プラネテス第13話 “ロケットのある風景”



Introduction: Spaces debris, loose materials generated as a result of space development, can often pose a serious threat to spacecraft and people who work in them. This is a story of 2075, a time in which this space debris has become a major problem.



TV: xxxx


HACHI: I’m home.

MOM: Is that you, Hachi? You know, you’re hopeless. Just saying you’ll be home today, doesn’t tell me anything. At least tell me when your flight is… Oh, my.

HACHI: These are a couple of coworkers of mine. When I told them we lived near Narita, they said they wanted to come and visit for a while.

YURI: Good afternoon, ma’am.

TANABE: I hope we’re not imposing.




HACHI: Geez, I didn’t want to take a vacation, but our ship got destroyed. There is nothing for us to do right now.

MOM: Hachi? Were you responsible?

HACHI: No, it wasn’t me. Our captain was forced to ram it into something.

MOM: Oh my, you don’t mean that big scare that was on the news, do you?

YURI: Yes. We were involved in the incident with the Space Defense Front. Now, we may have lost our ship, but we managed to foil the terrorists’ plan and save a lot of lives in the process.

MOM: Yuri, I must complement that your Japanese accent is excellent. Where did you learn to speak it so well?

YURI: Thanks. I was married to a Japanese girl.

MOM: Was?

YURI: She passed away. Just about eight years ago.

MOM: Oh, I’m sorry I brought it up. Please forgive me.

YURI: Don’t worry yourself. I don’t mind. It’s been a long time so I’m okay with it now.

MOM: Huh? Yuri! Tanabe! Get down! Take cover!

YURI: What?

HACHI: What’s wrong? Ugh!!

KYUTARO: Oh, man, that was close! I’m glad it didn’t hit a neighbor’s house!


TANABE: Sempai! Sempai! Oh, please Sempai! Please say something!

KYUTARO: Damn, the thing refuses to fly straight. Maybe there’s a problem with the gimbal adjustment…

MOM: Kyutaro! How many times do I have to tell you to launch your rockets down at the beach?! If anything happens to our guests, I swear I’m taking those rockets away from you, do you understand?!

HACHI: I see… you don’t care about what happens to me?

KYUTARO: Hmph, I did launch it out towards the sea. But the piece of crap gyro I used isn’t compatible.

HACHI: You little bastard! It’s been a year, and this is how you say hello?!

KYUTARO: Hey, I didn’t even know you’re back.

HACHI: You might have grown some while I was in space but I swear these stunts of yours haven’t change a bit… Hey, wait, I guess you haven’t grown. Aren’t you about 14 by now?

KYUTARO: Screw you! Leave me alone, you bastard!

TANABE: Sempai! Are you all right?! Speak to me!


MOM: I suppose out of space is in their blood. You see, that boy’s father and big brother are both successful astronauts.

TANABE: Wait a minute. Their father is an astronaut, too?

MOM: Yes, that’s right. You mean he didn’t tell you?

TANABE: Not a word, ma’am.

MOM: Maybe it’s just that other thing. Hachi and Kyuta were the result of us getting lucky while we were on trips to the moon, …so maybe that’s why they have a connection to space.

HACHI: Sound like a lottery drawing.

MOM: How can I put this? It’s like Kyutaro has way too much energy pent up inside him. He’s still only 13 years old, so I don’t see why he has to be in such a darn awful hurry.

YURI: Where did Kyutaro go? He ran out of here awfully fast.


[—Private Base—]

YURI: I see. You’re distilling seawater and then electrolyzing it to produce your own hydrogen. That makes you nearly self-sufficient as far as fuel is concerned. Yuri Mihairokoh is my name. I work with your brother, Hachirota upon ISPV-7.

KYUTARO: I’m Kyutaro Hoshino.

YURI: It’s a pretty impressive hideout.

KYUTARO: I rent it from a sort of fisherman that I know. A thousand yen a year. Hey! Don’t touch that! It’s super-cooled, so it’ll burn you real bad.

YURI: So, Kyutaro, did you make all this stuff here by yourself?

KYUTARO: I swiped most of it from the scrapyard down by the spaceport. What do you want?

YURI: Oh. I just had a few ideas regarding your rocket.



HACHI: I used to ride this one when I was in high-school.

TANABE: Really?

HACHI: It’s been sitting around for ages, so it might not run very well. You’re probably having trouble with low-gravity disorder and space lag? I’ll go by myself, you should just stay here.

TANABE: Sempai, do you even know what nampura is?

HACHI: Hmm…, a fruit?

TANABE: Umph, I think I should go to the store with you.


[—Private Base—]

Yuri: I’m copying the inertial navigation and guidance system that Technora uses onto your control system PC. This should make a significant difference.

KYUTARO: Hey, are you allowed to just make copies like that?

YURI: Well, it is a crime, but only if we get caught.


[—Super Market—]

HACHI: Let’s see, all we need now is a daikon.

TANABE: Sempai, the ones with leaves have a better taste to them. They’re quite bit sweeter than the others.



TAKUMI: Hey, is that you, Hachirota!? Long time no see, man!

HACHI: Takumi, is that you? Geez, you got fat!

TAKUMI: Is that any way to talk to an old friend?

HACHI: Takumi is a friend of mine from high-school. We used to ride motor-cycles together all the times. You still ride a hog?

TAKUMI: Na, I bought myself a car. A nice mini-van.

HACHI: How lame…

TAKUMI: Hey get off my back!! It’s not like you ever…


WIFE: Takumi, do we still need a soy… Hello.

TAKUMI: This is Hachirota, you know, the old bike and buddy of mine who left at high-school and became an astronaut!!

WIFE: Oh, the one who was going to buy a space ship, right? Oh, sorry.

HACHI: Oh, great. What the heck did you tell her about me?

TAKUMI: Oh, C’mon man, what’s the big deal? It’s all an antient history now. Milk? Or pee-pee?

WIFE: If she’s crying like this, she’s got to be wet. Honestly, you can never see to tell the difference. Well, I’ll go change her diaper.


HACHI: Takumi.


HACHI: Congratulations on getting married.

TAKUMI: Thanks. Guess you’re getting married soon, too. That’s great.


TAKUMI: You know it’s hard to believe that you’re finally gonna settle down. You brought your girlfriend home to meet your parent, right?




[—Outside of Supermarket—]

TANABE: Now that I think about it, me being introduced to his mother could be seen this.

HACHI: I guess it does sort of imply that kind of situation…

HACHI: Get on!

TANABE: I… I copy…

HACHI: What’s the matter?

TANABE: Ah, nothing… nothing at all.


[—On the way home—]

HACHI: Damn it. Why did Takumi have to say that?

TANABE: What am I gonna do? I guess I shouldn’t have said that I’d stay at his house…

TANABE: Whoa, Sempai, it’s a rocket. And it’s real close to us.

HACHI: Yeah, I see it. It’s pretty cool, isn’t it? It’s probably some college experiment or something.

TANABE: Wow, that’s incredible!

HACHI: Yeah it is. I said the same thing when I first saw a launch back in high school.



KYUTARO: Damn it all. I ain’t gonna lose to them.

YURI: I’m a bit curious. Why is it that you want to become an astronaut?

KYUTARO: I am not gonna be an astronaut, okay? Especially not a half astronaut like my old man and my brother.


KYUTARO: My goal is to be an engineer. Once I get out of the school, I’m gonna get rich fast and eventually go on a day trip to Mars on a rocket I built.


KYUTARO: So Yuri, what made you decide to become an astronaut?




HACHI: I was hooked on bikes when I was in high school. I worked part-time and saved up the money to buy one. And then I’d just rode and tinkered all the time. But when I saw a rocket go up in to the sky from that hill, I though “I’d rather have one of those babies". It was really big, and powerful and fast. Bike didn’t seem to measure up after that.

TANABE: And is that the reason you became an astronaut, Sempai?

HACHI: Yeah.

TANABE: Umph. What is simple reason.

HACHI: What’s wrong is that?

TANABE: Nothing, it’s totally your style. It’s you.

HACHI: Hey, are your feet okay? Between dealing with the earth gravity and walking on the sand, I bet they’re getting pretty sore by now

TANABE: No, I’m fine really. Seven has plenty of centrifugal gravity. And I may be your junior up in space, but we both lived most of our lives here on Earth. Ah…

HACHI: Careful! You forgot you weren’t in zero-G, didn’t you?

TANABE: I’m sorry.


KYUTARO: 3, 2, 1, ignition!!

KYUTARO: Yeah! Go!!! That’s it! Keep going!!

YURI: It looks good. What’s your target altitude?

KYUTARO: Through the troposphere!

YURI: Oh, something came off.


YURI: It’s swerving out of control. I thinki something else is coming off [???].


KYUTARO: Oh, crap! It’s gonna rust!!



YURI: I suppose I won’t be wearing this again… Huh?


KYUTARO: Yuri! You aren’t hurt, are you?

KYUTARO: A compass? Was it important?

YURI: No, don’t worry about it Kyutaro. It was already broken and it hasn’t work for a long time.

HACHI: Hey! You were out here, too, Yuri?

YURI: Yeah, your brother and I were launching rockets together. If you’re here, Yuri, make sure those damn things fly right. That’s twice today that I was nearly certain I was gonna die.

YURI: He he, sorry about that. It looks like we didn’t reconfigure the guidance commands sufficiently.




HACHI: Is it just me, or does he eat more than Dad?

MOM: He sure does. Even when it’s just the two of us, I still cook for four. At least it’s appreciated it.

HACHI: Oh, c’mon, Kyuta, at least take off that school uniform while you’re eating. And why the hell are you wearing a uniform during winter vacation, anyway? It doesn’t even fit you, for crying out loud! You’ve got the sleeves rolled up!

KYUTARO: Hey, get off my case! I’m gonna eat like this till I make my body fit into it, okay?!

HACHI: You look like one of those poor young soldiers from history.

MOM: Yuri, you don’t listen to Rakugo, do you?

YURI: Rakugo?

MOM: That’s right. It’s Japanese traditional comical speech.

YURI: It sounds very interesting.

YURI: It was already broken and hasn’t worked for a long time.

KYUTARO: Why would he carry something around if it was broken?


HACHI: Hoshino’s residence. Oh, just you, Fee.

FEE: Gee, nice to see you, too. Hachi, what happened to the bridge of your nose?

HACHI: It got hit by a rocket.

FEE: Huh?

HACHI: Don’t worry about it. So, what’s up?

FEE: I have great news. We got ourselves a brand-new spaceship. A new one, fresh out of the wrapper! Can you believe it?

HACHI: Seriously?!

FEE: Cross my heart, Hachi. Well, I am the heroine who saved space, you know. It’s probably my reward for that.

HACHI: Get over yourself.

FEE: I’m sending you some images and the specs, so you can look 'em over. Here they come. We’re gonna start ship-handling simulations next week, so do me a favor to tell the others. They’re with you, right?

HACHI: Yeah, I’ll pass it along.

FEE: Well, I’ll leave it to you, then.

HACHI: Sure. Give my best to your husband and Al. See you up in space.


HACHI: I see… Kyutaro, that compass… It belonged to Yuri’s late wife. Yuri’s wife died on a space flight. The reason Yuri became a debris hauler was so that he could find that compass which he finally did after six years, and you just destroyed it. Get out there now. He said he was going to the beach. Apologizing won’t fix that compass, but do it, anyway. Give up on those rockets of yours. They cause nothing but trouble. Space isn’t the fun, happy place you think it is. People sometimes die up there. It’s not a game for irresponsible little brats like you!

KYUTARO: Screw you!

MOM: Oops, there they go.

HACHI: Okay, now you’ve pissed me off!

KYUTARO: No to-be astronaut who’s all talk is gonna call my rockets a game!

HACHI: You runt! Don’t get so cocky over launching a stupid rocket that doesn’t even fly straight!

KYUTARO: Look who’s talking! You’re not exactly heading straight for your target! When are you finally getting that spaceship of yours?!

HACHI: You’ve got other responsibilities when you’re an adult, you know!

KYUTARO: Responsibilities, my ass! You’re waiting because you’re scared! You know it!

HACHI: What do you mean I’m waiting?!

KYUTARO: You talk the talk, but you settled and got complacent the first chance you got!

HACHI: What would you know about it, runt?!

KYUTARO: Don’t call me a runt! The only thing you ever beat me at was being born first!

HACHI: Ha! That’s so cute.


TANABE: Shouldn’t we go [in there and try???] to stop them?

MOM: Don’t worry. They’ll be fine. The good thing about the men in this family is that they won’t die even if you kill them.


MOM: But you know what? Turns out [that???] that’s a very important thing in life.


MOM: Tanabe, my dear. You can always spot a good astronaut. They’re the ones who come home safe, no matter what.


KYUTARO: Don’t screw with me! There’s no way a… half-assed astronaut like you… is ever gonna beat me!

MOM: He’s gotten stronger, hasn’t he, dear?

HACHI: Crap… I let my guard down.

KYUTARO: I’m not a kid because I wanna be one, you jerk!!



KYUTARO: Hey, Yuri!

YURI: Kyutaro. What’s the matter? Are you planning a nighttime launch?

KYUTARO: Um… About your compass…

YURI: Hmm… Just now, I was reminiscing about something. Back when I was 20 or so, I had more than a few things on my mind, and so I spent quite a lot of time wandering all over the Earth. I couldn’t figure out where in my life I should direct my abundant energy. It was because I was young. Well, it wasn’t only that. There were so many other things that I just didn’t understand. What is the “self"? And what is the “other"? What does “good" mean? What does “evil" mean? What is space? And what is the Earth? I walked and walked and walked, hoping that there would finally come an instant when the blinders would fall from my eyes. Having something in life that is beyond doubt is a truly wonderful thing. Don’t you agree, Kyutaro?

YURI: Hmm. See, my entire life was nothing but questions, I’d given anything to determine the answers. And so, wandering around like that, I came across an old man in North America who used to be a sailor. The stars were bright at that night. The old man threw his head back and laughed long and loud at my questions. He said to me, “Young man, you try too hard to put everything into clear and distinct categories."

YURI: Kyutaro, where do you think the true boundary is between the Earth and space?

KYUTARO: Um, well, there’s a sharp drop in atmospheric density up past 100km in the upper thermosphere. And then at 200km, there’s–

YURI: The way I see it, there isn’t one. No, there’s no boundary. Not a real one. There are no real boundaries in this world. And I think that is how it should be. To tell you the truth, I had always planned to quit being a debris hauler once I found this compass. Because aside from finding this, I had no real reason to stay in space. See, perhaps what the old man said to me that night was really the truth.

YURI: Being in space… The Earth… Guideposts… Those things don’t seem all that important. And so… You have my sincere thanks for breaking my compass.

TANABE: Sempai, you went too far!

HACHI: What do you mean?

TANABE: Look, right over there!



KYUTARO: Hmm… I don’t understand.

YURI: To be perfectly honest with you, I don’t really get it either. Hahahaha…


HACHI: What the hell are you doing out here at night?

YURI: Sorry, I lost track of time. C’mon, we should get back now. It’s cold. Kyutaro, would you mind doing me a little favor?



HACHI: Here.

TANABE: Thanks. That’s great.

YURI: Sorry I’m late.



HACHI: Damn it, Kyutaro’s rocket bug has gotten even worse since I’d been home. He was even fiddling around with it at the dinner!

YURI: Really.

ANNOUNCE: Attention please. We have completed our takeoff sequence. We are now beginning our atmospheric flight sequence, which will last until–

YURI: It should be any time now.

HACHI: For what? Do you see something down there? Hey, wait, isn’t that my neighborhood?

TANABE: Oh, how cool! Do you think we can see your house from up here?

YURI: He did it!



HACHI: Oh, man, that little maniac really did it…

TANABE: You know, Sempai, I think Kyutaro is amazing.

HACHI: If he keeps this up, people are gonna think he’s a terrorist…

YURI: Want to know what’s riding in its nose cone?

Hachi & TANABE: Huh?

YURI: I asked him to put my compass in there.

HACHI: Yuri? Something’s changed. You seem… different.


KYUTARO: No big deal. I’ll catch up with him soon enough.