第20話 “ためらいがちの” / “Tentative Steps”
MONOLOGUE: It has been a little more than a century since the historical Apollo 11 moon landing. People, energy, garbage, and many other things have all begun to spread out into space. And behind the scenes, the economic and technological gap between the countries of the world has also spread wider. It is at a time such as this that the Von Braun, mankind’s first manned explorer to Jupiter, is about to set sail, carrying with it humanity’s hopes and dreams for the future.
[—Space Port / Test site—]
HACHI: Gotta go faster. Gotta push harder. Gotta go further! That’s the kinda ship that the Von Braun is.
EXAMINER1: Wow! Did you see that vector change just now?
EXAMINER 2: Yeah. May didn’t he use hardly any propellant at all.
EXAMINER 1: Hachirota Hoshino… So far he’s made a clean sweep at the EVA tests. He worked in Technora’s Debris Section for four years and resigned last month. His remaining propellant, oxygen, and time are well above normal.
EXAMINER 2: His academics are weak, but I think this guy has the right stuff.
EXAMINER 1: Yeah.
MAN: Ah! Somebody stop me!
MAN: Just grab onto the bars!
WOMAN: Geez, my hair is really becoming a mess!
MAN: I told you to use hair spray.
WOMAN: Oh, look, it’s a life-size Nora! I’ve never seen one up close before.
MAN: Where’s Public Relations?
MAN: Look, it’s right here. Right below reception.
MAN: Wow, this place is big.
LUCIE: Oh, that’s right. Training’s over, and people are getting their new assignments.
SHABO: I wonder if we looked as wide-eyed as they do.
LUCIE: You realized it’s been a year already?
TANABE: It hardly seems like it’s been a whole year since I first arrived here. I wonder if I’ve matured as a person.
LAVIE: Hi! Welcome! Welcome! Welcome! Welcome! The wonderful Debris Section, the happy-go-working Debris Section, gives you a hearty, faithful, welcome! welcome! welcome!
TANABE: What in the world’s this about?
YURI: Our welcome for a new employee.
PHILIPPE: We’re sorry. When you were assigned here, we didn’t entirely expect that you’d actually show up.
LAVIE: New workers two years in a row! I must be dreaming!
TANABE: New employee? As a replacement for Sempai?!
PHILIPPE: Well, um… There are only so many sick and personal days that he can take.
YURI: But this new guy is just here to increase our staff, right?
LAVIE: That’s right. They value our services now as the courageous people who discovered that INTO mine.
FEE: Yeah, I’ll bet. Tanabe, have you heard anything from Hachimaki yet? The first round of testing is over.
LAVIE: He’ll be in an awkward position if he failed, won’t he?
PHILIPPE: I’d be glad to have Hachimaki back in any capacity no matter what. He wouldn’t commit suicide out of disgrace, would he?
LAVIE: Careful, Chief!
TANABE: He’ll be fine. Sempai isn’t that weak a person, you know.
LAVIE: That’s the new guy this time!
LAVIE: Get out of the doorway!
TANABE: Oh. Right!
LAVIE: Hi! Welcome! Welcome! The wonderful Debris Section, the happy-go-lucky Debris Section, gives you a hearty, faithful welcome! welcome! welcome! Huh? You’re that girl from…
YURI: Sorry, it’s our welcoming ceremony for new employees.
PHILIPPE: That’s right! We weren’t playing around or anything.
FEE: So, what’s up? Are you here to watch over us again?
CLAIRE: No. I’ve been assigned to work here at Debris Section. My name is Claire Rondo.
TANABE: So the new employee…
CLAIRE: I look forward to working with you all.
HAKIM: Mind if I throw this one in, too?
MAN: – Sure. I’ll take it.
HACHI: Hakim! The isolated environment test is about to start.
HAKIM: You must have a lot of time to spare, Hoshino. You came here just to tell me that?
HACHI: As if. Back during the first round, I beat out a friend of mine. I don’t care about anybody but myself.
HAKIM: Good to hear.
HAKIM: Neither do I.
DOLF: For the next ten days, you’ll be living inside in those isolation modules in teams of four. In this test, you’ll be evaluated as a team, not as an individual. If a single member of the team leaves the module before the ten days are up, the entire team will be disqualified.
HACHI: So, you want us to work as a team with total strangers, huh?
DOLF: All right, ladies and gentlemen, please find and enter your isolation modules through the airlock door that matches your test number. Very well, begin the test.
HACHI: 102, right.
HACHI: I’ll be. The test modules are exposed to space. I guess it’s better this way. It’ll keep us on our toes.
HACHI: You got here fast? I thought I’d be the first on board.
SALLY: I’m Sally Silverstone. I was a contract mission specialist to CalTech.
HACHI: Hi, my name is Hachirota Hoshino, Debris Hauler.
SALLY: “Hoshino”, huh?
LEONOV: Wow, I guess we’ve got ourselves a thoroughbred on the team! The name’s Leonov Norstein. I’m a system engineer on a supply transport.
HACHI: How do you do.
SALLY: Hey, isn’t there an engineer named Hoshino?
LEONOV: Chief engineer! Assigned to The Von Braun! I heard that Dr. Locksmith went out and recruited him personally.
HACHI: Yeah. He’s my old man.
LEONOV: Oh, wow, so you really are a thoroughbred!
HACHI: No, I’m not! I’m just me!
DOLF: Where is Dr. Locksmith?
MAN: He’s in the lab, making last-minute tweaks to the software. He said he might be there for a while.
MAN: Hard to believe that the guy responsible for coming up with a test like this isn’t gonna oversee it.
MAN: Shall we call off the test, then?
DOLF: No. There may be some ethical issues with this, but, we’re taking on Jupiter, so I suppose it isn’t too harsh. Keep a close eye on the safety checks. I don’t want any incidents
MAN: Yes, sir.
SALLY: One more to go. He is taking his time.
LEONOV: I don’t want any weak links with us. This is supposed to be a team effort. Good. He’s finally here.
HACHI: It’s you.
HAKIM: Hoshino, huh? We can’t seem to shake each other.
LEONOV: Wait, you two know each other?
DOLF: Fifteen minutes now elapsed. Any team whose members have not gathered in their designated module is disqualified.
LEONOV: Geez, that was close!
DOLF: For the next ten days, you will conduct the examination of water pressure and temperature inside the cabin, and simple health checks of each member. In addition, you’ll conduct physical fitness assessments and power system checks as well as periodic in-cabin radiation checks and magnetic calibration tests. These will be your daily duties aboard the Von Braun. Also, there is one more part to this test. Please note the blue box on the desk. You are to assemble the item in the box within the ten-day period. Remember. If even one team member should leave the module during the test period, the entire team will be failed. Finally, no outside communications will be possible during the test period. That is all.
LEONOV: You heard the man.
HACHI: Might as well open it up.
LEONOV: What is this?
HAKIM: Here are the plans.
SALLY: What is it?
HAKIM: It’s blueprints for a spaceship. Looks like it’s pretty big.
HACHI: Huh… It’s the Von Braun.
HACHI: A model of the Von Braun, you see this thing’s here? It’s a mirror coil.
LAVIE: So Chief, do you think she’s gonna work out?
PHILIPPE: Huh? You mean Claire? I can’t see why she wouldn’t. She supervised us when she was with Control Section, and she’s lived in space for three years. I’d rather have her than any of those new recruits–
LAVIE: That’s not what I meant! Don’t you remember? Claire is Hachimaki’s old girlfriend! His old girlfriend is all alone with his current one. Something will happen, mark my words!
PHILIPPE: His current one?
LAVIE: Tanabe! Don’t you know?
PHILIPPE: What?! You mean, those two were going out?! Edel?
TANABE: Um… He, Claire? I know that the work in Debris Section is tough and there isn’t much prospect for advancement, but it’s not such a bad place! When you see the big Earth below your feet, you can forget all the bad things in life, or things that been bothering you! It makes you feel better, I guess. Or it makes all your problems seem trivial. And, I don’t know–
MAN: You Claire Rondo.
MAN: This will be your lD tag. You just need to go and file this form with Control Section, okay?
TANABE: Um, I’ll take it up for her. I’m going to Control Section anyway.
MAN: Really? Well, I’ll leave you to it, then.
TANABE: Go on back to the office, Claire. Don’t worry about the things. I’ll take care your–
CLAIRE: I’ll go to Control Section myself.
TANABE: But, I need to go there anyway.
CLAIRE: And do what?
TANABE: Well, um…
CLAIRE: You can’t take your sympathy and shove it.
SALLY: With humanity’s chronic shortage of resources, Jupiter represents our future. If I’m gonna live for a cause, I’d rather live for the future. Sounds a bit [grandy house???], but I guess that’s why.
HAKIM: Hoshino, what made you decide to try to get onto the Von Braun?
LEONOV: The father-son thing, right? You wanna watch your daddy at work.
HACHI: That’s not it at all. It’s just because I wanna be on her crew.
SALLY: Why’s that?
HACHI: Because it moves really fast. And it’s powerful. And it goes a long way from here.
LEONOV: I know what you mean! It’s the same thing for me! I wanna go as far away as I can, and leave this planet so far behind just as [???] in space.
SALLY: Good grief, I’ve got a couple of bad boys on board. Shower free?
HACHI: Hakim, how about you? What’s your story? You even quit the OSA to take this test.
HAKIM: If I get selected, I’ll tell you.
LEONOV: Well, then I guess none of us will ever know.
HAKIM: If I don’t make the cut, but believe me, neither will you.
LEONOV: Um… I look forward to hearing your answer, then.
TANABE: I was really surprised when I heard that they’d put you in the hospital.
GIGALT: I’m only in here to take a few tests. There’s still plenty of time left for me, Angel.
TANABE: I’m glad.
GIGALT: You’re calling about Hachimaki?
TANABE: Um… Yes.
SALLY: Be careful, now.
LEONOV: Yeah, I know. I’ll be gentle, just like I was caressing a woman. Got it!
SALLY: Mission complete!
HACHI: So, this is the Von Braun.
SALLY: No extra pieces, right?
HAKIM: Don’t worry, I double-checked.
LEONOV: Now, what are they hoping to learn by putting us through an isolated environment test at this point? It’s been a cakewalk. And we’ve still got five hours.
SALLY: Hey, maybe the four of us just make a good team. At this rate, we–
HACHI: What the–?
HAKIM: Keep calm. The thing to do is check the systems.
HACHI: Okay, then I’ll take the power box.
SALLY: I’ll check for any radiation.
LEONOV: I’ll check the magnetics.
HAKIM: It figures. I didn’t think this all exercises would end this easily.
TANABE: Oh, I see. So, he hasn’t gotten in touch with you either, Mr. Gigalt.
GIGALT: No. I’m sorry I couldn’t help you, Angel.
TANABE: That’s okay. Thank you for all your help, sir. Take care of yourself.
GIGALT: Of that idiot. What good is a ship without a port come home to?
NONO: Was that Tanabe just now?
NONO: That was Ai Tanabe, wasn’t it? You know, Hachimaki’s friend.
LEONOV: We couldn’t pinpoint the cause of the problem from inside the module, but it looks like an electrical system malfunction.
HAKIM: How much power do we have?
LEONOV: 26 kilowatts in the batteries. If we tweak the control system, we can squeeze out about 3 kilowatts an hour. But the real problem is our air supply.
HACHI: The ventilation filters aren’t working?
LEONOV: If we don’t use power for anything else, there’s just enough to run the ventilation filters.
SALLY: What’s the problem?
LEONOV: We flat-out don’t have enough oxygen.
SALLY: Where did it go?
LEONOV: I don’t know. We might have vented it during lost power.
SALLY: How much do we have?
LEONOV: About 627 grams. A human’s O2 consumption is about 34.8 grams per hour, so we’d need 696 grams to last the four of us to the end of the test.
SALLY: We don’t have enough!
HACHI: We can make O2 from our drinking water.
LEONOV: We don’t have enough power for electrolysis.
HAKIM: Then the propellant oxidizer?
LEONOV: The problem is that it’s stabilized. Even if we could extract the oxygen, it’d also produce a toxic gas.
SALLY: Aren’t there any emergency pressure suits? A ship like this ou–
LEONOV: How can you be so sure about that?
HAKIM: I checked what we had before I came in here. There are no pressure suits or air tanks of any kind.
LEONOV: So that’s why you were so late arriving.
HAKIM: It wasn’t a time trial, you know. I tried to put the time I was given to the most effective use I could think of.
SALLY: Thanks so much, Hakim. You dashed our last hopes. Let’s call it quits while we still have air. It was an accident, so the test is–
HACHI: No way. There is bound to be mishaps on the Jupiter mission, too. I’m sure that what Dr. Locksmith would say.
SALLY: Are you kidding?
HAKIM: He’s right. Dr. Locksmith already failed all the applicants who were involved in a mishap at the New Guinea test center. Besides, there’s a good chance that this malfunction scenario was planned.
LEONOV: Okay, I get it. I thought this was a little too easy.
SALLY: Are you saying you think this is the real test? I know there’s a risk of accidents in these isolated environment tests, but a life or death situation like this is–
HACHI: That’s why Locksmith wants to test us. It makes perfect sense. He’s putting our lives at risk so that he can see how we’ll handle the real thing.
FEE: Claire? Take that maintenance list we’ll be using when we help out on the moon and submit it at the Bay Office. The check list is over on Tanabe’s desk.
PHILIPPE: Hey, Fee. Ai hasn’t taken any days off for a while. She’s gonna be okay?
FEE: She says she wants to work, and I’m gonna let her. Anyway, I’m glad to have her out there, now that Hachi is not around anymore.
PHILIPPE: But still–
FEE: Sometimes you just want to tough things out. Relax, Chief, I’ll keep an eye on her.
PHILIPPE: Really? With that Supreme Council meeting coming up on the moon, so I think that things are gonna be hectic, so take care of her, okay?
FEE: You see it?
FEE: It’s gotta a blue cover.
CLAIRE: Oh, yes, of course.
MAN: That was a pretty good makeshift vacation.
TANABE: Hi. Welcome back.
CHENG-SHIN: Good to be back.
MAN: Who’s this, your girlfriend?
MAN: All right, way to go, loverboy!
CHENG-SHIN: Hey, it’s not like that!
MAN: I guess we’ll just go on ahead, then.
MAN: See you on tomorrow’s flight.
MAN: So what do you think is eating him?
MAN: He’s been acting kinda funny ever since the test ended.
CHENG-SHIN: I’m glad to see you. I didn’t expect you to come here and welcome me back.
TANABE: Yeah, well… is it true that Sempai passed the first day ground of testing? Do you know where the second round being held? Do you think they’d let me see him? Or maybe I could leave a phone message–
CHENG-SHIN: That’s really cruel.
CHENG-SHIN: I failed the first round of tests, and you’re asking me about the second round? Hachimaki said that he doesn’t need friends or girlfriends.
CHENG-SHIN: He said that he wants to live his life alone. He doesn’t need a job, or friends, or even Planet Earth any more. But I, I do! Those are all the things that I want! I want dreams and girls!
CHENG-SHIN: I want them all! And I’ll get them, even if I have to steal them from somewhere!
CHENG-SHIN: You bit me…?
TANABE: If you do that again, I bite your lip off.
CHENG-SHIN: Tanabe, wait! Was I acting out of character?
CLAIRE: I guess.
CHENG-SHIN: There are things that I want. Things that I’m willing to throw away caution for and chase after no matter what!
TANABE: He’s wrong. Sempai’s not like that. He’d never want to live alone!
LEONOV: It’s useless! We can’t do a damn thing from in here!
SALLY: That crying out loud! Stop shouting! You’re using up our oxygen.
HACHI: Hey, where are you going?
LEONOV: I’m gonna outside and calling for some help.
HACHI: Forget it! If you do that, we’ll be disqualified!
LEONOV: Well, it beats dying!
HACHI: Don’t! There’s an airlock between us and them. And there’s a chance that it vented during the accident.
LEONOV: Who cares!
HACHI: Stop being so damn selfish! I’m getting onto the Von Braun, even if it kills me!
LEONOV: So, die by yourself, then. We’d have enough air with only three people in here.
HAKIM: So… Three people. That’s a very interesting suggestion, Leonov.
SALLY: What? Hey, wait a minute!
HACHI: We’ve got 490 grams of O2 left. That’s just enough to keep three people alive.
LEONOV: Just what the hell are you two implying?
SALLY: Now, C’mon! Don’t be stupid! This is also supposed to be a test of our teamwork, you know?
HACHI: Teamwork’s important, all right.
HAKIM: Hm, it certainly is. However…
LEONOV: I get it. Your point’s that regular teamwork is different from teamwork in an emergency, right?
HACHI: Yeah. When you’re in space in short on oxygen, what’s important isn’t to keep everyone alive, but to keep everyone from dying!
LEONOV: You’re serious about this?
HACHI: No matter what happens, I have get on board the Von Braun!
LEONOV: Maybe, but what makes you think you’ve got what it takes to be one of the three survivors.
SALLY: Huh. Well, I’m gonna make damn sure that I’m one of those three! Ha-
HACHI: Sally, get away from that emergency button.
SALLY: You’re softer than I expected, Hoshino. The truth is, you’re not sure, are you? You’re not sure you can murder someone. Or you don’t have to bother!
HAKIM: Sally, I can’t let you wound one of us just so you can push the emergency button.
SALLY: What do you suggest we do, then?
LEONOV: I thought you were on board with the “three survivors” plan.
HAKIM: I’m determined to get onto the Von Braun, no matter the cost. Even if that means I have to commit a crime to do it.
LEONOV: Even if it means murder?!
HAKIM: That’s right. But we still have some time.
HAKIM: The test ends in four hours. We can wait until this three and a half left before do anything. We have 30 minutes to find another solution to all this.
HAKIM: Don’t give up to the bitter end.
LEONOV: And what if we still can’t find another way?
HAKIM: If that happens, then one of you is dead.
COM SYSTEM: Did you try electrosys? I’ve been trying! Let’s push the button! Not yet! What time is it? How much longer? There’s not enough current! Do something! What the hell are you doing! You can’t decide on your own? That’s too dangerous!
MAN: You dumb bustered! If you hadn’t pushed the button, we…
MAN: You think I’m gonna risk my life over this?!
MAN: We didn’t have the power to spare!
EXAMINERS RADIO: Module 5, confirming situation. Module 12, confirming situation. No request for assistance. Emergency situation, one to be carried out. Vital check is pending.
DOLF: All right, it’s time. The test is over. Let’s get some oxygen and power to those modules. Rescue teams, stand by outside the airlocks. Check Airlock pressure and verify the status inside the modules. If any applicants are in poor physical condition, take them to the medical center even if they do not ask for treatment.
EXAMINER1: Hey, the handle’s not turning!
EXAMINER2: Let’s pop the rescue hatch!
EXAMINER1: What the hell… Huh? Is she dead? Hey, what the hell happend? Hey!
EXAMINER2: I can’t believe this. Were the monitor teams asleep up there?
EXAMINER1: No, she’s okay. She’s alive. But her body temps are only 28 Celsius.
EXAMINER2: 28 Degrees?
EXAMINER1: Emergency in module 102! Call the medical teams!
SALLY: So… the rescue squad finally shows up.
HACHI: Guess this means we beat the secondary test.
EXAMINER1: I get it now. You lowered your body temperature to slow your metabolism to minimize oxygen consumption, right?
HACHI: “Operation: Hibernation” was a success.
EXAMINER2: Hang in there, the test is over. Do you know how long you’ve been like this?
EXAMINER1: Give me some D-serum. The woman can’t move.
HACHI: Hey, hakim. when they started, you said that you’re willing to kill somebody, did you mean it?
HAKIM: Yes, of course. Space isn’t forgiving enough to let people be friends, and you know it. Huh?
HACHI: If I was working with you, I think I could make it to Jupiter.