Part 58: Kid - First Day - Part 5TrackHologramm
"What? You'd have to swim it, you know. This isn't walking or running."
"But...34 meters or 102 feet...that is like right over there... Well I would float...actually I think it would be easier than climbing the distance on land."
"You don't have any idea how severe water pressure is at 34 meters depth, do you Kid?"
"Huh? N-now hold on just a minute... Just a second ago...you were talking about even if one could endure the water pressure."
"That type of hypothetical talk is meaningless. You can't discuss this problem without water pressure."
"But, Sora, you said..."
"Listen. Try to imagine it just one more time. You are 102 feet deep...could you swim to the top of a 10 floor building?"
There was a severe edge to Sora's way of putting it. I felt like there was something of a warning contained within her words.
"...S-Sora, you don't... You don't really think that I would try to break out of Zweite stock and swim to freedom, do you?"
"You wouldn't, would you?"
"Ha,ha,ha. No way. Why would I do anything that reckless and crazy?"
"Well, I should hope not..."
"It's fine. I understand. Right now all we can do is patiently wait for help...right?"
Saying that, Sora gave a big nod.
I left the Control Room and headed toward the meeting point - in front of the Security Office. But...
I tried to call out to him, but there was no reply. Glancing at the Security Office, I noticed that the door was wide open. I decided to take a peek in the room.
Not You, Sara, nor Tsugumi.
"Hey Sora! Sora, everybody? Where are you?"
I looked up at the bare ceiling and called out. I figured Sora would be in the Control Room monitoring me. But apparently she wasn't... There were no sounds from the speakers on the ceiling.
I thought as I wandered walking through the corridors.
Theres another series of places to explore via prompt at this point. Im glad to say this version is at least a bit more interesting than the one on Takeshis path.
Several dozen dolphins were connected in a circle. There were no horses. No carriages. There were no children's voices. And the blue ocean was just one paneling of wall away... We were all trapped in this place... Thinking this, it was hard to believe that the scenery spreading before me was reality.
(What...what am I doing here...?)
That thought popped into my mind. What I was experiencing right now seemed much more bizarre to me than the fact that I'd lost my memory. In other words, my doubts about the past were less than my sense of unease about the present. I was overcome by a sense that my existence was floating away.
"Hey, Kid. Are you spacing out there?"
You was peeking out at me from the shadow of a rock.
"Uh, not exactly..."
"That reminds me, so how were things with Tsugumi?"
"In a nutshell, it was like we whiffed."
"What do you mean?"
"We started with light conversation about how old she was, where she lived, if she was hungry. We were biding our time waiting for the right pitch. Ultimately...Mayo asked her straight out 'Why are you so mad?'..."
"And? What did she say?"
"I said we whiffed, right?"
"It was like we waited and waited for a good pitch. But we didn't get anything so we swung."
"So it was a big zero?"
"I don't know if it was a zero. But we sure didn't hit a home run. All we can do is wait for her to get careless and throw the right pitch."
And get her out...
No, get a hit.
"I just wanted to get a sense...to feel what she is all about. Reasons aside, there is just something not pleasant about being disliked."
Saying that, You started walking. She got on the platform of the merry-go-round and petted the fin of a dolphin. I followed after You and jumped on the back of a dolphin.
"Kid, incidentally, what were you doing here?"
"I was looking for everyone. When I went to the Security Office, nobody was there... What about you, You? What were you doing?"
"I was just hanging around this area, near the merry-go-round."
"I just wanted to be alone, so..."
You cast a lonely look at the dolphin as she patted its smooth skin.
"Hey. Why doesn't this dolphin move?"
"Probably because it's not turned on. There should be an operating panel around somewhere."
"You think if we turn it on, then the dolphin will move?"
"And swim in the ocean and catch fish and stuff?
"I was just thinking... Because inside LeMU there are dolphins and whales and fish and clams and octopus. There are even jellyfish and sea anemones, but... But none of them are real living creatures."
"Of course not. They were all made by people..."
"For example, deep in a forest it would be harder to find something that is not alive than something that is, right? There are trees and grass, birds and bugs, soil and little living creatures inside of it. Everything is alive."
"But how about here? The only thing that is alive in this vast space is us. And they call this an underwater paradise? A 'Utopia'? So in this 'Utopia' living things are outnumbered by nonliving things. Which in a way means we are... We are 'intruders' in this world of the dead."
You petted the dolphin. The dolphin's deformed, plastic smile didn't move at all. A steel rod was stuck into its belly.
"Do you hate LeMU, You?"
"Well... It's hard to say... It's not that I like or dislike it..."
"But you liked it enough to start working here, right?"
"No? You didn't?"
"Well, then why...?"
With my question, You tilted her head. Then she just clammed up and started wandering around one of the dolphins. Finally her feet stopped and You quietly faced me.
"I'm looking for something important."
"A clue about my father."
"Actually, my father worked in the Research and Development Division of LeMU."
"Research and development?"
"I don't know the details... It seems like my father made the LeMMIH program."
"LeMMIH...LeMMIH? Wasn't that LeMU's central computer?"
"Of course, he didn't do it alone. He was one of the members involved in developing the project."
"Huh? Is that so...? But what did you mean by clue?"
"My father...disappeared one day."
"He just went missing..."
"He has been missing as long as I can remember... It was when I was one year old, 17 years ago..."
"So you don't remember...your father?"
"No... I've only seen pictures and movies of him... I don't really have any memories... Everything I just told you I heard from my mother..."
"But why? Why did he disappear?"
"If I knew that, I wouldn't have come here."
"What do you mean?"
"The last time my father was seen was in LeMU. So I thought that if I came here maybe I would find some clue about my father... It seems like my mom has already given up, so I can't count on her..."
"My mom has convinced herself that my dad is dead..."
The word 'dead' had a heavy ring to it. You looked straight at me as her eyes watered.
"I believe! I believe that he is alive somewhere! He has to be!"
"My father just went missing...and his remains were never found...!"
I couldn't find any words. I didn't know what to say to her. She might have been waiting for me say something like: 'You're right! He's probably alive somewhere!' But I couldn't say it. I just nodded and couldn't even look back into her eyes.
I thought I would go somewhere else.
"What's up? Any progress?"
"Unfortunately, no... It appears that even LeMMIH is not able to accurately gauge the situation. This is...it is something that would normally be unthinkable."
"Oh, that reminds me. Sora, did you know...?"
"Know? Know what?"
"That You's father made LeMMIH."
"Huh? Is that right? That's...news to me."
"Of course, he didn't make it all by himself. She said her dad was a member of the development project team."
"Is that right...?"
"That's very interesting."
"By the way.... Why is LeMMIH called LeMMIH?"
"Oh, haven't I told you?"
"No. I haven't heard..."
LeMMIH's proper name is... 'Leiblich Medizin:Multiverfahren Intelligent Hirn System.'
"Uh...what was that? Can you give it to me one more time?"
"'Leiblich Medizin:Multiverfahren Intelligent Hirn System.'
"What language is that?"
"What does it mean?"
"The first part, Leiblich Medizin, indicates the name of a pharmaceutical company. The bit after that means something along the lines of 'parallel processing artificial intelligence system.' The first letter of each word created the acronym 'LeMMIH' so they called the system 'LeMMIH'."
"Uh-huh.... I see. Hey, there are two things I wanted to ask you..."
"What might they be?"
"That Leibl...,uh...what was it again?"
"'Leiblich Medizin'...In Japan it is known as Leiblich Pharmaceuticals."
"So what is the relationship between Leiblich and LeMU?"
"The company managing this theme park is called LeMU. And the largest stockholder is Leiblich Medicine."
"I see... So essentially I guess that Leiblich has the right to say whatever happens at LeMU."
"I suppose that is a reasonable interpretation. The origin of the name of this theme park... The official line is that it was named after the phantom or lost continent Lemuria. But actually I've heard that it's just a combination of the first letters of 'Leiblich Medizin' and 'Utopie.' 'Utopie' means utopia. In other words, Leiblich created this place to be a dream-like utopia... So that is why they named it that."
"A utopia, huh...?"
"And what was your second question?"
"Uh, well... It's about German..."
"Yeah. You just said that LeMMIH's official name is German, right? And all around LeMU are these German signs and stuff... I just...I wondered why German..."
"That's because Leiblich Pharmaceutical is a joint venture between a Japanese and a German company. It's headquarters are in Frankfurt and the majority of officials are German."
"So that's why it's all in German... So Leiblich Pharmaceutical had a pretty strong relationship with LeMU then?"
"Since I'm asking, can I ask one more thing?"
"Why did Leiblich Pharmaceutical want to run a theme park anyhow? I mean, we're talking about Leiblich Pharmaceutical. They make medicine , right? That doesn't seem to have anything to do with a theme park. And, and this is right in the middle of the ocean, right? Why go to all of the trouble of..."
"Because... Because... I'm sorry. I can't answer that question."
"It is confidential information."
"Confidential? Ha, ha. What in the... Who could I possibly tell?"
"I can't imagine that a 'kid' like me finding out could cause any damage."
"You really can't even tell little old me?"
Sora had gone quiet and wasn't answering.
"Okay. I understand. We'll just forget about it..."
"I'm really sorry."
"It's alright. You don't have to apologize... You have to keep the secret as part of your job, right? There's nothing you can do about it..."
"Alright. I'll tell you one thing."
"LeMu does not rely on energy provided from the outside, but generates all of its energy in this complex. And directly under us at a depth of 119 meters or 357 feet is the seafloor..."
"There is a thermal vent on the surface of the sea floor, where water several hundred degrees is pumped out and heat from that is used to operate generators."
I waited for the rest of the explanation. But Sora didn't say anything more.
"And? What does that have to do with what we were just talking about?"
Sora let the question go...
"Do you mind if I get back to work?"
"Oh? Uh...sorry to bother you."
I gave up and left.
Why would they build a theme park here? And what could it have to do with the fact that they generated their own energy...? I left with this mystery spinning in my mind. I thought I would go somewhere else.
I was surprised upon returning to the Security Office. Takeshi was there.
(I wonder what he is up to...)
He had both hands on the operating panel and was staring into the monitor intently. I was about to call out to him... But I hesitated. The gaze that Takeshi had leveled on the monitor... It was so intense that it made my spine tingle... He had the eyes of a hawk scouring the horizon for prey.
I finally got out the words. Takeshi slowly looked back at me.
"Hey, Kid, you finally made it. I'm beat from waiting."
The look on Takeshi's face was his normal old goofy expression. I felt relieved.
"What were you doing? You looked so intense it was scary."
"Yeah. Just now. You looked scary."
"That's kind of rude. What's so scary about my face?"
"It's different now, but before it was scary."
"Then how about you show me how scary it was?"
"Huh? Uh...um... I think your face was kind of like this...glaring at the monitor..."
I tried to mimic how Takeshi had looked by using my fingers to pull up both of my eyes.
"GA, HA,HA,HA...That? That's not scary at all."
"Don't try to pretend it was nothing!"
"Oh, sorry, sorry. I..."
"...I was looking for you."
"Because you didn't show up forever. I thought I'd call you on the complex intercom system."
"I figured you were probably lost somewhere and crying yourself silly..."
"What are you talking about? I was about to say the same thing to you! You weren't here at the time we set up. Where have you been until now?"
"Stupid! You're the one that wasn't here, right? You're totally late."
"Oh...sorry..about that. B-but you could have waited a little longer."
"Hey, I'm a busy guy. I'm not here to look after you."
"Yup. I'm horribly busy."
"Liar. Until a while ago we were wasting time together."
"Can we stop this meaningless conversation?"
"Y...yeah. It is kind of stupid."
We both laughed wryly. That dissolved any tension that was in the atmosphere. I didn't get it... But at some point I had began to feel comfortable with him. I thought there was something about him...something like me maybe...
"So how's your condition coming along? Any changes?"
Saying that Takeshi sat down in a chair. His eyes were at the same height as mine.
"Any changes...you mean my memory?"
Takeshi nodded. I shook my head.
"Well, don't force it. It's like Sora said. Memory loss can heal at just the slightest thing."
"Easy for you to say. It's not your problem..."
"Sure. It's not my problem."
"You say it like you've seen it happen."
"Well, I've been around the block a few times."
"Sure, sure...tell me about it. And?"
I didn't feel like prying.
"Well, for now...why don't you just try to remember things starting with stuff familiar to you? Yeah, things like your birthday..."
"Huh? What's wrong?"
"Hey, what year is it?"
"You forgot that, too?"
"It's two thousand..."
"...Uh, what year IS it?"
Saying that Takeshi fished his entrance ticket stub from his pocket...
"Oh, that's right. It's 2017."
Takeshi crumpled the stub back up and pushed it back into his pocket.
"Is there something about it?"
"Yeah, kind of."
"I thought that if I heard the year then I might be able to remember at least my birthday."
"I see. Come to think of it, you don't even know how old you are, huh?"
"By the looks of it, I'd say you're not a day over 42."
"HA, HA, HA. I'm kidding! Relax!"
"There's no way. You're probably in the neighborhood of 14 or 15. If you are 18, then you've got a baby face."
"14 or 15, huh...?"
I muttered this.
"Well, I'm getting out of here. Actually, I haven't finished looking around."
"Oh, hey, Takeshi! It seems like everybody is scattered all over right now..."
"Yeah? We'll have to arrange to meet somewhere sooner or later."
"I think the Conference Room would be good."
"Got it. If I see the others, then I'll give em' the word."
Takeshi left. I also decided to go somewhere else.
Tsugumi was there. Her back was to me and she was looking at the entrance. I called out to her loudly.
"Want to ride the gondola?"
Tsugumi turned to look at me. But she immediately turned on her heel and walked away.
"Wait a minute..."
"I already told you."
"I said don't ever talk to me again."
Tsugumi started walking again.
"Hey! I said wait!"
"What is it? You are so irritating!"
"You met You and Sara, right?"
"Why didn't you listen to them?"
"It's none of your business..."
"Is that why you stopped me?"
"No... The real reason is something else..."
"Before you said something about 'those guys' or something, right? What...did you mean by that?"
Tsugumi stared at me intently. She narrowed her eyes almost as if appraising me. Intimidated by her intense glare, my body stiffened and I swallowed.
"What is with you...?"
"I don't know. I wish I did know..."
"Fine. Well, if you aren't lying...then I'll warn you about one thing."
"Those guys...they are probably using you."
"U...using me? So...so who do you mean when you say those guys?"
"I can't say more than that. I still don't trust you 100 percent yet."
"And I don't want you trusting me either..."
"Anyway, look after yourself. If something happens, I'm not going to help you..."
Saying only that, Tsugumi turned and left. Having no idea what had just happened, I simply stood there.
(I don't expect anybody is here, but... What's that?)
The watertight door at the entrance was slightly open. I was sure it was closed when I had come by here with You and everyone.
"Is anyone there?"
I softly opened the door.
Yaaay, new music!
Sara was inside. She was sitting on top of a pile of boxes. I didn't know if I'd surprised her, but her face seemed to stiffen.
"Oh, Kid...don't scare me like that."
After shooting me a slight glare, Sara stuck her hands in her pockets and dropped to the floor.
"But what are you doing here?"
"Huh? Oh...I just wanted some time alone."
(You had said almost the same thing...)
"What happened with Tsugumi?"
"Well, you seem pretty down..."
"In the end, she didn't tell us anything. We were just running in circles...and it wore me out..."
Feminine intuition aside, not even the two girls had been able to get through to her. Even though there was no apparent reason for Tsugumi to hold a grudge... What could Tsugumi have been so angry with us about?
I noticed a sound. I looked for the source of the sound. Someone was crossing the corridor where it came to a T up ahead. A girl!? It was a girl that I had never seen before. I followed after her as if I were being pulled in by her.
"Hey! Hey! Wait! You there!"
I carefully went deeper into the room. There I noticed a square space cut out. I peeked inside. Down below a small lift was stopped. It looked like there was another room directly below the infirmary. I pushed the button calling the lift and hopped in.
I was at a loss for words. I didn't know where to start.
She just stared at me.
TrackTraum In Der Dunkelheit
"It's..al-alright... Don't worry...everything is alright..."
She didn't answer.
"Uh...um... Anyway, let's go where everybody else is!"
"Yeah, it's not just me. There are lots of other people..."
"Help?...Did you come to help?"
"There is...no way out anymore..."
The girl's eyes were sad and moist.
"Why do you say that? We'll be fine! A rescue team should be here any time!"
"It's not a lie! The people that escaped know that we're here... Someone will come for sure!"
"Why do you say that?"
I followed her gaze.
...to the end of the first half of this update. Second part will be up in a bit or so.
Yaay, cliffhanger. Have one of the official pieces of artwork that we've unlocked in the Album/Wallpapers section so far.