(TL: I also worked on Unmotivated Detective Work, which you can find on the project bar.)
“Good morning, mister Teirow. The override is complete. How does your body feel?”
The modified cold-sleep device. Koume swayed to and fro before Tarou’s eyes.
“The worst,” Tarou spat out the words, throwing his terribly washed-out body onto the cold iron floor.
“Ah, nice ‘n cool… by the way. The guy who thought up that programmin’ method was an idiot. There are few things out there as unreliable ‘s the human brain, ‘ya know?”
New information definitely did exist in his head. The programming knowledge was recollected in his mind as he spoke.
“Koume does not comprehend the problem, Mister Teirow. Programming with the brain is an overly standard method.”
In regards to Tarou, Koume returned an inorganic feminine voice. Feeling irritation at Koume’s lack of facial expression, Tarou continued on the conversation.
“Now that’s something’. Has hittin’ one out on a keyboard been put on the endangered list?”
“Negative, Mister Teirow. Its usage is not in danger of extinction, it has gone extinct. The interface known as a keyboard has already faded from common use. Only a portion of eccentrics still pick them up as a hobby.”
To Koume’s answer, “Well, no helpin’ if you’ve got somethin’ like that,” said Tarou as he hazily thought over the programming window in his head. In his eyes, countless functions were displayed in a three dimensional crystal lattice around him. Of them, he could duplicate, connect, derive, and alter them freely. The processing was exceedingly instinctual, and the sensation was close to stacking up toy building blocks. The contents of each and every function were much too complex, and he barely understood them, but for him to make use of them that wasn’t a problem.
“So it’s like pointing a remote at the TV without any knowledge about television itself.”
Tarou summarized his impression of the functions. To that, “Correct,” Koume added on.
“The contents of the functions are all templates developed by specialists in the field. You can reform them however you want, and if you have safety in mind, you can use them as-is. As you have said, the human brain is too unreliable to leave any and everything up to it.”
“I see,” said Tarou as he observed various function blocks.
“But when it’s all so unfamiliar, the fact I know so much about it is a disgusting feelin’… Heh, this output’s reading right off my brain waves, eh? Cheers to the future.”
Tarou muttered in surprise and admiration. He turned towards the lone door in the room, and walked straight up to it. Just like when he’d looked over it the other day, the door didn’t have anything that looked like a sencer. But in Tarou’s head, the ‘Door’ function was clearly displayed
“So that’s how it is… um, Um, link door to master route. Deploy template… huh, it’s locked. The encryption key is… ah, here it is. Oh right, I’m the owner, aren’t I? Connect code and lock. Run unlock.”
The long silence of the room was finally broken by click, and the sound of moving metal.
“Whoah… it opened. Wicked!!”
“Mister Teirow. You can carry out the orders even if you don’t say it a loud. You look stupid when you stand there mumbling to yourself.”
“An’ you’re as toxic as ever! Leave me be! I was just a bit moved there is all… right, I’ll store that as a new template. It would be a pain going through that every time.”
As he said that, Tarou stored that chain of commands in his brain as a new function. Satisfied that he would be able to go through it next time without much thought, he posed Koume a question.
“Come to think of it, it’s not just the doors that run on this system, right? In that case, can all humans of this time period use it? That brain programming thing?”
Kouma rolled from side to side as she flickered her lights.
“Affirmative, Mister Teirow. The remote frontiers may be a different story, but generally, everyone born in imperial territory have an override applied right after birth. Of course, just at the minimum level required to live a normal life.”
“Really is the future,” Tarou gave another moving murmur before going on.
“But this sure is a nice time. ‘f you ‘ave it, you don’t need any studyin’, right? You can jus’ ‘ave all the necessary info loaded right in. Dammit, I was born in the wrong time. Ah, right. Can I load some common sense, or some info on the ship? I don’t know how big it is, so a map’d be real convenient.”
“You think they have the scan data on that cute chick? Whooah, my dreams are growin’… Koume-san?”
“… Yes, Mister Teirow. If you wish to store memory not as a short-term function, but as permanent information, I highly recommend studying with your own eyes and ears.”
“Mister Teirow. Please recall our previous conversation. I stated that humans are bestowed an override right after birth. Humans become driven by the necessity of voluntary action shortly after they are born. In most cases, the parents act in their stead, carrying out everything for the child to that point.”
“… Yeah, I get what you’re sayin’. Go on.”
“Yes, Mister Teirow. Revolving around the previous notion, the natural course would be for a human to receive an override once voluntary action becomes necessary. But that is not the case, it occurs right after birth. There is only one reason.”
“… I see. It’s because you’re overwriting data. It’s best to use it on a baby with an empty head, right?”
“Affirmative, Mister Teirow. You really are smart. So you do not have to bring all your problems to me. I am not your counselor.”
“Hmm, will your first kiss with the ground be a gentle one of lovers, or one intense enough to break both your front teeth. I think that would depend on your answer.”
“Yes, what is it, Mister Teirow. If it is within my scope, then…”
“Answer me!! What part of me was written over! What did I lose!?”
Lifting Koume up, Tarou cried out. He didn’t have any intention to slam his only hope in the situation against something, but he was angry. And more than anything, the fear he was losing himself caused his hands to shake.
“… I apologize, Mister Teirow. Unlike language, where a specific location and function were overridden, your general knowledge was written over, and it is impossible to estimate what was lost.”
The expected answer. Tarou closed his eyes for a while, letting out a deep breath.
“Hah… we had this exchange yesterday, didn’t we… it’s no good. My emotions have been going all over the place. It’s something I should’ve somewhat known, but… dammit, that still doesn’t make it a good feeling.”
Tarou tried bringing up various memories to confirm what he had lost, but eventually realizing it was wasted effort, he gave up. Including all forms of memory, there was an enormous amount of information within him, what’s more, searching for memories that were overwritten was akin to looking for what wasn’t there.
“I hope the memories I wanted to forget were written over, but… ah, no good. I still remember my, ‘Right arm aching!!’ back in middle school. Tehe.”
Tarou purposely acted cheerful, heading out to bring a close to the matter. Koume likely didn’t have any ill intent, and no matter how the conversation developed, he feared he would just be taking his anger out on her.
“Now then, now then, let’s see what we have. Let’s try movin’ this spaceship around. So Koume. What should I do first?” He addressed the sphere in his hands. On his palm, Koume flashed various bulbs.”
“Yes, Mister Teirow. First, you need to connect the residential sector’s electricity to the overdrive system. But there is no need to panic. It will likely take some time, but as Koume once said, hurrying and panicking are different things.”
“Yeah, yeah, got it. Are you my mother? By the way, what’s the estimated time needed to reform this ship? Like before ‘n after.”
“Yes, Mister Teirow. The work is estimated to take approximately five years.”
“As I said, Mister Teirow. Escaping reality is not a very effective means. You need to perform an overdrive with nothing but our remaining systems. For a beginner BISHOP user, it will likely take that amount of time.”
“That’s right, Mister Teirow. Brain Impulse Sequence to High Output Programming. Shortened to BISHOP. The system overwritten into you.”
“I see… that sounds kinda cool. You mean I can use holy offensive and healing magic, but I have a slow growth?”
“Mister Teirow. I do apologize, but I have no idea what you are talking about. Of course, you do not have to fear any failed item appraisals, and I won’t abandon you in the bar at your low level.”
“The person ‘oo made you was definitely insane… but five years, huh. I know I don’t ‘ave a choice, but I really don’t think my psyche ‘ll hold out. I don’t mean to brag, but I’m confident I’d die of loneliness in three days, tops. And with nothin’ but those nutrient tubes every day, I really will die.”
“Lonely is an overstatement, Mister Teirow. You have me, do you not?”
“… Mister Teirow. I have all sorts of knowledge on the food stock and forms of entertainment used by the crew. If you do not need me, you could just say it…”
“Koume-sama, I’ll be in your care for these five long years.”
Putting Koume down in the center of the corridor, Tarou swiftly prostrated himself. Touching three fingers together, the satisfactory dogeza he gave filled him with a needless sense of accomplishment.
“But five years, eh… really makes ‘ya think.”
Raising his face, Tarou stared far away.
“Do not worry, Mister Teirow. Judging by the cold sleep device’s battery, it is estimated you have been drifting through space for at least fifty years What is another five years to you at this point? It is mere lost time.”
Koume proudly flickered her lights.
In regards to her, Tarou could only let out a sigh.