Part 67: Kid - Third Day - Part 3TrackGedaechtnisschwund
"What? Let's see... The empty fall sky...A single cuckoo calls out...Brings a chill to me. What is this?"
"What! Let me see that!"
Then she copied me and set the paper sideways in the same way.
"You...you're right! Amazing! Kid, you're amazing!"
You grabbed my hand and shook it happily...But she didn't stop there... She pulled me close in a big bear hug.
My face was pressed hard against her bust. It was a nice fit...a little too nice...I struggled for air.
I almost felt dangerously excited by the softness of her.
"We did it, we did it! Yeah!"
Finally, You let me go. She jumped around gleefully like a rabbit.
(I was glad she was happy...even if she did almost crush me.)
Watching You all happy like that seemed to wash away all my irritation and fatigue. The stress I was feeling simply faded away. It was like the winter frost melting away under the spring sun.
"But if you look from the side...I see it now."
"But why do you suppose it came out in a barcode like this?"
"The printer is probably in bad shape."
"Think so? It's hard to believe that would make it print like this."
"I don't care about that now. Anyway, as long as I have the password, things are fine."
'The empty fall sky/ A single cuckoo calls out/ Brings a chill to me.'
"I think this is a variation of the famous haiku 'The empty June sky/ A single cuckoo calls out/ Brings a chill to me,' by Shiki Masaoka. So if I input it like this... 'The-empty-fall-sky/ A-single-cuckoo-calls-out/Brings-a-chill-to-me.'
Tap, tap, tap...
"The-empty-fall-sky/ A-single-cuckoo-calls-out-/Brings-a-chill-to-me. Okay then!"
'Access denied. Invalid name or password.'
But she still couldn't get into the C Level information.
Just then - !
The screen went black.
"Wh-what just happened?"
"I don't know but it looks like it automatically shut down the authorization screen..."
After a moment, the screen returned to normal. You pecked away at the keyboard and called up the authorization screen again.
Tap, tap, tap... Tap!
'Access denied. Currently this name cannot be logged in.'
"What?! What is this?!"
She tried it again.
The result was the same.
"What does this mean?"
"Maybe I entered the wrong password too many times and it activated some kind of protection. In other words, LeMMIH has completely denied access to my mom's name."
"So we'll have to give up for the time being, I guess."
You shrugged exaggeratedly.
"And you went to so much trouble to read this for me, Kid... But from the start there was no guarantee that what is on that paper is the password."
"It would make more sense if this were some kind of hint that my mom uses to remember the password. It wouldn't make much sense to call the file password otherwise. It would be too dangerous."
I wondered what was hidden in the 17 syllables of this poem. There was no answer or end to my questions. A while after that, we heard from Takeshi that repairs on the warehouse had been completed with no problems.
We were killing time... We still couldn't think of any way to escape. Still, we didn't want to feel like we were completely wasting our time. So we all decided to wander around LeMU one more time. As we made the rounds Takeshi said -
'Whaddya think the record is for running from one end of LeMU to the other? I think we should try to give the chicken sandwiches a completely new flavor, somehow!'
He made a number of stupid comments. We all (with the exception of Tsugumi of course) listened half exasperated and half interested. We all knew... As long as we were doing something, it kept our minds off things we couldn't change... Like about how there was no way out, or remembering where we were.
Everyone was left to wander around freely until then. I decided to help You try to repair the infirmary scanning machine. Of course, it was kind of an indirect thank you to her for looking after me when I was feeling down two days before.
You plopped down on the floor with the tools and parts, spreading out the repair manual. Of course the repairs were You's job - I was just there to help. I was getting used to handing her the tools, and was getting better at predicting which tool would be used next. I thought that if there were an exam for expertise in handing pliers or screws, I would pass with flying colors. But the repairs were tougher than I imagined.
You grunted as she stared at the diagram.
"You still haven't figured it out?"
"Maybe if you'd be quiet I might!"
"It's not here..."
She searched all over, but couldn't find the cause of the problem. You said everything looked normal. In other words, there was no sign of anything broken.
"Geez! This good for nothing! Stupid, idiotic....!"
All of the sudden, You lost her cool, pounded on the diagram and kicked the toolbox.
"Pant, pant, pant..."
"Hey, that's not very grown-up of you."
"You know, you could ask Sora about how to fix it later."
"You want to clean up for now?"
"Hey, so here the two of you are."
"Oh, hey Takeshi."
"What are you doing here, Takeshi?"
"Nothing really. I just thought I'd get some coffee or something to wake me up. What about you two? What are you and the Kid up to?"
"You can't tell by looking?"
"If I could, do you think I'd be asking?"
"Takeshi, do you think you could lend us a hand?"
"Sure...I can do that. You want help picking up this stuff?"
We split up and started picking up the tools strewn around the room. Screwdrivers and screws had flown all the way to the walls.
"Uh, do you think we got everything?"
"No. There's one more right there..."
There was something in the corner.
"Hey, what's this?"
Takeshi picked up something that looked like an electric plug... No, it WAS an electric plug. The cable continued, disappearing under the floor. It was embedded there.
"I wonder what this is supposed to power."
In the wall was an outlet the same as in the home. Takeshi stuck the plug into the wall.
"Hey, something is moving!"
"Oh. Hey, looks like it was for that machine over there."
"...It would appear unplugged."
"Hey...by the way..."
Takeshi shot a question at me and You who were speechless.
"What were you doing here anyway?"
Just then somebody else appeared...It was Tsugumi. But when she saw us she...
She clicked her tongue in an irritated way and turned to leave the room. The door opened again immediately.
It could have been my imagination, but she looked kind of angry about something. Sara stood her ground, blocking the exit so that Tsugumi couldn't leave.
"Get outta the way."
"Quit running away and answer."
"I said, outta the way."
"I said give me an answer!"
It seemed like the two of them were fighting.
(But I wonder why...)
I couldn't think of any reason for the two of them would want to fight.
"If you keep shouting, the three of them will hear."
"I don't care!"
"Hey...you two, what's up?"
Takeshi asked this as he approached them.
"That's what I want to know."
Tsugumi said this mixed with a sigh. And then she gave Takeshi the evil eye.
"What are you all planning anyway?"
"Wh-what...are we? What are YOU planning? Stop with the nonsense already."
"Hey, Mayo, what happened?"
You said it as if to calm Sara's nerves. She still looked pretty riled up. She was staring at Tsugumi bitterly.
For an instant I thought that...Tsugumi drew up her face up sadly.
"Now get outta my way!"
As she turned around, Tsugumi tried to push Sara out of the way. Sara resisted.
"So what? Did you run away from him the same as you are trying to run from me now?"
Sara said that as the two of them wrestled.
Tsugumi stopped moving.
"So you did..."
Sara crossed her arms tightly.
"You are inhuman!"
Tsugumi lifted up her right hand as if to hit Sara. But Takeshi grabbed her hand.
"Hey! Calm down!"
Sara didn't miss her chance.
Sara's open palm echoed on Tsugumi's cheek.
The raging Tsugumi, threw off Takeshi and stole from Sara whatever it was she was holding. She went to throw whatever it was she had against the wall...
But she stopped an instant before.
Takeshi went to grab her arm. Tsugumi's arm went slack and something slipped to the floor.
It clattered loudly... Something glittered as it bounced...It looked like a pendant. Sara scooped up the pendant as if she were picking up a fragile piece of ice.
Sara's back quivered tensely. Sara looked down, dropping her head. The she squeezed her fist around the pendant.
You said it softly, but Sara didn't appear to hear.
Biting her lip she glared at Tsugumi. Both of her eyes were welling up with tears. Tsugumi stared coldly at Sara as if looking Kodown at her from far above. Sara withstood the glare, and stared back at Tsugumi, enraged. She continued to resist silently, trying not to shed tears, not to sob.
The scene was just like... Just like... Just like...how to put it? It was like the emotion that was about to explode to the surface had sunk away to nothingness.
Sara still focused her glare on Tsugumi. I looked back and forth between the two of them... Finally I let my eyes trail off after Tsugumi. You was there to help Sara. But first I wanted to find out what the fight was all about.
But she ignored me and headed for the corridor.
(Ahhh!.... Why does it always turn out like this?)
Even if I was tired of everything, I had no choice but to chase after her.
She shot me a glance but did not slow her step.
"I said wait!"
I caught up to her and grabbed her arm, trying to stop her. But she shook off my hand.
"I told you never to touch me."
Then Tsugumi started walking again as if nothing had happened.
I started talking to her as I walked next to her, peering at her face.
"Why are you fighting with Sara?"
"It's none of your business."
Tsugumi answered without looking at me, letting me know my questions were unwanted.
"Don't go poking your nose into things that don't concern you."
"How can this not concern me?"
I thought I had said enough.
(It really probably doesn't have anything to do with me. I don't have any right to go involving myself in people's private affairs. But still...)
"No...well, actually it might have something to do with you."
Tsugumi strode away. I stood stunned for a moment. I soon pulled myself together and started after her again.
At last I caught up with her again...
Finally, Tsugumi pulled up there. And it didn't look as though she had stopped there with any intention of riding the gondola. But it didn't look like she was going to move elsewhere either, or even sit down for that matter. Her eyes were just trained on the half-transparent gondola which was partially visible beyond the gate.
It looked like she was completely ignoring me.
"You don't have to respond. Just listen to what I'm going to say."
"I won't ask you to trust us anymore. But that doesn't mean that you have to fight with anyone. We're all in the same situation here. We have to help each other."
Tsugumi turned and faced me...
"What an insightful comment!"
"Do-don't joke around."
"I'm just telling you exactly how I feel."
I figured that I should take the fact that she responded to me as a slight change in attitude. I shot her another question.
"Why do you think we're your enemies? What reason could you possibly have?"
"I've already told you. I can't trust you. You are all acting suspiciously. I don't know whether you are acting of your own will, but still."
"I don't get you. What EXACTLY is suspicious?"
"You are trying to do the exact same thing that you did before."
"The same as what before?"
"If you really have lost your memory, then maybe you don't know..."
"There has got to be something going on behind the scenes with this accident as well."
"You mean... You mean to tell me, you've experienced the same thing as this before?"
Tsugumi stared at me intensely. I took her look as a 'Yes.' In that case... In that case... I wondered if the same held true for me.
"So that means you can foresee what is going to happen, right?"
"I'm right, aren't I? So it's not just me then. But then, how come I can see into the future all of the sudden...?"
See...the future... No, the feeling I had was less one of seeing it and more like...knowing the future, or possible having experienced it before... Did I know it? Had I experienced it? Why? That was...
...because the same thing was happening again.
"Th-that's it! You and I must have traveled to the past, Tsugumi!"
"...Traveled...to the past?"
The theory I had hit upon excited me. I was sure, it almost had to be...
"I have the same sense. I know the future. Back at the Generator Room, I knew that the room had built up heat. And take this morning, I had a feeling that there would be trouble in the warehouse. And when I first met Sara I felt like I had experienced something like it before. I think I've probably experienced this same thing in my past..."
Tsugumi just stared at me. I could clearly see that she was flustered.
"Hey. Tell me your story."
When I asked Tsugumi that, it was as if she snapped back to reality, her expression and the look in her eyes back to normal.
"As long as I can't tell if you're in this with the others, I won't tell you anything."
I felt dejected. Like I had finally found someone that could share my feelings, but wouldn't.
"Listen. I told you before, it would be best for you if you stayed away from them. And me, too."
"You really get bogged down in the why of things, don't you? The why is not important."
She crossed her arms and said this forcefully.
"But if there is a reason...it is so that things turn out the best for you."
"Your memory loss could be because of them."
That was a shocking idea. Her words just about stopped my heart for a moment.
(What...there's no way....)
I had never even entertained that idea. Tsugumi turned to walk away from me, ignoring me in my state of dismayed confusion. I didn't have any power left to chase after her.
"Oh...and there is one more thing. As long as we are shooting the breeze, shall I predict a bit of the future for you?"
I slowly lifted up my face and looked at Tsugumi. She looked serious all of the sudden. Tsugumi predicted that -
"If you continue to let yourself be used by them... On the 7th..."
"You will die."
The light reflected cold and hard off the walls and floor. Tsugumi's words echoed in my mind. Tsugumi said not to trust Takeshi, You and the others. That my lost memory was their fault as well. That their behavior was suspect? But...I wondered if that could really be true. I didn't see how it could be. They all seemed trustworthy to me. The type of people you could really depend on. I had only spent a few days with them, but I was sure.
Besides, even if she were right, there were lots of things that were inexplicable. If Takeshi and the others were scheming something... If they were trying to deceive Tsugumi and me, then it should be visible in their words and actions. There was no way that normal people could put on an act as elaborate as this. If one or two were trying to lie, it might be possible, but even with my memory impaired I would still be able to tell if they were all trying to do it.
It seemed that You, Sara and everyone were reacting naturally, as one might expect in each situation. So it didn't seem possible. It wasn't possible. The most impossible thing to explain was why cause this accident? Why lie to Tsugumi and me? There was no reason and it would have been impossible anyway. I wondered if I were going to die. That was stupid! If that was the case, we would have to be smart to help each other more than ever.
That was what I thought. Maybe she had some grudge against Takeshi and the others from before...or maybe she was imagining everything and just paranoid... Or maybe she was trying to make ME paranoid about the others and draw us into conflict...or something else? No, I had to stop this! It was too crazy. If nothing else, THIS was...all just my imagination working overtime and nothing but paranoia. It had to be that the difficulty of the situation was putting incredible mental strain on everyone.
I...I wanted to trust everyone, and to be trusted. So I would continue to treat everyone as I had up until then. That is what I decided. Rather than worrying about who to trust, we needed to worry about how something like this could have happened. If we knew the cause, we might be able to figure out a way out...I remembered that Tsugumi had said something else.
"You are trying to do the exact same thing that you did before."
I wondered about my ability to foresee events....Was I repeating the past?
(I wonder if I really did travel in time?)
But there was no longer anyone there.
(Huh? Where did everybody go? Maybe they're in the Conference Room?)
I called out to her through the microphones in the room. But there was no reply. Sora had said that the complex's sensors were not yet functioning everywhere. I figured that I'd just have to go searching myself... I sighed and headed out into the corridor.
I had an idea. The Security Office was nearby. I could use the observation monitors there. I might be able to see what was going on. And maybe find out where everyone was. So I made for the Security Office.
She was slouching loosely in a chair.
"You? What are you doing here?"
"Hey, Kid. How you doing?"
You swiveled her neck around and greeted me. She couldn't be bothered to shift her body.
"Where's everybody else? What happened to Sara?"
"She's resting in the decompression chamber below the infirmary."
You straightened up. She added that Sara said 'she wanted to be alone so I best not bother her.'
"Sora had work to do in the Control Room. She's checking and adjusting the complex."
"What about Takeshi?"
"I don't know what's up with Takeshi. When he left, he was saying something about wanting a drink. He might be having a beer or something."
"Huh? A beer in LeMU?"
You shrugged as if to say, 'Who knows?'
"What about you? How did things go with Tsugumi?"
"Not good. She wouldn't listen. She just took off somewhere."
I decided not to say anything about Tsugumi's silly suspicions.
"Well, I guess that's how things stand then."
"So what are you doing here, You? You can't access the database for a while, right?"
"Right. So I'm taking a break."
"Right now I'm looking at LeMU through the monitors and trying to think of a way to escape."
"I haven't thought of anything yet."
You went back to typing on the keyboard.
Tap, tap, tap...
The images on the monitors changed again and again. Takeshi appeared in one of them.
"Hey, that's Takeshi."
"Looks like it."
"Is that the rest area?"
"Looks like it."
"I wonder what he is doing."
Takeshi was sitting on a bench. He had a can of beer in his hand. As You had said, it looked like he was having a drink.
"So there really is...beer here."
Thinking about it, I realized that Takeshi knew the kiosk's freezers by heart now. Maybe it was something that an employee or someone had sneaked in. What I didn't understand was why there was one more beer. Or I should say that the can was opened and sitting next to Takeshi.
(It'll get flat if he leaves it like that...)
Of course, there was no one there. Takeshi lifted his can in the direction of the can next to him and muttered something. But we couldn't hear the what. I wondered if he was drunk. He looked dangerous.
"Geez...what is that fool up to?"
Tap, tap, tap...
You punched some keys and switched to a less unsightly scene.
You jumped out of her chair and headed for the coffee machine.
"Uh, I want one, too."
"Where's the sugar and milk?"
"What? You take sugar and milk? You're like a kid with a sweet tooth."
"I can drink however I want, can't I?"
"Sure, whatever. I think they're in that drawer."
I took the sugar pot and milk bottle out from the drawer.
"Coffee is coffee because it's bitter."
You said this as she poured coffee into our cups.
"Coffee defiled with other stuff is like a hamburger made out of chicken. Someday you'll understand, Kid."
"Here is your wittle milwk dwink...baby."
"Oh shut up..."
I dribbled a little milk into the cup that she gave me. I went to add sugar...but there was no spoon, so I decided to pour from the sugar pot.
"You know that black coffee is bad for your stomach, right?"
"I know that and a hundred other things that are bad. But smoking is bad for you and there are still smokers."
"Besides...when you are tired, sweet things give you a surge of energy."
I was in an argumentative mode. But...then my hand slipped...and sugar went cascading into my cup.
"There you go. That should give you a surge of energy until tomorrow."
"Hey, I was thinking."
"I didn't tell you?"
"It's so boring."
You said that and sipped her coffee indifferently.
"What I said is that...! I can sense the future."
I decided to tell You about my theory. I really wanted to hear what she thought.
"I mean, yesterday in the Generator Room, the trouble this morning with Takeshi and when I first met Sara..."
"That's just déjà vu."
"When you've never done something, but you can't shake the feeling that you have seen or done it before. But, ya' know, that's really just when you have some memory deep in your mind that makes something feel familiar... It's just a kind of hallucination."
"It's not! This wasn't like that! I think I've experienced the same kind of thing in the past..."
"And? What's your point?"
"I think that...maybe I traveled through time."
"And that I came back here to the past...from the future."
"I think it helps to explain my lost memory somehow."
"Hmmph. And? How does it explain your memory?"
"Eh? Th...that's...uh...hard to explain, but..."
"What is going on in that head of yours? What got all twisted up in there to make you come up with some crazy idea about traveling through time?"
"Or are you one of those people that believe the sun circles around the earth?"
"But...but.... Right now...this..."
You held her palm out at me like a traffic cop.
"Okay, let's say for argument's sake that you did travel through time. So what?"
"You make absolutely no sense."
"Listen. There is NO such thing as time travel. Theoretically and scientifically it's impossible."
I decided to drink my coffee.
It was so sweet that it made me almost want to vomit.
"Water flows downhill and time flows forward. It's simple. It's like a river. There is no going backward."
I groaned. But I wasn't giving in without a fight.
"Are you sure?"
"Water doesn't always flow down, does it?"
"Ha.... Now what? Are you going to explain it all with some anti-gravity substance? Or something like space isn't a vacuum, but is full of ether?"
"That's not what I mean. It's not like that.... What I mean is..."
I looked around the room. There had to be something...something to convince You...like...My eyes stopped on the coffee machine. The water in the lower container was boiling, warmed by the flame of the alcohol lamp. That water was pushed by the pressure of the steam through a pipe in the center and percolated into the pot.
(This is it!)
"Look! Water doesn't always flow down. See!"
You didn't say anything. She simply looked at the gurgling water.
"Hey? Are you listening?"
You suddenly stood up shouting.
You bumped my arm and spilled my coffee everywhere. It got on my arm and her coat. But You ignored it, handed her cup to me and went bursting out of the room. She shot out of there like a rocket. I quickly put the cups down and went after her.
Part two will be up in a bit. Sorry for the delay. It seems the closer we get to the end of a route, the longer the parts in-between choices get.