第17話 それゆえの彼 ／ His Reasons
MONOLOGUE: Abandoned artificial satellites. Tanks jettisoned from shuttles. Refuse generated during space station construction. This vast amount of junk floating in space, space debris, is a very serious threat to everything in orbit. This is a story of 2075, a time in which this space debris has become a major problem.
GIGALT: So, why me?
LOCKSMITH: Well, sir, we went to his hotel, but he’d already given us the slip. l thought that he might go to his old friend from his pioneering days for help.
GIGALT: Sorry to disappoint you, but I haven’t seen that scruffy face of his for three years now. LOCK: Oh, you haven’t? I’m told he can be a bit whimsical, so perhaps he’s gone back to the moon or maybe in IsPV-5…
MAN: We have to go, sir.
LOCKSMITH: Yes, I know. Well, if you find out where he is, please contact my main office at this number. l hope you’ll be able to help.
GIGALT: The coast is clear. You can come out now.
GORO: Sorry to make you hide me from like that, Gigalt.
GIGALT: Don’t worry about it. We used to steal sausages together on Mars, remember?
GORO: Wow, that takes me back…
GIGALT: So, why don’t you wanna go to Jupiter?
GORO: You kidding me? Do you have any idea how many years that’ll take?
GIGALT: They said it would be about 7.
GORO: Geez, those guys don’t know when to give up. Besides, if they keep at it… If they keep pestering me and I start wanting to go on this Jovian explorer of theirs, then what the hell am I gonna do?
HACHI: That engine can go all the way to Jupiter… More powerful than a motorcycle, more powerful than a plane. Way… way… way more… Yeah… I’ve gotta do everything I can while I’m still able.
TANABE: Oh, so this is where have you been, Sempai! Sempai? Boo!!
HACHI: Ugha–! What the hell did you do that?
TANABE: I tried to get your attention.
HACHI: Wait a minute, you did?
TANABE: Uh… I see you doing some more running?
HACHI: Well… for an astronaut I really don’t have very good endurance, they said I focused too much on weight and not enough on stamina.
TANABE: That doesn’t mean that you need to run on your day off
HACHI: You’re one to talk, what’re you doing at the office on your day off?
TANABE: Our date! Vega’s new shuttle model is coming in, so we were gonna look at it together?
HACHI: Oh, right… sorry, I’ll just go get ready!
TANABE: Don’t bother. It’s already gone.
HACHI: Ah… really? I’m sorry…
TANABE: Why’s he so worried. He’s got more than enough endurance to be a debris hauler. He knows that. You know it’s not like he’s going out for the Olympics. I don’t know how he could blow off our date like that.
LUCIE: Just sleep with him already. You two haven’t done yet, have you?
TANABE: B-but Lucie, we’ve only been going out for a month and a half! And he had Space Lost Disorder for a month of that.
LUCIE: XXX Tanabe, you might think that it’s only been a month and a half. But he might think it’s already been a month and a half.
TANABE: Yeah but…
LUCIE: I’m not telling you to give it away or anything, but don’t you think you should seal the deal soon?
MAN: C’mon, one more bar, just one. What’s the big deal…
CHENG-SHIN: So, I might have an easier time trying out for the Olympic games.
MAN: Is it that hard to get picked for… uh… what’s it called again?
HACHI: It’s called “The Von Braun", the Jovian explore.
MAN: To get picked for the Von Braun?
CHENG-SHIN: Developing Jupiter will have great significance for humanity, you know? If you’re one of those first crew members, your name will go down in the history books.
HACHI: All humanity, huh? I guess he’s right…
MAN: Hey Hachimaki! Here’s to your safe return!
HACHI: Oh, thanks a lot! I appreciate it.
MAN: Oh c’mon, man, this party here is for you, bunny boy.
MAN: Hey, how many people are gonna try out for that ship?
CHENG-SHIN: Just counting the in-house applications including the ones from all our group companies, it’s more than thousand.
HACHI: So what’re you gonna do if you pass the test, Cheng-shin?
CHENG-SHIN: I don’t get what you mean.
HACHI: You’ll be gone for seven years, right? What about your family or girlfriend?
CHENG-SHIN: Well… my parents are one thing, but having a girlfriend would make it tricky. How could you ask a girl to wait for you for seven years?
HACHI: Yeah, I hadn’t thought of that… It never occurred to me that you couldn’t take either one with you…
CLAIRE: Well, this is the last time I’ll be coming here.
CLAIRE: It seems I’ve been replaced. They said I’ve been making too many mistakes lately.
MAN: Paging Technora…
CLAIRE: They’re finally calling for me.
HAKIM: Can I ask you something?
HAKIM: That thing you said a little while back. “I’ll never be one of the nobility. " What did you mean by that?
MAN: Paging Technora!
CLAIRE: I meant that no matter how good the meal, I would never be able to enjoy it. The truth is the peasants who prepared are starving.
MAN: Technora! Paging Technora!
CLAIRE: Even though, for so long, I’ve worked so hard to become one.
MAN: So, it all hinges on the tandem mirror engine?
MAN: Didn’t I warn you about this? I told you that using a new engine system would be a best risky!
MAN: We should have made do with an older engine model with a proven record.
LADY: Perhaps, but we all know that he would never have gone along with it.
MAN: You mean Locksmith?
MAN: There’s no denying his brilliance, but he seems to act on his own authority far too often.
LADY: I think we need to put a bell on him.
MAN: Yes, I think you’re right. One that is completely disposable.
MAN: If that the case, I think I have the perfect candidate.
MAN: A fool will cause us… a lot of trouble.
MAN: Not to worry, the man is very capable. But he doesn’t know the meaning of the word harmony. I’ll admit that he showed some skill in stabilizing his division’s performance, but if we keep him any longer, he’ll bring us nothing but trouble.
CHAPOU: Huh? Hey, there was a Mr. Nora here. Where did it go?
LADY: I don’t know. I think it was here this morning.
CHAPOU: Well, that’s just great. Our section is in charge of that thing.
LOCKSMITH: Good afternoon, ladies. Where might I find Debris Section?
LADY: The Debris Section?
LOCKSMITH: Yes, I’m looking for a Hachirota Hoshino. He’s in Debris Section, right?
LADY: Let’s see… Ah, yes, sir, here he is. Just a moment, I’ll page him.
LOCKSMITH: That’s all right. I’ll go in person. Just print out the directions how to get there.
LADY: Yes, sir.
LOCKSMITH: Look, we have that second engine to gather data on its output threshold values, not just the theoretical values either. Try increasing the output to just short of the danger zone.
MAN: But sir, if we break it, responsibility will have to be assigned.
LOCKSMITH: Of course. I’ll take full responsibility for everything.
CORRESPONDENCE: Verifying space weather report. No solar activity watches or warnings have been issued at this time. No departure raise–
CLAIRE: I’m here to conduct the flight crew check.
CHENG-SHIN: You are?
CLAIRE: So, I take it that the rest of the is on board yet?
CHENG-SHIN: Isn’t the flight crew check a job for new employees?
CLAIRE: I’ve been a lot of making mistakes that even new employees wouldn’t make. So, I can’t really blame them.
LAVIE: Come on, everybody, give me a hand with these.
FEE: Hey, you’re the one who said you’d do it, Lavie?
LAVIE: Well, the chief of Publilc Relations Section asked me to .
FEE: Yeah, like I’m gonna help you look better to the managers.
TANABE: Sempai, are you doing anything later today? You wanna go to this with me? They’re having a Japanese food fair at the Spica.
HACHI: And it’s starting today?
TANABE: They even have a tonkatsu. And they say, you can even have the food brought up to your room if you want.
HACHI: Uh… Sure, why not?
LOCKSMITH: Hello, excuse me. You wouldn’t happen to be Hachirota Hoshino, would you?
HACHI: Yeah, that’s me.
LOCKSMITH: My name is Werner Locksmith. I’m the director of the Jupiter Exploration project.
HACHI: You’re Dr. Locksmith? The designer of the Von Braun? The developer of the tandem mirror engine?
LOCKSMITH: I guess, I am.
HACHI: I actually saw your tandem mirror engine! It totally brew me away!!
LOCKSMITH: Thank you. I’m glad to hear it. Incidentally, your father wouldn’t happen to be around here, would he?
HACHI: Wait, you mean… my dad?
HACHI: I’m sorry, but I haven’t seen my dad in quite a few years. He didn’t do something, did he? That old man of mine has a screw loose.
LOCKSMITH: No, not at all. Your father’s talents are almost legendary.
TANABE: Really? They are?
LOCKSMITH: Yes, Goro Hoshino is famous for having made 5 successful earth to mars as chief engineer on several ships that used traditional circuit coil fusion engines.
TANABE: Oh wow! I had no idea that your father was such a great man, sempai.
LOCKSMITH: We’re about to wrap up the engine tests for my Von Braun, but the magnetohydrodynamic regulator system is still rather unstable, which is why I need your father’s experience and intuition on my team. Your father will be indispensable for this project. You’re certain that he isn’t here.
HACHI: No, he isn’t here.
LOCKSMITH: I can’t seem to track him down. I’m sorry to have bothered you.
HACHI: Uh… hold on, wait a sec.
LAVIE: Wow! To think that such a big shot paid our office a visit.
GORO: Are they gone?
TANABE: It’s alive
HACHI: What’s gotten into you? Somebody’s obviously inside that thing.
TANABE: But, who could it be?
HACHI: Geez, I should’ve known.
GORO: Hey! So how the hell you have been, dumb son 'o mine?
GORO: Well, I got tired of playing cat and mouse with those guys on the moon, so I came all the way back here to hide on Earth orbit. Good grief, those guys are persistent.
YURI: Welcome to Debris Section. I’ve heard stories about you from Gigalt sensei.
GORO: Hehe… Call me Goro. Nice to meet’cha!
FEE: You just go ahead and make yourself at home.
TANABE: Oh… um… How do you do? I’m honored. My name is Ai Tanabe. You know, Hachima– er, I mean, Hoshino Sempai has been taking me under his wing.
GORO: Oh, so you’re taking care of a cute little thing like her, are you?
HACHI: Keep your comments to yourself, you sleazy geezer!
GORO: Hey, is that any way to speak to your father, you little brat?
HACHI: Why don’t you try acting like one for once in your life?! And why are you trying to dodge these guys? You should take the position on the Von Braun!
GORO: Why would I go and do a damn fool thing like that?
HACHI: Are you kidding? Jupiter’s a treasure trove of deuterium and helium! That’s why. If we can tap into that, it’ll mean a limitless supply of energy for humanity into the 22nd Century! If you call yourself a man, you can’t pass that up!
HACHI: What the hell is so funny?!
GORO: Oh, nothing. Really nothing at all.
HACHI: Geez, you’re one annoying old fart.
GORO: You know, I’ve had enough of all this. I’m heading back down to Earth. Face it, this whole “fate of humanity" thing is a young man’s game. Not interested.
MAN: We already did a threshold test on the #2 engine.
KOGENTA: Yeah, all they say that Chief Locksmith wants us to do it one more time.
BENI UKON: That guy is one self-centered boss.
MAN: We shouldn’t complain. Let’s get back to work.
JIRAIYA: Right, we should just be grateful that they even hired us, you know.
KOGENTA: You have a point. And the research team is here, so there’ll probably be food for us.
CLAIRE: I’ve been removed as the OSA liaison, too. I was even threatened with a demotion to half Section.
CHENG-SHIN: There’s no shame in working in the Debris Section. Even Hachi–
CLAIRE: Hachi is an unique thoroughbred. He can stay true to himself anywhere.
CHENG-SHIN: It’s true that Hachi’s father is a famous space engineer, but you can’t blame Hachi for that.
CLAIRE: I’m a child of immigrants, and I couldn’t even read until I was eight years old. You can’t blame me for that, either. The lives you guys who are given are different from the life I was given. And whose fault you suppose is that?
HARUKO: So, you’re planning to come back next month, then?
GORO: Yeah, I’ve got a posting on Earth as an instructor at an astronaut training academy.
HARUKO: Goodness, you actually sound like you mean it, Goro. Are you serious about retiring this time?
GORO: I am. Dead serious. And You have my word on that.
HARUKO: I sweared to the stars, it amazes even me that I can wait for a husband who doesn’t even come home once a year.
GORO: I know, and I’m sorry.
HARUKO: You know, No one would blame me if I went out and had an affair or two, now would they?
GORO: Yes, dear, you’re absolutely right as always.
HARUKO: Well, I’ll be waiting, but I won’t be holding my breath. Mind your health, all right?
GORO: Sure, you take care. I love you. I’ll call you again soon. Bye.
HACHI: Considering how long you’ve left her alone, you’ve got a lot of balls, saying “I love you" like that.
GORO: You shouldn’t listen to conversations between a husband and his wife.
HACHI: You’re turning down the Von Braun because you want to shack up with Mom? You’re choosing a woman over a space after all these years?
GORO: Yeah, that’s right. I really do love your mother.
HACHI: And here I always thought that space always came first with you!
GORO: Hmm? Aha! Oh, now I get it, you son of mine. You missed me, is that it?
HACHI: Damn it! This is Jupiter we’re talking about! A limitless supply of energy is just waiting to be tapped! Do you have any idea how important this is for humanity?! What’s funny?
GORO: A wise man once said, “Earth is the cradle of humanity, but one cannot live in a cradle forever. " Know who said that?
HACHI: Yeah, that’s a quote from Tsiolkovsky.
GORO: That’s right. A fine little quote from the father of space flight himself.
HACHI: I don’t understand why you’re doing this? Jupiter is–
GORO: Hachirota, you’re being suckered in. That’s simple quote of Tsiolkovsky’s great lie.
HACHI: His what?
GORO: That old geezer dreamed of the stars at the dawn of the 20th Century, and to make that dream come about, he lied to us. Old that Sempai of ours was a clever all right. He got all of humanity to think that his personal dream was their own goal! And I came up here into space because I wanted to. I’m going back down because I’m tired of it. Space is never gonna be developed by guys who are afraid to put their own dreams first.
MAN: The dark side of the moon?
MAN: They say it might be the tandem mirror engine! They’re getting confirmation now!
GORO: Wonder what’s up?
MAN: Seismograph readings are off the scale.
LUCIE: Our flight’s departure will be delayed until we’ve made sure it is safe to proceed.
MAN: Sounds like there’s been an accident. LADY: Yes, on the moon…
MAN: They don’t know when we’ll be able to leave!
ANNOUNCE: Laser transmission from lunar surface! They’re requesting emergency assistance from the OSA and all Earth-orbit branches!
LOCKSMITH: I understood. Very good That was an excellent work. Go ahead and shut it down. Here you, though, thanks. We’ll have to postpone our attempts to recruit Mr. Hoshino. Make arrangements for a press conference.
MAN: A press conference, sir?
LOCKSMITH: There’s been an incident during the threshold test on the #2 engine. I’m afraid the researchers are probably all dead. I’m sure we’re looking at huge losses in both money and personnel. This happened as the result of my orders, so I am responsible. And so, I have to hold a press conference and explain my actions to the world. After that, I guess I’ll have to go see the top brass and be yelled at for a while…
MAN: I’m sorry to hear that.
LOCKSMITH: Me, too.
MAN: So, you were an indispensable part of the Jupiter project.
LOCKSMITH: Huh? Hey, wait. Are you worried that I’m gonna be fired? Oh, don’t you worry yourselves about me. The brass that run this company wouldn’t replace me if I blew two or three labs to smithereens. Why do you think that is? Hm? 'Cause I’m a genius, a man totally incapable of loving anything but a coldhearted technology or spaceships.
HACHI: There was an accident?
TANABE: Yes, Sempai.
YURI: It’s the tandem mirror engine… There’s been a meltdown.
FEE: It’s the same one that we saw last time we were there.
HACHI: It blew up?!
LAVIE: Hey, Chief! Hurry up! We’ve got in eight minutes! Edel, make sure we have all the paperwork!
PHILIPPE: Well, we’re off to the emergency meeting! We’ll fill you in later.
LAVIE: Hurry, hurry!
PHILIPPE: Does my hair look all right?
LAVIE: It’s fine!
TANABE: Look, a press conference is about to ready to start.
GORO: Well, this should be interesting. “Locksmith," I thought that youngster’s name or something else. How’s he gonna take the blame for this? With all its Technora backing, the Von Braun might be in trouble, too. But with any luck, it’ll just push back the completion date.
LOCKSMITH: Yes, understandably all our efforts are currently focused on the search and rescue operations for the 324 missing personnel.
MAN: Do you have an explanation for the structural defect in the MHD regulator? And how long would you be known about it?
MAN: It took you five hours–
MAN: I must insist that you ask question…
FACILITATOR: Please raise your hand first! I’ll call on you!
MAN: Since you’re a charge of this project, are you admitting it was your fault?
FACILITATOR: Silence, please! Can I please have some silence!
TANABE: It sure is chaotic down there.
YURI: It goes to show just how serious this is.
FEE: I bet the moon is gonna be swarming with debris…
MAN: Estimates place the total losses at two trillion. How do you intend to take responsibility for that?
LOCKSMITH: I’m satisfied with the data we obtained from the engine that exploded.
LOCKSMITH: The next one won’t fail. Rest assured on that.
LOCKSMITH: Good day.
FACILITATOR: I’m sorry, but there will be no further questions–
ANCHOR: That was live from the press conference. Repeating our top story, reports of massive explosion at the New Alamagordo test site on the…
TANABE: He is horrible! A whole lot of people were just killed! And he’s gonna try to continue testing like nothing happened?! I can’t believe that guy! Right, Sempai?
GORO: Look, you’re gonna call me a liar, and you’ve got every right, too. Say, there’s a ship that I wanna crew. She’s still under construction, but I think she’ll be a real beauty. Once she is–
HARUKO: Well, isn’t that just fine and dandy?! I suppose I half expected this from you, anyway. By all means, have all your fun!
GORO: Damn… She hung up on me.
HACHI: So, you’re gonna take the job, then?
GORO: That stuffy youngster… Name of Locksmith, he says… He’s an interesting one, lack of humanity aside, he didn’t make the slightest effort to hide how self-centered he is. A heartless bastard like that is gonna do some fine work.
HACHI: He’s self-centered…
GORO: Well, I guess that means that there isn’t that much difference between him and me. We’re just a couple of sad creatures who’ll stop at nothing to feed our hunger for space.
[—Storage at Debris Section—]
TANABE: You haven’t gone home yet, Sempai? You know, your father left already. You didn’t even see him off. You two must be on bad terms.
GORO: “Space is never gonna be developed by guys who are afraid to put their own dreams first. “
HACHI: Listen, Tanabe.
HACHI: The name they gave the Jupiter explorer is the Wernher Von Braun, right? And Locksmith is the one who gave it that name.
TANABE: Yes, so?
HACHI: Von Braun was a brilliant German scientist who developed a revolutionary new rocket weapon called the V-2 under Nazi sponsorship during World War ll. When they finished that rocket which would take so many lives, one of Von Braun’s associates turned to him and said something. “Today marks the birth of the spaceship. “About twenty years and a new country later, Von Braun sent the first men on the way to the moon on his giant Saturn rocket.
TANABE: What’s your point?
HACHI: I think… I’m the same kind of man he was.
TANABE: Well, okay then, I guess I’m gonna go put these away.
LOCKSMITH: The screening for the crew will continue according to schedule. The first round of tests will be held on Earth, so there won’t be any problems.
MAN: But, sir…
LOCKSMITH: Even if groups opposing the project turn up, as long as they don–
MAN: Director! We just received a message from astronaut Hoshino.
LOCKSMITH: He contacted us?
MAN: Yes. The message says that he will accept the chief engineer’s position!
LOCKSMITH: Hahahaha… Well, that takes care of my chief engineer! But, I’m still short on key EVA personnel. This fellow would make an excellent choice, … but he’ll be dead before the Von Braun gets underway.