第16話 イグニッション ／ Ignition
HACHI: Crap! Tanabe! Can you see me here?! If you can see me, answer! Please respond! Anyone! Is anybody out there?! Anybody! Please come in! I’m right over here! Please! Anybody, I’m over here! Somebody, please help! Somebody!
YURI: Fee, it was a simple accident. Don’t blame yourself overly. The sun is at the peak of its eleven years cycle this year. And radio reception was bad to begin with. No one could have predicted that solar flare. And they couldn’t have done anything about it even if they had.
FEE: As ship’s captain, I’m responsible for losing track of my crew during EVA. I should’ve anticipated a comm blackout based on the plasma flow information in the space weather report. If I would’ve just called off both after jobs, and not just Tanabe and then Hachi…
YURI: Look Fee, he wasn’t exposed for all that long, you know. He might not have gotten the lethal dose of radiation.
TANABE: Oh, how is he?! Is he going to be all right?! Tell me please!
HACHI: They said that nothing was wrong.
HACHI: The doctor was totally shocked! I didn’t catch much radiation. He figured I must be floating between inner and outer of the Van Allen belts when the radiation was at its peak. Besides, I was lucky enough to be in a shadow when it hit. He said that most people would’ve had their nervous systems fried by high-speed particles! He complimented me on my dumb luck! Hehehe.
FEE: You’ve got some nerve to be laughing like that!
FEE: This whole mess happened because you missed your rendezvous with the target debris and went chasing after it like an idiot, right?! Kinda that’s not enough you let go of your lifeline!
HACHI: Yes, ma’am! I’m sorry!
FEE: You ignore my orders like that again, and I’m gonna leave you out there to join the debris, you got it?! Do you realize–
TANABE: Thank goodness… I’m so relieved… I thought you were going to die…
HACHI: Yeah, sorry for… for making you worry like that.
MAN: So, if that’s the case, there will be a vice president’s position opening up.
MAN: The top candidate is, well, probably you-know-who.
MAN: We certainly can’t complain about the Second Division’s performance record.
MAN: So, we’re finally going to make Dolf our “Vice President"?
NORMAN: You’re joking, right? Second Division owes its record to the fact that he ignores the rules whenever it suits him.
MAN: Well, he’s certainly expanded our business by being unconventional and breaking with tradition.
MAN: Yes, I’ll give him that. Still, we really can’t hope to build good relations with INTO using his methods.
NORMAN: Meaning, sir?
MAN: I’ll talk to the company president personally. Will your people have any objections?
MAN: Of course not. Banks are always on the side of harmony and order.
HACHI: You know, I’ve been thinking this thing was way beyond luck, if you know what I mean.
HACHI: You see, it’s obvious! it’s Space loves me! And I won’t die till I reach my life’s ambition!
TANABE: Yeah, sure.
HACHI: Hey, ask me what my life’s ambition is.
TANABE: To own a spaceship. You’ve told us that a million times.
HACHI: Look here. When a man’s talking about his dreams, you just sit back and listen–
WOMAN: Mr. Hoshino. Mr. Hachirota Hoshino.
HACHI: Yeah, that’s me. Are my discharge papers ready?
WOMAN: I’m sorry, but there’s one more test we need to run on you.
WOMAN: Would you mind going to the Sensory Deprivation Chamber?
[—Sensory Deprivation Chamber—]
HACHI: Damn… What the hell is all this about, anyway?
MAN: We’re aware for that “Sensory Deprivation Chamber" sounds ominous, but there’s nothing to be afraid of. It’s simply an large empty room. With one difference.
MAN: We’re ready to begin, Doctor.
MAN: All right, here goes.
HACHI: Fine. This is stupid. What am I a kid or something? As if an astronaut would be scared of something like this…
TANABE: This takes me back! I did this during my training! I couldn’t take it for more than 15 minutes at first. And when I heard that you have to stay in for 6 hours to get your EVA license, I nearly passed out right there.
MAN: His heart rate is climbing.
MAN: It’s only been minutes.
MAN: His perspiration is increasing as blood pressure is climbing, too.
MAN: I thought so. When I read through the incident report, I became worried that this might be the case. It’s a condition that rarely turns up in EVA workers. He was floating alone in space, cut off from all communication. The terror he felt then has been burned into his body. It’s Spatial Loss Disorder. The symptom are an increase in blood pressure, rapid breathing, panic, disorientation, and sometimes even intense hallucinations. If it’s left untreated, it’s a fatal blow to an astronaut’s career.
HACHI: That guy is full of crap! He’s nothing but a quack! It was right after work, so I was tired that day! I hadn’t eaten anything, either! They’ll slap a name on anything and call it a disease!
FEE: Hachimaki, you’re spitting your food.
HACHI: Yeah, well, I’m ready this time! I’ll stay in that room until I’m dead from starvation! I’ll show that quack! Right! I’ll be back.
TANABE: Do you think Sempai’s gonna be okay?
YURI: Hachi’s got a psychological problem. Whether or not he recovers is up to him.
FEE: Yeah, well, with his spirit, I think he’ll be just fine. Hach is an optimist.
TANABE: I guess you’re right. I mean Sempai is just not that fragile a person.
YURI: No. But, what Hachimaki is is an EVA specialist. If he’s got Spatial Loss Disorder, his license will be revoked.
TANABE: Ugh, revoked?! Really?
YURI: He’ll never be able to go out into space again. He has to be terrified of that possibility.
[—Sensory Deprivation Chamber—]
HACHI: What the–? My ears! The sound It’s inside… my head! The wall is… Where’s the wall?! Son of a bitch!
MAN: Get me Sea of Tranquility General Hospital on the phone, and hurry!
MAN: I knew it. Space Loss Disorder.
HAKIM: So, Claire, I hope Hoshino’s rehabilitation is coming along smoothly.
CLAIRE: He’s getting medication and mental treatment on the moon. But I…
HAKIM: I’m not optimistic about his chances. It’s all in his head, you know.
HAKIM: Are you worried about him?
CLAIRE: I’m just… we’re colleagues. That’s all.
PHILIPPE: So, Lavie, how did everything go?
LAVIE: The other departments should be able to change their schedules to cover for us.
PHILIPPE: Good. Should we go ahead and send Fee and Yuri to the moon, then?
LAVIE: I suppose so. But we’re not gonna be able to take a break like everyone else.
CHENG-SHIN: Yuri, you’re going to the moon, right?
YURI: Right. Hachimaki’s gonna taking his reinstatement test this weekend.
CHENG-SHIN: If you wouldn’t mind, could you deliver this to him?
CHENG-SHIN: It’s a care package. We all pitched in. He probably doesn’t want to see anybody right now. Tell him it’s from all of us.
YURI: He’ll like that.
GIGALT: He is, huh? I had heard about it from Hakim, but this sounds bad.
FEE: Yeah, maybe. Tanabe’s staying with him.
GIGALT: Space Loss Disorder is a psychological illness. He might never get over it.
FEE: I know. Depending on the test, he might be sent back to Earth. Hachi won’t be happy, but we would have no choice.
GIGALT: I see. I’m no doctor, but I know something that’d do help.
GIGALT: We can at least give it a shot. If he’s a real astronaut, it should work better than any stupid rehabilitation. But if it doesn’t, I won’t have any other choice. I’ll give him his dismissal papers myself. I’ll have him… I love have Hachimaki go back down to Earth for good.
TANABE: Oh, Sempai, I ran into the ninjas on my way over here. They say they have jobs now. At that big test site over on the dark side of the moon. You know, where they’re building and testing the Von Braun’s engine.
ANNOUNCE: Mr. Hachirota Hoshino of room 204, preparations for your testing are now complete. Please report to the Sensory Deprivation Chamber. Mr. Hachirota Hoshino of room 204–
HACHI: I’ve been in rehab for two weeks. I’ll be fine this time.
HACHI: Don’t worry, I’ll be okay.
NONO: Hachimaki? Time for your test?
HACHI: Yeah. See ya, the ah… Doctor’s waiting.
TANABE: Sorry about that, Nono. We’ll talk after the test is over.
NONO: Uh-huh. Tests are really important.
[—Sensory Depreciation Chamber—]
ANNOUNCE: Let’s begin.
HACHI: Yeah! I’ve taken my medicine. I’ve been through rehab. I’m rested up, too. There’s no way I can possibly fail a simple test like this.
HACHI: Ah?! The sea? Where? That’s me! Then, this is–Ahhh-
HACHI: What is this? What is all this?! All right. I’m… Now I remember… I’m an astronaut. A debris hauler. Who’s there?!
HACHI(PHANTOM): You felt it, didn’t you? Or you were drifting in that radiation storm.
HACHI: What do you mean?
HACHI(PHANTOM): “I might die out here. “But that thought actually came as a relief, didn’ it?
HACHI: What’re you talking about?
HACHI: “If a man puts his mind to it, he can buy a spaceship or marry!"
MAN: “Hey, is that guy? The idiot who says he’s gonna buy a ship?"
GIRL: “Did you buy yourself a spaceship yet?"
TANABE: “I thought you said you were gonna work hard until you had your own spaceship! Isn’t getting a spaceship your dream, Sempai?"
HACHI(PHANTOM): You know, don’t you? You know a lowly junk jockey like you will never get together enough to get his own spaceship.
HACHI: Don’t tell me what I can’t do! I will to get one.
HACHI: “I understand. It’s all clear now. A measly debris collector could work for decades and still not be able to buy a real spaceship of his own. It’s hopeless." “Is me buying a spaceship that funny to you? " “I haven’t even gotten my spaceship yet. “
HACHI(PHANTOM): Hahahaha… The reason you kept spouting that crap was because you wanted to stay in your own little dream world, right?
HACHI: Screw you! I’ve not done yet!
HACHI(PHANTOM): Having dreams that are too big will ruin a man. Even you have to realize that. That’s right. You’ve seen it. You’ve seen it with your own eyes, and how it always ends. You’ve heard the expression “know your limitations," haven’t you?
CHENG-SHIN: “They’re finally gonna let me start carrying people. “
COLIN: “Let it go. You’re showing off your inferiority complex. “
KYUTARO: “You talk the talk, but you settled and got complacent the first chance you got! “
HACHI(PHANTOM): You can’t bear to fight your way through any more, so now you’re finally starting to look for an excuse.
HACHI: Me? And an excuse?! Not me! No way!
HACHI(PHANTOM): It’s true. This sickness of yours is exactly what you wanted.
HACHI: You’re me. Families? Why the hell are you showing me this? “My love! “
HACHI: Tanabe? “Living alone and dying alone… Alone… How can he be satisfied with that? It’s stupid. “
HACHI(PHANTOM): Tanabe is quite a pretty, isn’t she? It’s not so bad. No, it doesn’t sound too bad at all. Go down to Earth, get married, grow old.
HACHI: Shut up!
HACHI(PHANTOM): Hahaha… You won the right to look up at the lights in the night sky and say, “If it wasn’t for that sickness, I’d still be up there living my dream. I didn’t give up or anything. It’s really not my fault. It was because of that accident. If it wasn’t for that, I’d have my space ship-“
TANABE: “So, give me a straight answer! “
HACHI: “Is it just me, or does he eat more than Dad? “
HACHI(PHANTOM): It’s for the best, really.
HACHI: Like hell it is, now shut up!
HACHI(PHANTOM): Admit it. Make it easier and just apologize for lying to yourself.
HACHI: Shut up! Shut up!
HACHI(PHANTOM): The real truth is that space might not love you, but it will forgive you.
HACHI: Shut the hell up!
MAN: Get a medical team in here!
TANABE: You sure get depressed easily, you know that? And after all those speeches you’ve given to me. Still, you’re able to stay in there longer now, right? The rehab must be working. You were in there a whole 20 minutes today. By the way, I got a message from Fee and Yuri today. They’re in Sea of Tranquility City right now, so they should be here soon. Sempai, maybe it would be better if you went back to Earth. You could breathe fresh air and tackle this nice and slowly. You don’t have to worry about things. I can handle the Fishbone while you’re away. I mean, I think I have gotten pretty good at the job now thanks to you. It’s okay, space isn’t going anywhere. There’s always gonna be lots of debris that will need to be brought in. Sempai? Sempai!
FEE: That’s right, Hachirota Hoshino. He’s been checked in here for about half a month now.
TANABE: Oh, Yuri!
YURI: You’ve got a great timing. We were just getting ready to–
TANABE: It’s Sempai! I can’t find him anywhere. He’s missing!
ANNOUNCE: Attention, attention. This is a page for Mr. Hoshino of room 204. That’s Hachirota Hoshino of room 204. Mr. Hoshino, please come to the reception desk at once. You have a guest meeting.
TANABE: Hey, Nono! Have you seen Hachimaki anywhere?
NONO: Uh-huh. Is something wrong?
TANABE: He’s missing!
TANABE: He hasn’t gone through the main gate, so I’m pretty sure he’s still in the hospital somewhere. What is it? Do you know where he might be?
NONO: I wonder if he is. Maybe he’s over there.
[—Surface of the moon—]
HACHI: She’s gotta be kidding with that! I won’t get better if I have to do it back down on the Earth.
HACHI: God damn it. I just wanna stay in space. No way am I gonna let everything I’ve worked for go down the tubes. I won’t!
TANABE: You’ve gotta stop this, Sempai! Sempai, please!
HACHI: I’ll never go into space again…
FEE: Is this suicide? Or some kind of special training?
HACHI: Screw you!
FEE: I seem to recall an astronaut who died out here on the surface of the moon. Well, maybe that’s better than living with a lifetime of angst and regret. Still, you aren’t in such a hurry to die that you can’t put up with a little friendly meddling from your teammates, are you?
FEE: It took a lot of doing to get these visitor’s permits. Gigalt suggested that this might be just what the doctor ordered in your case.
HACHI: He said that?
HAKIM: Glad you could make it, Hoshino.
FEE: Thanks a lot for going through all this trouble.
HAKIM: No, don’t mention it. We’re both students of the Gigalt School.
FEE: Feast your eyes on this, Hachi. Just a little something to take with you to the afterlife. This is the tandem mirror nuclear fusion engine. The most powerful engine ever built.
YURI: It uses the deuterium-helium 3 fusion reaction to generate thrust. The high-speed charged particles generated inside the fusion chamber are controlled by means of magnetic fields, and are released along with propellant from its nozzle in back. It has a specific impulse that’s about 10,000 times greater than our own ship’s.
FEE: This is the main engine that will be mounted in the Jupiter explorer, the Von Braun.
YURI: If we can use this to develop the Jovian system, it will make a great fuel supply center. It won’t be too long before astronauts are really gonna have their hands full. The solar system is going to change. At times like this, the world needs fools.
FEE: It needs people like you, Hachi.
HACHI(PHANTOM): You seem relaxed today. Well, then, what have you decided you’re going to do?
HACHI: You’re wrong. I’m really not any different than I was before. No, wait. Maybe I have changed. See, something occurred to me. Maybe the engineers who built that engine also had to fight their own personal demons in order to achieve their goals, moving through the darkness, blind and groping along, just trying to find their way, I bet they all went through that same experience that I just did. Even Tsiolkovsky. And Goddard. And Oberth. And Von Braun. In a way, once I swore to myself that I’d fight you my whole life, I knew l’d see the light eventually.
HACHI(PHANTOM): I’ll go for now. But don’t let your guard down, Hachimaki. I might come back when you least expect me.
[—Sensory Deprivation Chamber—]
ANNOUNCE: Test complete.
TANABE: Sempai! Sempai!
HACHI: You do that. I’ll be ready for you.