk... You animal... You're a coward..."
She nestled up close to me and began to cry.
"I don't care what you say. I don't care how much you curse me."
"Aaaggh... You fool...you fool.... If, you mess this up...I'll never forgive you, Takeshi..."
"It's okay...it's going to be okay... I promise you.... We're all going to get out of this...okay?"
She raised her voice in a loud wail. She started crying like a small child. She threw away everything that was holding her back and cried with everything she had.
You started operating the terminal... The refining machine whirred to life. The scanner also started to move. Wiping away her tears, she stuck out her arm. You gently took her arm, and drew some blood. The whole time Tsugumi held onto my hand... She continued to cry, letting out sobs occasionally.
I lost all sense of time. It was hard to tell if it was reality, or a dream.
(Am I alive? Or am I dead? Where am I thinking about all of these things?)
"I think it worked... I've prepared the shots... So, next...it's up to you...Tsugumi."
"If... You don't wake up from this... I'll never forgive you... Not as long as I live..."
"Tsugumi, where...are you going?"
"Well, I... I left a friend of mine upstairs."
"I've got to go meet him. My best friend... Djungarian Hamster... His name is Chami..."
Don't worry, this isn't the end. We're only about halfway through this ending and there's some exciting stuff coming up.