Part 60: Kid - Second Day - Part 1TrackKlamauk
"By You...you mean Nakkyu?"
"What? That's easy."
"Okay, here I go."
"I am, You Tanaka! The seventh leader of the Crimson motorcycle gang! The baddest group of Kanto hooligans!"
"Well just until just the other day. Now she seems to be leading a normal, decent life."
"What are you doing?"
You appeared in her changed clothes.
"Uh...we...um...we're playing rock, paper, scissors charades..."
"You're playin rock, paper, scissors charades? That sounds fun - can I play?"
Sara explained the rules to You.
"Okay, I got it."
"Alright then. Let's play. Ready, Jyan-ken-poi!"
Just then... The lights illuminating the room started to flicker. Instinctively we looked to the ceiling. Listening carefully, I heard a sound like the rumble of thunder far away.
"What could that be...?"
Tiny waves formed in the water pooled on the floor. The walls and ceiling trembled slightly. Metal screeched on metal.
"No...it couldn't be..."
"Couldn't be what?"
"Doesn't that sound a lot like when the water that flooded in yesterday?"
The blood appeared to drain from the faces of You and Sara in the flickering light. Immediately after that...
The tremors and sounds stopped, but an eerie silence filled the area. Only the emergency lights showed weakly.
"A blackout...it's a blackout..."
"What about everybody else?"
"Where are Takeshi, Tsugumi and Sora...?"
"Well, where is Tsugumi?"
Sara and I shook our heads in the darkness.
"Anyway, let's go looking for Takeshi and Tsugumi."
"Sora is... Let's not worry about her for now."
"I'll tell you later. Looking for those two is the top priority right now."
You started running. Sara and I followed her without knowing what was going on.
The power was out, so the door didn't open automatically. You pulled the lever next to the door and opened it manually.
"Takeshi! Tsugumi! If you are there, then answer!"
You shouted out into the darkness. I wondered why she was only calling out to Takeshi and Tsugumi.
I called to Sora but there was no answer.
"Sora should have been here. I wonder where she could have gone."
You had picked up a flashlight at some point. I imagined she had gotten it somewhere in the Control Room. You turned on it... A white circle of light appeared on the wall. You shined the flashlight right and left, lighting up all corners of the room. The electrical system was completely down. Like an abandoned castle, there was no sign of warmth left. There was clearly nobody there.
"It doesn't seem...like there is anyone here..."
"Can you carry this?"
You handed me the flashlight and shut the Control Room door. Just then...
Splash, splash, splash...
We heard the sounds of someone running toward us through water. After a short while, two figures emerged from the darkness.
Takeshi and Tsugumi approached, walking through water.
"Hey, have you seen Sora?"
"I thought she was in the Control Room."
"It was empty..."
Takeshi used the manual lever to open the door. He looked inside...
"Do you want a flashlight?"
Takeshi took the flashlight, turned it on and went into the room.
"Geez...Where would Sora go at a time like this?"
Takeshi said that when he emerged from the Control Room.
"So...what are we going to do?"
You said this calmly. It had been a series of emergencies since the day before... Maybe we were all completely used to it. In any case, none of us were freaking out.
"For now... All we can do is split up and look for Sora."
"Without Sora, we won't know why there's been this blackout..."
"Yeah. Sora knows more about LeMU than anyone."
"Maybe it's time..."
"Since it has come to this, I'll tell you... I don't think we'll find Sora, even if we look."
"I can't tell you the reason. That's something that you should hear from Sora herself..."
"Anyway, just take my word for it. You don't have to worry. Sora is just fine. And she will come back for sure."
You ignored my question.
"So, what are you going to do?"
"I think we should try the Generator Room..."
"The Generator Room?"
"I figure that the cause of this blackout is trouble in the Generator Room."
That reminded me of something Sora had said the day before... LeMU didn't receive any power from the outside, but had an in-house generating system. There was a thermal seafloor vent where hot water was pumped out of the seabed and heat from that was used to operate generators.
"Tsugumi, you'll come along, won't you?"
"Sorry, but I'm not up for it."
"I'm not going. If you want to go, be my guest."
Saying that Tsugumi left. It didn't look like it would be any use calling after her.
"Geez. I have no clue what is going on in that girl's head."
"Oh well. The four of us will have to go."
"Nakkyu, where is the Generator Room?"
"The Generator Room is here - in Dritte stock."
"Alright! Let's get a move on. You, can you lead the way?"
Takeshi started walking toward the corridor.
"Hey Takeshi, where do you think you are going?"
"Where? To the Generator Room of course. It was your idea to start with, right?"
"And just how do you intend to get there?"
"Huh? By walking through the corridors dummy."
"Oh please...you really don't get anything, do you?"
"Huh? What's that supposed to mean?"
"Hey, You. I don't think I get it either..."
"You guys don't remember the map of LeMU we saw yesterday?"
"Oh, that's right..."
"You remember it too, Takeshi?"
"And what was between those two areas?"
"Between them? How am I supposed to know...?"
"Hmmm...I don't think that there was anything."
"The two areas are divided by a block which is now under water...?"
"We can't go directly from the Control Room area to the Generator Room area."
"Besides that, the emergency stairs of one of those areas was also flooded..."
"Oh, I get it... To get to the Generator Room's area, we have to access the second floor..."
"So we have to go to the..."
"To the entrance to the neutral buoyancy elevator."
"Ready, set, go! Nin! Nin! Ninja!"
Sara took a bizarre kung fu pose and started spinning like a top. But I had no clue what she was trying to do.
When the four of us ascended from Zweite stock we stopped by the warehouse first. Fortunately, we found the tools we needed right away. Pliers, a spanner, a screwdriver, hammer, a small welding machine...etc., etc... We packed all of the tools we imagined we might need into a toolbox and headed for the neutral buoyancy elevator.
'EI' meant egg in German. It was also a literal take on the egg-shaped elevator that traveled up and down rails into the ocean on the side of LeMU. A ballast tank was attached to the floor. It would take in or release seawater from the tank as necessary to increase or reduce buoyancy, making the elevator rise or sink.
All we had to do was release the lock connecting us to LeMU and the 'egg' would sink away. You pulled the operating lever next to the door.
"What's going on? We're not sinking at all."
"No...it doesn't seem like it."
"Do you think it is because the power is out?"
"No. The EI elevator is a neutral buoyancy elevator so it basically doesn't require outside power. But it does need power for the intake and release of water for the ballast tank...this is the only time it needs power."
"But we're in a blackout right now..."
"...So there's no way to control the ballast valve - is that the problem?"
"Oh, great. So that means we can't move this thing at all then!"
"Stupid. That's wrong. And you're supposed to be a college student?"
"Well, excuse me! So put it in terms I can understand."
"Teacher! I know, I know!"
"Alright Ms. Matsunaga."
"In order to use buoyancy to rise or sink, the weight of the elevator must exceed the buoyancy for the object to sink, or vice versa."
"That's correct. You figured it out too, Kid, right?"
The choice here was I got it/I dont understand, but Prince knows just about everything, doesnt he?
"Yeah. You mean Archimedes principle, right? The buoyancy of a submerged object is equal to the weight of the liquid displaced by the object. Right now, the buoyancy of the elevator is exactly balanced with the elevator's weight. So if we make the elevator heavier, it will outweigh the buoyancy and the elevator will sink..."
"Wow! Good work you two! What brains!"
You patted our heads as she praised us.
"Smart, smart girl!"
"...Not like some other people here."
"So the reason that EI won't sink yet is that it is not heavy enough, right?"
"Yes. We need to find something heavy..."
And several minutes later...
Takeshi was carrying a massive planting pot.
You brought a plaster ornament. And I brought a magazine holder and a bundle of magazines from the Security Office. And Sara...
"What in the name of..."
Sara...was dragging a massive tuna.
"What...happened to that?"
"It was in the corridor over there. I guess it probably washed out from the kitchen fridge during the flood."
"It's a little cold, but it's okay, right?"
EI began to inch down ever so slowly ... Peeking through the window and into the blue we could see the outside of LeMU. The blue gradually got darker and the steel bulkhead appeared to move further away upward.
We were silent during that time. What was there really to talk about? No, actually, You did say one thing...
"Hey, wasn't catching dolphins for food banned under some international treaty?"
It seemed that You was having trouble with the difference between a dolphin and a tuna. No one tried to answer her. I...decided not to think about anything.
That was where we got off. Once the four of us holding the tuna got off, EI lost its baggage and floated up to Zweite stock again.
"Oh, no. What'll we do? We can't get back now."
"No problem. There is one more EI. I checked and it is stopped on this floor."
"Oh...that surprised the heck out of me..."
"HA,HA,HA.... If there wasn't another one, there is no way the four of us would ever come down here."
"You sure? You seemed pretty petrified with fear yourself."
"Zip it! I don't want any more lip from you!"
"Alright, alright...enough of that. Let's get going."
This side of the area was also inundated with water from the flood. It was still bathed in darkness. Blue light from the surface dimly pierced through the small round windows making a wave-like shadow on the floor. The four of us relied on that and our flashlight as we proceeded deeper and deeper into the complex.
When we turned a corner, we heard Takeshi call out from behind us.
"What are you doing? Hurry up. No dawdling or we'll leave you behind."
"I'll show you dawdling! This toolbox weighs a ton!"
Looking back there was Takeshi with the toolbox on the floor and breathing hard.
"Geez. Gimme a break. Kid, give him a hand."
I hurried to where Takeshi was.
"Takeshi, I'll help you."
"Thanks. Take it from that side."
The two of us took the toolbox from both sides.
"Whew! Thanks. I thought my arms would fall off carrying it all alone."
"Quit exaggerating... Oh, Takeshi! Watch out! There's a bump sticking out there!"
"Whoa! Th-that was close!"
Takeshi was just able to right himself.
"Whew. That surprised the bejeezers outta me... I just about fell down... Glad you noticed that, Kid. It being so dark and everything...good job."
"Huh? You really think it's that dark...? Takeshi, maybe you've got bad night vision."
"What is it that causes that? Lack of vitamin A or something? I hate liver and carrots."
"You shouldn't be so picky."
Yellow and black stripes appeared dimly ahead.
"This it? This the Generator Room...?"
There was a plate with information on the front of the door, but it was too dark to read.
"I'll take a look."
You reached toward the door handle...
Instinctively I grabbed You's arm.
"Wh-what? What is it...?"
Takeshi and Sara stared at me questioningly.
"What's the matter?"
"Uh...um...the thing is..."
I wondered why I had said what I had. I really didn't know. Yet, somehow...
...I was just rattling off what popped into my mind. No, I hadn't even thought it. It just seemed to jump from my throat before anything else. Kind of like when you snap your hand back after touching a hot stove. I just reflexively blurted it out.
"What do you mean?"
You wasn't buying it. I took my hand from You's arm and searched for words. At that moment...
"It's kind of like this... If a pipe carrying hot water burst, then the room could be full of hot steam maybe..."
Sara took up the slack in my explanation.
(Oh, I see...)
While I sensed danger, I couldn't express in words what it might be. The three of us nodded, satisfied.
"Okay, let's give it a try."
Takeshi touched his hand to the wet floor. He went to place his damp fingers on the door. The droplets sizzled, evaporating away.
It was just like Sara had said.
"Wow...that was pretty sharp, Kid."
I replied, but I hadn't really known it would be dangerous either. The one who had known was a separate someone inside me. That someone had simply borrowed my voice. What had happened was so strange that it made me feel out of place in my own skin.
"Anyway, with things as they stand, there's no going inside."
"I'll say... First off let's close off all valves for pipes sending hot water to the Generator Room. If we stop the flow of hot water, then steam should stop flowing to the room."
"Valves? Where are those?"
"In the room next door. Down one more corridor that way. It won't require that many people...just me and...one more person to help."
"Alright, leave it to me!"
"Hey! What's wrong with me?"
"It's just...that if we were alone I'm afraid you'll do something."
"Uh...maybe I should help?"
"Oh, no, that's okay. Mayo you wait here."
"Hey, Kid. So what're you gonna do?"