Part 57: Kid - First Day - Part 4TrackErsteboden
"You gotta be kidding."
"I can't concur."
"I mean, it doesn't suit you."
"Oh, this is a pain. We'll just call him 'Kid.'"
Just then -
Tsugumi pounded the table and stood up.
"Just what are you trying to do? What are you all thinking?"
"What...we're thinking of a name..."
"Stop goofing off!"
The room went quiet... We all looked at each other.
The first one to open her mouth was You.
"We're not thinking about his feelings at all...we just got a little carried away..."
"That's not what I mean!"
"Well, Tsugumi, what would you suggest that we call him?"
"See? It's tough to think of a name."
"Fine...do what you want."
Tsugumi said this in disgust and left the room.
"What's up with her?"
"Why is she so angry?"
"Takeshi...did you do something to make her mad at you?"
I don't get it. She's been like that since we met..."
"It appears that we should be a little bit careful about how we treat Tsugumi. Let's just be patient. Once she sees that we don't have any ill will or hostile feelings, things will probably resolve themselves..."
I felt as if something was controlling me...
I didn't know where she was heading. I called out to her back.
Tsugumi didn't stop. There was no sign that she would look back.
When I finally caught up with her, I put my hand on her shoulder.
"Don't touch me..."
"Can you please not touch me...?"
Tsugumi stopped walking and said it in a small voice.
Apologizing, I took my hand from her shoulder.
"What? What do you want?"
Forcing this choice, although it isnt important for points towards either path. Between Why are you so angry? and I didnt even introduce myself , were going to be direct and hope she doesnt punch our lights out.
"I wondered....why are you so angry...and..."
I jumped directly to the point.
"Why? Ha, ha. You are funny... You don't know why I am angry?"
"Listen. Cut it out. I've had enough of that. Just drop it..."
"Don't pretend like you don't know. Please..."
"I'm not pretending..."
"I see through you..."
"I know everything. I don't believe it. I never thought that you'd join up with those guys..."
"Those guys? Join up?"
"You were just talking about amnesia, right?"
"So how do you know those guys?"
"We...explained all that just a bit ago... I remember meeting You. Weren't you listening?"
"Don't lie to me!"
Suddenly Tsugumi raised her voice.
"That's stupid... Anyway, I'm not falling for it... Don't you ever talk to me again.... Got it?"
With that, Tsugumi strolled away. I couldn't find the words to stop her. I stared after her shrinking back in silence.
You, Sara, Sora and Takeshi were looking at it and discussing something intensely.
"Hey. What are you talking about?"
"Oh, hey, welcome back, Kid."
"What happened to Tsugumi?"
I shook my head.
"I told you. She's difficult, huh?"
This time I nodded. Tsugumi was difficult for sure. I had no idea what she was thinking. There was no point in prying any more into Tsugumi's situation. I asked them again.
"So? What were you talking about? I mean just now."
"The cause of the current situation..."
"And what steps we...should take from now."
"That's what we were discussing."
"Oh. The cause of the accident and steps to take, huh...? Hey, do you mind filling me in on what you came up with? You can keep it simple."
"Sure. Well then, allow me to explain about the accident one more time."
Saying that Sora touched program image above the table.
'12:45 p.m. - LeMU was suddenly struck by a blackout. The cause is unclear. Immediately after that an emergency evacuation order was issued...The cause of this was unclear as well. In any case, the evacuation of LeMU by visitors and employees was initiated at this point.'
12:54 p.m. - The emergency doors were activated.'
"That is referring to the emergency escape exits connected directly to the floating island. These are located at the very upper part of the emergency stairs. Normally, except under extreme circumstances, this door is not opened..."
"But you're saying that it was opened?"
"What exactly does 'except in extreme circumstances' mean?"
"I'm not sure that I can say for sure, but..."
"In the manual, it is written that - 'In the case of an emergency, it is necessary to temporarily hold visitors in the decompression chamber.'"
"Why? But what if you have to escape in a hurry? Why do you have to stop in the decompression chamber?"
"In order to prevent decompression sickness."
"When there is a sudden decrease in pressure, the nitrogen that has dissolved in a person's blood gasifies and can cause blood clots that interfere with circulation."
"Uh...I'll explain that later...for now let me continue on this topic, alright?"
"Sure... Anyway, what you are saying is that these doors that shouldn't be opened were opened. Is that it?"
"This is only my best educated guess, but..."
"It would appear that probably one of the visitors panicked and in the confusion manually opened the emergency airtight doors. And then the door was not closed, but was left open. Accordingly, the roughly 6 atmosphere mixture of gas inside suddenly was released outside the room."
Sora continued her explanation.
'3:55 p.m. - Water leak occurs.'
"Saturation diving specifications? What's that mean?"
"To equalize the internal air pressure with, or to set it at levels above, the external water pressure, to keep the unit from being crushed by seawater... That is what it means. Do you understand?"
Choice here was I get it/Not really. Kids gonna pick things up quick this time around.
"Yeah, I think I get it."
"Well, then the question becomes why the water leakage..."
"Yeah...that's right... Couldn't it be that... LeMU was made to keep the internal air pressure and external water pressure the same so it won't be crushed, right? But if the air inside completely escaped, and the air pressure dropped to 1 atmosphere... Then wouldn't the pressure of the seawater push in and... Finally, there would be a tear somewhere and seawater would come rushing in..."
"You are almost correct."
"Impressive, Kid. Are you sure you're suffering from amnesia?"
"Huh? Y-yeah...pretty sure..."
"I have nothing left to add. The sudden decrease in air pressure is the major cause of this flood mishap. Subsequently...in order to minimize damage, LeMMIH automatically closed the watertight doors."
"And so we're all trapped in here..."
Takeshi, who had been listening quietly until now, spoke.
"So this here is 1 atmosphere of pressure?"
"Yes that's correct, why do you...?"
"So does that mean that this...voice alternator thing that we're wearing, that we don't need it anymore?"
"No...that... Please...keep...wearing it."
"Why? The helium gas is mostly gone, right?"
Only You remained silent. It looked like she was awkwardly avoiding my gaze.
"A-Anyway...please just don't take them off."
"Why not? What reason is...?"
"The reason...reason is..."
"Well, if Sora says so, that should be good enough. I'm still wearing it and I don't have any problem with it...this voice alternator."
"Well, that's for sure. I had almost forgot I was wearing it..."
"Anyway, more importantly...we should be talking about...'What are we going to do now?'...and talking about our next step...at least that's my opinion..."
"Next step, huh...?"
After that... We crossed our arms, and started brainstorming...but we couldn't come up with even a single good idea. In the end...
"I guess all we can do is wait for help to come..."
Of course, there was no reason to expect a differing opinion.
Sora had said that she was going to try to 'think of a plan' and went back to the Control Room. The remaining four of us didn't have anything to say or do and continued to wait for contact or help from the outside.
"Tsugumi hasn't come back..."
Sara muttered this.
"I wonder if it is good to leave her alone like this..."
"I don't think there is anything good about it..."
"Hey, Kid. You followed after Tsugumi a bit ago, right?"
"She didn't say where she was going or anything?"
"Nope, she didn't mention anything."
"Oh well... You want to look for her?"
As if You's words were a sign, I stood up.
"Huh? Why the Control Room?"
"You don't remember?"
"When we gathered in the Control Room before, Sora said something, right? By searching for the life readings or bio signs of such and such..."
"She said that?"
"Yup, she for sure did say that. Weren't you listening?"
"I thought I was, but..."
"So why don't we do a bio scan for life?"
"We'll probably know where Tsugumi is right away."
Bio scan. It seemed like one difficult word after another was being thrown at me. I wondered if this was part of amnesia. There were so many words and phenomena and systems and stuff here that I was at a loss.
Without thinking I let go a sigh. Incidentally, there was another thing that I had not been able to understand. Somewhere along the line everyone had taken to calling me 'Kid.' That random decision-making process to find a consensus on my name had ended up with me being called 'Kid.' Well it was better than 'John Mitochondria' anyway. But still it was all hard for me to understand.
I sighed again and shaking my head followed everyone into the Control Room.
Sora tilted her head, looking at us quizzically as we shuffled into the room.
"Well, we just didn't think we could leave Tsugumi alone like this..."
"Yeah. So we thought if we could get you to do another bio scan..."
"Oh, I see. So that's it."
"You want me to investigate the location of Tsugumi then? Please wait a moment..."
A map of LeMU was displayed on the monitor. It enlarged and reduced in size, slid, spun...the image switched and changed in a dizzying way.
"Uh, Sora. Will you really know where Tsugumi is just by running a bio search for her?"
"Yes. Humans are homeothermic animals meaning that they constantly maintain a temperature of around 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. That body temperature can be detected using infrared radiation. Via this technique we can affirm the location and number of humans in the LeMU complex..."
"See, there it is."
See that uncertain bit of light in Zweite stock.
"There's no mistake. That's Tsugumi."
Below that in a room in Dritte stock there were also a number of light-emitting points overlapping. I figured that was probably the Control Room.
(...Huh? What is...?)
Just then I noticed something strange. In a corner of the monitor 'Life readings: 7' was displayed in small letters.
"What is it?"
"Isn't there something strange about this number? See..."
I pointed to the corner of the monitor.
Nein nein nein!? I am so, so sorry.
There should have been a total of six people trapped in LeMU - You, Sara, Sora, Tsugumi, Takeshi and me. Yet, the main computer LeMMIH was indicating that there were seven people.
"What...what in the world...?"
'Life readings: 5'
'Life readings: 7'
'Life readings: 6'
The numbers changed by the second. And always the number '6' plus or minus one.
"Why? Why is this happening...?"
Flustered and out of character, Sora was busily operating the console. But...the numbers continued to fluctuate and there was no sign that they would stop. I shifted my eyes to the points of light on the map. Even if the life reading numbers changed, the points of light didn't increase or decrease.
"That would mean that there is another person here that didn't get out in time!"
"Yeah, assuming that seven is the right number..."
"Hold on everybody... Calm down..."
Finally... It stopped on the number '6.'
'Life readings: 6'
"It's probably broken or something."
"No...no, it shouldn't be..."
"Anyway, it looks like it settled on six...so that's probably the right number. Right?"
"Thinking about it, it's hard to imagine anyone else is here..."
"'But' what Kid? We looked all over LeMU. And we didn't meet anyone."
"That's true, but..."
"Well, either way, it's something we can solve by walking around the complex, right?"
"But more important is securing Tsugumi!"
"Securing? You mean saving?"
"Saving is removing an object from danger. Securing is removing danger itself."
"Is Tsugumi...really that dangerous?"
"Oh, that's right. I haven't told Sara, You and all about everything and that crazy girl, have I?"
"Alright. It's time to think of a way of securing Tsugumi. Are you ready?"
Only Sora remained in the Control Room, thinking of ways to escape, trying to re-establish communications, rechecking the complex, and trying to get other systems that were down back online.
And when we did, a voice came from the speaker above the corridor.
"Right now, Tsugumi...seems to be in the Security Office."
I figured Sora was using the complex intercom system to announce Tsugumi's location.
"Got it. The Security Office, huh?"
Takeshi said this toward the ceiling. On the way to the office... You said -
"Hey, Takeshi, I've got an idea..."
"I think this kinda thing is, well, better with just girls."
"I think just Mayo and I should go. That way it might be easier to talk to Tsugumi... Mayo, you're okay with that, yeah?"
"Sure, I'm fine with that."
"Why can't Takeshi and I come along?"
"This kinda thing gets messy when there are guys around."
"Four against one triggers fear, you know? Fight or flight reactions."
"That and...let's call it female intuition."
"I've gotta hunch that Mayo and I can fix this misunderstanding."
"That's what it is, isn't it? We haven't done anything to make her angry, so..."
"That's true. It might be better to just let the two girls go, instead of going in a group."
For some reason, I didn't have any confidence in my ability to get Tsugumi to open up to us, and I was sure that type of thing wasn't one of Takeshi's strong points either.
"Then, I guess we'll leave it up to you."
Takeshi and I were left in the middle of the corridor...
"What do you say?"
"Wanna wait in front of the Security Office?"
"I don't think that would accomplish anything, but..."
"I don't know..."
"For now, we could take a look around."
"I've had enough of that."
"Well I haven't."
"You, Sara and I walked so much that we just about wore holes in our shoes. Zweite stock and Dritte stock - everything."
"In that case, why don't we give the merry-go-round a shot?"
"I don't know. Two guys on the merry-go-round sounds kinda..."
"Well anyway, I've decided to take a look around inside LeMU. I'm the kind of guy that just has to see things with his own two eyes."
We agreed to meet up at 9:30 p.m. We were to meet in front of the Security Office.
"Erste boden, Zweite stock, Dritte stock... There are 17 meters between each floor. If you go down a floor, then you go 17 meters or 51 feet deeper. Thus, the third floor, Dritte stock, is located at 51 meters or 103 feet depth."
With all of this time on my hands, I visited Sora in the Control Room. Sora politely and in an easy to understand way explained to me about LeMU which I knew almost nothing.
"Outside of Dritte is a total of 6 atmospheres of pressure, 5 atmospheres water pressure and 1 atmosphere air pressure. Even if hypothetically, you were to suddenly go out into the ocean from Dritte... Your lungs would be crushed to about one-sixth of their size, and approximately five-sixth of your lungs would be flooded. You would likely die in a matter of minutes."
"Uh, can I ask a question?"
"How much pressure exactly is 5 atmospheres of water pressure? It is hard to imagine..."
"1 atmosphere is one kilogram of weight per square centimeter. The difference in pressure inside and outside of LeMU is 5 atmospheres, or a multiple of five. Please think of it as five kilograms or around 11 pounds of weight per square inch."
"Five kilograms of weight per square inch... So for each meter it would be 100 times 100 or... Fifty tons!?"
"B-but...What about those people that skin dive? They can dive to depths of about 90 feet, right?"
"The current world record for free diving is 150 meters or around 450 feet. With an aqualung and pauses along the way, probably just about anyone could dive around 105 feet. However, the air sent to your lungs would be highly pressurized gas. But with skin diving, they don't stop to breathe along the way. Amateurs can't make it past 65 feet. Any deeper than that requires intensive training."
"Wow. Is that right...?"
"And there is one other important thing. Even if you can withstand the water pressure... Could you really swim the 167 feet to the surface?"
"51 meters? How high is that...51 meters?"
"Imagine a 15-story building. Or five three-story school buildings stacked upon each other."
"Five schools stacked... No way. I couldn't swim that."
"Well, then how about a building with 10 stories? A depth of 34 meters or just over 100 feet...that is the depth of Zweite stock."
"34 meters, huh?"