Ch 236. The Beginning of Everything (6)
※ This is seen from Claire François’s point of view (the first loop・・・).
“…… An administrator?”
“That’s right, Claire.”
While I was tackling my usual tasks in my laboratory, Rei brought me over to the lounge because she had something to talk about.
We were both sitting on the couch as she explained the Eternally Repeating Loop System to me.
“The system will mostly be controlled by TAIM, but there’s no way to make it fully automatic. Somebody will have to manage it to some extent.”
“So that’s what the administrator is for?”
“Yes. If we consider who would be the most proficient in operating the system, I think Claire, Lene or myself are the best options.”
That being said, Lene wasn’t here with us right now.
“Lene already turned it down. She didn’t think she was right for the job.”
“She’s really hard on herself, even though she’s quite talented.”
I thought the same thing.
She was an excellent researcher, but she lacked self-confidence.
Although she was very self-asserting, she wavered quite a bit at her core.
“So, what do you say, Claire? Would you be up for it?”
“Please tell me what the job of an administrator entails first. I can’t accept it if I don’t know what my responsibilities are.”
Rei booted up the hologram computer.
The display was detached so I could see it as well.
“There are three main tasks for the administrator to handle. The first is to maintain the loop system.”
For the job, the person would need to work alongside TAIM to control the loop system in order to keep humanity for alive for as long as possible.
It also included exception handling in the event the system runs into a situation that it could not anticipate, physical maintenance and civilization stage adjustments.
“The second responsibility is controlling TAIM. TAIM is an amazing AI, but it still makes occasional misjudgments. The administrator will need to handle it in case that happens.”
In the likely event that TAIM made a decision that would be detrimental to mankind, controlling it as a higher authority was also part of the administrator’s job.
“The third responsibility is―― determining how long the loop will last.”
When I heard Rei’s words, I was bewildered.
“Is it even possible to decide when to stop the loop? I mean, that basically means……”
“Yes, that would spell the end of human history.”
Rei affirmed my suspicions.
“The loop system is designed to keep humanity alive, but I think somebody will need to make a decision on whether or not it should repeat forever.”
“Hold on a minute. It’s not a decision that an individual should make by themselves. At the very least, the political leaders of humanity should talk about it when that time comes. Well, no, the decision to end human history is something that shouldn’t be made in the first place.”
In response to my counterargument, Rei replied with,
“Is that so? This is just a what-if, but suppose there’s an irreparable bug that occurs within the system and humanity is forced to repeat the loops through great pain and difficulty. What then?”
I couldn’t come up with a rebuttal for Rei’s point.
Her argument was just like the issue related to palliative care and pre-emptively ending one’s life with dignity.
It was possible to prolong their lives, but if their quality of life is painful or if they are immobile, then would prolonging it be the right thing to do?
Just because somebody is alive doesn’t mean it’s always necessarily a good thing.
“…… Still, I don’t think that’s a decision that should be left in the hands of a single individual.”
“You’re right. I agree with you on that. I think it’d be risky to leave that kind of a decision to an administrator.”
I pat my chest as I felt relief wash over me.
“That’s about it for the administrator’s responsibilities. So what do you think, Claire?”
She was probably asking me how I felt about the job, and whether or not I would take it.
“Can’t we just both become administrators?”
“I wouldn’t want there to be more than one person of the highest authority. I feel like that’d be a source of chaos.”
“In that case, what if you become the administrator, and I can be the deputy administrator?”
“…… I see. I’ve never thought of it like that.”
Rei said while sounding astonished.
“If there’s two of us, then perhaps we could endure the eternal loneliness.”
“The eternal loneliness?”
I repeated those unfamiliar words right back at her.
“Yes. By its very nature, the administrator will have an independent consciousness from the loops. While other human beings will lose their memories with each loop, the administrator…… and the deputy administrator will always have their sense and our memories intact.”
Is that…… really something that humans can endure?
“One loop span will last at least tens of thousands of years, wouldn’t it? And we’ll have to keep on managing it? I don’t think this is a job that humans can handle.”
After hearing my concerns, Rei nodded and said,
“Of course, we administrators will need care as well. We will conduct our management responsibilities during the transition periods of the civilizations, and aside from emergencies, we will also be living our lives in those civilizations as humans.”
In other words, we would not be assuming the roles of administrators while we were in the middle of a loop.
If that was the case, then perhaps it would be alright.
“How about it, Claire? Would you like to become an administrator with me?”
Rei extended her hand toward me.
Seeing that, I―― couldn’t bring myself to take it immediately.
“Please let me think about it. There’s too much to take in right now, so it’s difficult for me to give you a reply right away.”
Becoming an administrator―― or even a deputy administrator―― meant that we would have to be responsible for the survival of humanity.
In other words, we would be carrying the weight of hundreds of millions of human lives.
According to Rei’s explanation, human history would adjust and proceed just like how it happened in the past.
That would make the loops would be relatively easy to maintain.
But it also meant that the events that happened in the past, such as tragic wars and genocide, will happen again.
Would I be able to turn a blind eye to it all?
Even if I could, becoming an administrator meant that we would be responsible for the entire loop system.
It was entirely possible to make a human error and end all of mankind just from one mistake.
Could I handle that heavy responsibility?
When I thought more about it, I realized just how terrified I was.
“You’re right. I guess you can’t really answer these things right away. In that case, I’ll get things set up temporarily, so please let me know when you have your answer.”
“What about you, Rei?”
“I will become the administrator, whether or not you decide to take the job, because it seems like no one else wants to do it.”
When I heard her say that, I felt terribly guilty.
This research regarding searching for ways to prolong humanity was originally tasked on my shoulders.
Rei was only brought in after I consulted with TAIM, so she had no responsibility to do so in the first place.
Moreover, she tried to retire from the job once already.
The only reason why she was still here was because I kept her here with impure motives.
My mistake from that time was about to force Rei to carry such a heavy burden.
“Rei, maybe I should become an administrator――”
“No, Claire. That’s no good.”
Rei interrupted me mid-sentence and shook her head.
It was as if she could read my thoughts.
“You’re not prepared to become an administrator. You don’t have to hurry with your answer, so please think about it carefully before replying.”
Rei closed the hologram computer and left me with those words.
Feeling defeated, all I could do was see her off from behind.