“Thank you for tunin’ in. You’re listenin’ to pitiful Tarou-chan who just woke up to absolute hopelessness and despair. Maybe I should just go ‘n die, haha.”
Tarou raised his hands into a victory pose. He knew he should’ve understood there wasn’t a retort coming his way, but perhaps he hoped for it somewhere in his heart.Feelings emptiness from the empty space, he lowered his arms.
“No at the very least, I want to go off after losin’ my virginity… I ain’t a virgin!!… yeah, I’m getting hungry. Wonder if there’s anythin’ around.”
Click and clack, he walked across the cold metal floor. For now, he tried to motivate himself to explore, but that was a hard task. There were only two rooms he could enter, after all.
“He said the next report’ll be in five years, right? It really depends on how many ‘ears it’s been since then, but at most, I’ll have to wait a full five? With some luck, it may even be tomorrow? No, no, ain’t happenin’. But will they come lookin’ for us if we don’t get in contact? I wonder. No clue. Why was I blasted into space in the first place?”
Tarou mumbled to himself as he entered the room he had first woken up in. Trying hard as he could not to look at the line of corpses, he went towards the display that looked to be a PC monitor. The bodies in the corners of his eyes brought about his nausea, but he ignored it to the best of his ability.
“… Where’s the switch supposed to be?”
What you might find in a somewhat stylish bar, a slender and round table. And on top of it was the display. Tarou busily moved around it as he searched out an electricity switch, but there wasn’t a trace of anything like that.
“… You’re wrong, okay!! It’s not like I think that even if I start it up, it’ll be in words I can’t read, so there’s no point, alright!!”
After Tarou angrily shook his back once, he finally hung his head in loneliness.
“Dammit, aren’t I totally screwed?”
It hadn’t actually been that long since he woke up, but he felt the despair was already going to overtake him. He approached the mechanism his body had likely been stuffed into, and extended a hand towards it.
“Type IV ain’t a complete cold freeze. It’s supposed to inject nutrients in periodically. Oral intake should work fine… unlock… if I set it to manual… ‘kay, the injection point’s… no, that’s wrong. It’s over here, is it? Damn! Why can I do these sorts of things!?”
The knowledge he shouldn’t have known created a sense of uncomforted he could equate to no other, and caused his body to shake. But his hands naturally proceeded to their next motions without a moment’s hesitation, and his head was filling with the knowledge pertaining to the device before him. His brisk movements disassembled the device before he knew it, and changed the autonomous control mechanism of the nutrient supplying device to manual control.
“For a handle… that’ll serve fine. Even if it don’t look too nice, who cares? I’m the only one here. Now then, how’s it to the taste?”
When he turned the handle, a red liquid started flowing soundlessly from the tip of the needle. Tarou’s face twisted with disgust, as he used his finger to bring toms to his mouth.
“Whooh, the taste’s the worst. The hell’s this. Yeah, that’s right. If I had to compare it to something, it’d be something like sugared up iron… I should really be honest with myself here. This is the taste of blood, ain’t it.”
With fed-up bearing, Tarou muttered to himself, before he pinched his nose, and tried to down some. He turned his head as if to drink water directly from a tap.
“Uwoooaaah!! Bah, ptooey, hell, as if I could drink something like that!! I ain’t a vampire!!”
After grandiosely expelling the contents of his mouth, he went towards the device, and began shouting at it.
“Hah…but I’m going to end up drinkin’ it in the end, aren’t I. I’ll try again when I’m so hungry I might die. What else do I need… for now, just oxygen and water, I guess. I don’t know anyone from NASA, I tells ya’… could I collect the condensation off these freezing devices here? But if the moisture disappears from the air, I’m done for… air conditioning…”
He continued a subdued murmur as he turned his head in circles. When he noticed a duct-like mesh on the ceiling, he climbed up onto the cold sleep equipment to put his face to it.
“It… won’t come off. Of course. It’d be dangerous if it fell on someone… so this’s the screw fixing it. Okay, ‘s long as I have a wrench… like hell I have one!! And what is this anyways? I’ve never seen a seven-sided sided screw head hole before!!”
Tarou jumped down from the equipment, took a piece of metal in hand, and tossed it aside. Telling himself to give it up already, he lay down on the spot. The reality that didn’t have a sense of reality had him begin to question why he was even trying.
“I’m sure when tomorrow comes around, help’ll come… that’s right. No doubt about it.”
His body lost to the washed-out feeling coming over him, and still on his back, he extended his hand to the machinery. He opened up the handle he’d constructed before, and pricked his finger against a spot in the human molding right around the neck area.
“Wow, amazing. As I thought, the extended sleep drugs… really… work…”
Tired out over thinking through his incomprehensible situation, without finishing his sentence to its end, he fell unconscious.
He felt sick.
Along with a strong light-headedness, he woke up the stress accompanying it.
“My body is… aaah, guh!!”
He tried to stand as he was, but the pain he felt on his joints made his movements into a crude imitation of a hornworm, so he decided to stop.
“Seriously, how long was I out this time…”
Enduring the pain, Tarou reached out towards the freezing apparatus. From the open valve, the nutrient injection was still flowing out. The analog gauge that indicated how much it still contained let him surmise he had been sleeping a full two days.
“Oh, I really shouldn’t fiddle around with these things too much. If I took a bit more medicine, I may have starved in my sleep… can’t laugh about that one.”
Rubbing off the ‘sleep’ that had hardened around his his eyes, he tried putting the flowing nutrients to his mouth again. The sheer raw taste caused him to spit it up two or three times, but by that time, the inside of his mouth had been largely numbed. He somehow managed to flow it into his stomach, before lying down for a while, to rest his body.
“Hah… they’re not coming, are they. It’s a place we can’t get through unless we’re in cold sleep after all. ‘Course it’s going to take a long time.”
He had a slight bit of hope, but as that faded away, Tarou’s mouth turned sour. Reaching out a finger, he began to use the nutrient fluid to write letters on the ground.
“Oh god, at least rid me of my virginity before I come into your embrace. Ichijou Tarou’s final words… ah, maybe I should make it all seasonal poem like. Huh, was there something like that? No, I’m sure there’s a season of virgins. Got to be spring.”
He continued his murmuring to stave off the loneliness.
“Well not that it matters. Even if I die here, it’s not like anyone’s going to read… read?”
He looked at the nutrient fluid lettering with a hollow expression, but there, his movements came to a sudden stop.
“The hell? Eh? Huh? I’m writing in Japanese, aren’t I? Huh?”
He had been writing it without the slightest inhibitions, yet he found he couldn’t even read his own handwriting. It wasn’t a physical issue such as the ground being too dirty, he couldn’t understand the meaning of any of the lettering.
“Oh Jesus… has it finally started to infect my mind?”
Under immense stress, he’ heard that certain somethings wouldn’t remain in one’s memories. Rather than experiencing it, he concluded he was too weakened, and he held his hurting body to stand. Because even when he wasn’t doing anything, he felt he was drifting further and furher away.
“So let’s just put in a bit more effort. There’re people who’ve found help driftin’ lost through the Pacific Ocean. Space is more ‘r less the same. Yeah. That’s right.”
Tarou found a bit of hope in his words, and beside the device he was probably in at one point… he stood before a device that still had its skeletal resident in place. He put his hands together, and prayed a bit, before stripping off some usable parts.
“So who cares if it’s a seven sided hole. Just jam something into it well enough, and it’ll turn.”
He took out a few of the frame pieced big enough to fit in his hands, to see if there was anything rightly sized to fit into the screw of the duct. Determining a slightly largish L bracket looked usable enough, he used the other heavy looking metal parts in place of a hammer to shape it up.
“God dammit. What firmness… what’s it made of? It isn’t Iron? Titanium? What?”
No matter how hard he tried to hammer it, he couldn’t give it the slightest of scratched. Abandoning the thought of using spare parts to undo the screws, he began to extract some relatively long parts.
“Even if I don’t have the right tools, it’s been made to be taken apart. I thought over what breakin’ it would cost, but… I’ll have to amend that. My life’s on the line, so let’s get right to it.”
After skillfully disassembling the device, Tarou climbed up to the duct again, and the time, he began shoving parts into the holes of the mesh. Failing a number of times, he managed to fix an L piece to the grate, and he wound a wire around the other side of it.
“Tereretetereee~. The Anmitt Company’s specially made Strength Fiber~. The amount carbon fiber can pull is twenty times that of steel. If you think you can snap it, just you try.”
This time, Tarou wrapped the other side of the wire around the cold sleep device he had been using. After confirming it was firmly fastened, he pulled a red lever in the back of the device without hesitation. A small tremor immediately fell upon the room, and the machine slowly began its descent back into the floor.
“It’s all yours. Use those hydraulics or something or whatever you’ve got. Onwards! Full throttle!!”
He put his hands together in prayer.
The descending device soon went through the excess, and began putting tension on the wire…
Something rapidly passed in front of his eyes.
Whatever it was, it tore off a good chunk of Tarou’s bangs, before it bounced off the ground with a sharp clatter, and disappeared off somewhere. Following that, an immense destructive sound rang out as the duct’s mesh dropped.
“… T-that was dangerous… I’ve got to be more careful next time. That was no different from a speeding bullet. Really hope there isn’t a next time, though.”
As Tarou looked at the lethal screw that had lost its momentum as it rolled along the ground, he rubbed his chest in relief, as he breathed out a sigh. After waiting for the beating of his heart to settle down, he pulled up the raise lever in the device with a slender wire he’d wrapped around beforehand.
“Oh it’s a bit of a mini elevator… up we go. Now then, now then, where does this connect, I wonder.”
Tarou rose up with the rising device. Approaching the dark hole above him, he held onto his anxiety and hopes as he breathed out his biggest sigh yet.