Part 55: Kid - First Day - Part 2TrackZweitestock
This image has not been doctored and after checking, it turns out that I did install the typo patch correctly.
"Alright then. I'll tell you."
"You just were talking about how the watertight doors started closing all of the sudden, right?"
"That means that the doors closed automatically..."
"LeMMIH detected flooding and automatically shut the doors in the areas that were in danger."
"That's what we call the main computer that supervises and manages all of the electronic systems in LeMU."
"So what? So probably this..."
You knocked on the steel door with her lightly closed fist.
"This...was probably closed by 'LeMMIH' as well."
"I see... So in other words, the other side of this door is flooded with water."
She had been right. It really wasn't something I had wanted to hear. If the door were simply locked, all we had to do was find a way to open it and we could climb up to freedom. But if the other side was full of seawater, then... Thinking beyond that was no fun.
"So what do we do now?"
"So we check out the other emergency stairs..."
"That's all we can do, right?"
You said it with a sigh and started heading down the stairs.
We tried two emergency sets of stairs in the area, but both were a waste of effort. They were shut off by thick partitions, making it impossible to climb up to Zweite stock. According to You there were a total of 12 emergency stairs in LeMU. Three of those were closed off, so that left nine. You and I walked around emergency corridors searching for those nine. But...
The watertight doors were completely shut and there was no way we were getting them open manually. We gave up and headed out into the normal corridors, to see if we could work our way around using them. And still...
Inside the sprawling LeMU complex, there was a web of several dozen corridors. We investigated each, only finding closed doors everywhere. It seemed hopeless. Both the normal corridors and the emergency corridors were sealed . All were blocked off. The only thing left for us to try was...
"It looks like the only thing left is to go down a floor..."
Thankfully, one-third of the remaining three stairways were still operating. Which meant that even if there was no going up, we could still go down. You and I wound around and around the spiral stairwell until we reached Dritte stock (three floors underwater.)
I muttered this without thinking when we reached the floor. As far as I could see, the floor was a sheet of water that had flooded in... It was about up to my ankles.
"There's water flooding in from somewhere else!"
"No, I don't think so. The water's not moving, is it?"
Now that she mentioned it, there was not even a ripple on the water's surface. There was no evidence that the water level was increasing. I looked around to be sure, but there weren't any signs that water was leaking from anywhere.
"Well then, what is this...?"
"This must be from the water that washed us away earlier. I figure the seawater that pooled on Zweite stock flowed down here. Maybe via the emergency stairs, or a vent... I don't know how, but somehow it flowed down here."
"Hey, you remember that saying? About how water flows downhill...?"
The room's massive ancient remains were steeped in water, making it seem just like the seafloor had risen up. As You and I looked around the wide room our legs splashed water all over. Our drenched clothes were drying so we didn't really feel the cold. The water on the floor was not as cold as I'd expected. But somehow walking in the water in shoes was, well, unpleasant.
Bam, bam, bam, bam, bam...
Bam, bam, bam, bam, bam...
"Hey, did you hear something just now?"
We stopped and listened.
Bam, bam, bam, bam, bam...
Bam, bam, bam, bam, bam...
Somebody was hitting something. Somewhere nearby...
"There are other people here..."
"Other people that were left behind!"
We ran at full speed in the direction of the sound.
Well, theres an unfamiliar voice.
Aaaaand this is the painfully familiar voice of Coco. Sounds like shes got company this time.
"Is there anybody there?"
The video linked above covers this section. Its clearly Cocos voice along with someone elses.
Two girl's voices could be heard from within the elevator.
You and I looked at each other and nodded.
"Hold on just a little longer! We're going to open the door for you!"
"Alright! Oh good! I was so worried that no one would come."
The voice from inside sounded well. It didn't sound injured or weak.
Or painfully squeaky!
"Still, how are we going to open this?"
You placed both of her hands on the door and pushed left and right.
"Uggggh! Oh! Why do we keep running into problems like this?"
"Won't it open?"
"If you were paying attention, you'd be able to tell! You give it a try!"
I switched places with You and reached out to try to open the door.
It didn't budge.
"Come on! Put some power into it!"
I tried to put my fingers in the crack in the door, but my fingernails just barely squeezed in and there was nothing happening there.
Blood started oozing from the nail of my index finger. But it was the digit next to that that caught my eye. The thumb on my left hand.
I noticed a distinct mark on it. On the meaty part of the thumb was a deep scar about a half-inch long. I wondered if I had had it for long. The mouth of the cut was swollen and milky-white colored.
"Are you alright?"
Her question brought me back to reality.
"Oh, my! You're bleeding. Let me see."
You grabbed my left hand. I suddenly bent my thumb under, hiding the scar. For some reason I didn't want her to see it. You took an adhesive bandage from her pocket and put it on the bloody finger.
"I swear, you need so much looking after."
My finger smelled faintly sweet.
"Uh, the door still won't open?"
"But it seems there is someone that needs even more looking after than you do..."
"What should we do...?"
"...Oh, that's right."
You muttered... She searched around in her pocket for something. And she took out a...
"Drum roll please! Rat-tat-tat-tat-tat. Ta-da. A marker!"
It was just felt-tipped pen.
"See this? You take it like this... then do this... around and around and around..."
As she said this, You screwed the capped end into the space between the doors. A gap appeared.
I jabbed my finger into open space gap and started forcing the door open. The box inside (the part where people ride) was stuck right before arriving at Dritte stock. Above the door, jutting out some 20 inches or so was the lower bit of the elevator box. It was at a height where if I stretched my hand out completely, it would just reach. If we could get the box open, then it seemed possible to pull the people trapped inside over to our side.
You's one word said it all. As she implied, I stood in front of her and spread my legs, bracing myself.
"Hey! Why do I have to lift you up?"
"I meant the opposite way around... In this type of situation, it is the stronger person that is on the bottom, right?"
I went around behind You, wordlessly squatting down. You was wearing a skirt after all.
(One reason I tried to be on top was I thought I would save her the embarrassment...)
As I was thinking that, You straddled my head with her legs. I put both my hands on my knees, supporting myself, and stood up all at once. Her soft thighs hugged against my head. She was flush against the back of my neck. It was a bit nice...
"Wait! Hold on! We're almost there!"
You took the marker and started prying it between the doors again. She stuck her finger in the gap. And then she opened the door with a flourish.
With You on my shoulders, I looked up. A girl in a uniform was peeking down.
I don't know why, but all three of us exclaimed at once.
Severe lights went off in my mind and I heard the sound of something snapping. I was suddenly dizzy. I lost my sense of balance and swayed forward and back.
I couldn't take any more...
I fell to the floor like a marionette with its strings snipped.
"Why'd you fall like that? You could have hurt someone!"
"Geez. Lazy. Kids these days are so lazy..."
I was lying on my back looking at the ceiling. The lights were shining down brightly.
The girls... The girls were pointing at me and laughing. Their innocent faces were enveloped in celestial-like light. Just like a couple of angels...staring down from heaven.
"Hey, are you alright?"
I didn't know why... It was a bizarre sense of something-like déjà vu-that came welling up in my mind. I felt like I had seen this all before. The angelic smiling faces somehow made me feel nostalgic... Like it was a fragment of some familiar everyday scenery... I couldn't explain it, but somehow I had that vague sense about things.
"Huh? Why is the floor all wet? Did a water pipe burst?"
(Oh, they don't know because they've been stuck in the elevator.)
As I was about to answer, the girl cut me off.
"But that's so important as..."
The girl said this as she descended from the elevator, patting her clothes back into place.
"I should be asking you that! Mayo, what are you doing here?"
Mayo? The girl's name was Mayo?
"Whaddya mean? If you'd take a look at my outfit you'd know."
"You're on a school trip?"
"That's for seniors."
"Oh. Right...Mayo, you're still a junior, yeah?"
"So what then?"
"Have you forgotten everything about your old high school already?"
"Volunteer activities! At Kyumeikan, juniors are supposed to go out and volunteer somewhere, right? Nakkyu, you just graduated this year so you've gotta remember, right?"
"Oh, that's rightthe volunteer program! The Civil Service Volunteer Program."
"Well...that was the official name, but it was really just a glorified field trip. It's still the same old deal, I bet. The girls go 'help' out at LeMU for a day, or something stupid like that."
"You got it."
"When I was there we went to United Land...but I guess they changed it to LeMU, huh?"
"You didn't see any other students, did you Nakkyu? The whole Kyumeikan junior class should be here."
"No. I didn't see anyone."
I grabbed on to the entrance of the box and used my momentum to pull myself up. It was empty inside.
(I thought I heard two girls inside... I wonder if my mind was playing tricks on me.)
"Hey? What are you doing?"
You asked me this when I returned to the ground.
The choice here was Ask You/Dont Ask, but the update would have been much shorter, so I pressed ahead.
"Well, before...didn't you hear two voices?"
You shot the question right back at me and then looked back at Mayo.
"No. It's just me. Nobody else..."
"I see... I guess it was just my mind playing tricks on me..."
Mayo would glance at me from time to time, but when our eyes met, she would look away.
"Uhh...um...Nakkyu? Who's this...?"
"Huh? Oh, this guy? He's...just a visitor. We just met a while ago...but, you know, a lot has happened since then."
"Nice to meet you."
There was something a little off about Mayo's greeting.
"And this is Mayo. She goes to my old high school."
"Nice to meet you, too."
But then again, my words were pretty stiff as well.
"But her real name is Sara Matsunaga..."
"Sara? So, why Mayo?"
"Matsunaga Sara. Tuna Sara. A tuna salad is loaded with...?"
"Mayonnaise...at least for Nakkyu it is."
"Ha. I see."
I said that, but I still didn't really get it. I had the feeling that simple salad dressing was better suited to tuna salad. Well, whatever. It wasn't important.
"By the way...um...your name is...?"
"Yeah. Your name."
"My...my...my name is..."
"He says he can't remember."
"Amnesia, that's what."
"Oh, wow. Cool."
"That's kind of cool, isn't it? I mean, like, amnesia. It sounds kind of like an international man of mystery, kind of thing."
"Like, maybe...you could be being hunted by an underground organization or assassins or something."
"Assassins... I...I wouldn't kill anybody!"
"I keep trying to tell you not to take things so seriously."
"You really do have it? That amnesia thing."
Sara kept staring at me as if I were something exotic. Like I were an angel... Replete with a set of wings on my back. The divine and nostalgic feeling from before had vanished like an illusion.
It goes without saying, but Sara couldn't hide her surprise at the transformation the complex had undergone.
"What's this? Why is this whole place flooded?"
"And there doesn't seem to be anyone around..."
While we walked, You brought Sara up to speed with the situation, while walking next to her. She told her that You herself was working at LeMU. How I had collapsed in by the kiosk. How after falling down, I was hauled to the infirmary. After finishing the story, You went on.
"And then, you know, suddenly the alarm started ringing..."
"What? I didn't tell you about this yet?"
"While you were out, they rang the emergency evacuation alarm. I don't know the why...but it said: 'Anyway, everyone please escape,' or something like that."
"Mayo, you heard it, right?"
"Yes. Suddenly the elevator stopped...and I got stuck inside..."
I think you mean on top. What the hell were you doing up there anyway?
"I think it was right after that when I heard the alarm."
"And then there were three other staffers and myself in the infirmary... The other three said they would go out to check what was going on and never came back. I waited, but nobody returned. The only two people left in the room were me and you..."
"I couldn't just abandon you there..."
"And at that point, I wasn't really even that worried. I figured probably some kid had just gone and pushed the emergency alarm button...that was all I thought was going on."
"I figured, even with a prank, it must be serious for them to sound the emergency evacuation warning..."
"Well, now that you mention it I suppose so... But at that time I was just, I don't know... I was worried about this kid..."
"You were worried about me?"
"And? Then what happened?"
The closing of the watertight doors. Our search for the emergency stairs to the floating island. And of course, You also told Sara about how we got washed away by flood water.
I, You and Sara did a complete check of Drittestock's corridors. But...
Was in front of a small door at the end of a narrow corridor. In the middle the word 'Himmel' was engraved.
"What is this...?"
"Hmmm. Good question. This is the first time I've been here..."
Saying that, You took hold of the door knob. It didn't open... It didn't even budge. Next she started tapping randomly on the ten-key display next to the door. You should have known that it was a waste of energy...
"Haaaaaa.... So this is the end..."
You punctuated this with a sigh.
"The end...you mean we're..."
"Yup... It looks like we're locked in..."
You weakly kicked the door. Following the sound, we went silent. The atmosphere around us was heavy. Both You and Sara wore tired expressions as if they couldn't even be bothered to speak anymore. It was a gloomy silence. To try to lighten things up, I said -
"Hey, anyway it doesn't do us any good to just stand around here! We've gotta think of something!"
"A way to escape!"
"You have any bright ideas?"
"Well, let's see...how about..."