The Beginning of Everything (7)
※ This is seen from Claire François’s point of view (the first loop・・・).
“Hey, TAIM. What do you think I should do……”
I muttered to myself while adjusting TAIM and her nanomachine-related settings.
The loop system was nearing its completion, and humanity was about to enter its first dormant period.
It wasn’t necessary to scan each person one by one in order to quantize their souls. Rather, it was done automatically splitting TAIM up and scattering it around the world.
There was something attached to TAIM’s body that looked like a stone, which had a self-healing function, a proliferation function, and a function that allowed it to use magic.
These things were called magic gems and were designed to be used during the magical civilization.
There was a large stone that spanned several meters long, while the smaller ones were nano-sized and connected wirelessly.
Rei was in charge of designing the world for the magical civilization.
Although she wasn’t serious about it before, she actually went ahead and designed the world based on that otome game.
When I saw the magical world during our simulation testing, it looked just as marvelous as a movie.
This applied to the scientific civilization as well, but depending on how the civilizations grew, the population would eventually exceed the number of people that were currently alive, so it seemed that the plan was to assign artificial souls as substitutes.
I heard that those artificial souls would be a mixture of quantum data of real people and TAIM’s basic design, but only Rei knew the full details of it.
And just like that, the day the plan would be carried out was steadily approaching, but I was still unable to decide whether or not I would become an administrator.
“What’s making you hesitate, Claire? If anything, isn’t being able to spend an eternity together with your lover something you should be longing for?”
“Don’t tease me, TAIM. The issue isn’t that simple.”
Being responsible for all of mankind―― the more I thought about what that meant, the harder it was for me to come up with an answer.
“You’re thinking too deeply into it, Claire. Wouldn’t it be better if you just lived your life more faithfully to your desires just like Rei-san?”
“How is she faithful to her desires?”
After living together with her for several years, I thought that she was quite an altruistic person.
Unlike me, who can’t do much outside of my research, she took care of all of the housework, and all of her spending money was prioritized for me.
Even in our sex life, she was always trying to please me.
Oh, perhaps that was too much information.
“Huh? Didn’t you know? This whole loop system was created by Rei-san for your sake, Claire.”
“TAIM, don’t say anything unnecessary.”
Rei interrupted TAIM.
“Why are you keeping it a secret, Rei-san? Isn’t it a wonderful thing that you’re doing?”
“It isn’t wonderful at all. Don’t you think it’s the most selfish thing that I could do?”
“Wouldn’t you say that it’s a very human thing to do though?”
“You really do get more and more knowledgeable by the day, huh……”
“Thank you for the compliment.”
“I wasn’t complimenting you.”
Without paying any mind to me, Rei and TAIM were going off on their own conversation.
“Hey, Rei. What was she talking about when she said you were doing everything for my――”
“Those are just TAIM’s delusions. Please forget about it.”
“Please forget everything.”
“…… I understand.”
I still wasn’t satisfied, though.
“By the way, Claire, how are you feeling today?”
Recently, Rei had been asking me about my physical condition a lot.
“Nothing in particular. I’m still young, so my body wouldn’t randomly break down so easily, you know?”
“You’re right. That’s good then. But if you ever feel like there’s something wrong with your body, please let me know immediately.”
Rei had a serious expression on her face.
And then I had a sudden realization.
“Hey, Rei. Is there something that you’re hiding from me?”
“We do it all the time, though.”
“You’re right……. Wait, no. Is there something wrong with my physical condition?”
In that case, why was she always so concerned about my health?
I became slightly anxious, so I decided to ask TAIM instead.
“TAIM, are there any negative signs of my health?”
“I cannot answer that.”
What did that mean?
“TAIM, why can’t you answer it?”
“I was forbidden from answering.”
“I cannot tell you that either.”
TAIM simply repeated that she was unable to answer me.
However, that was basically giving it away.
“Rei, it was you, wasn’t it?”
“I already transferred all of the administrative privileges to manage TAIM over to you, so you’re the only one who could prohibit her from giving any information to me.”
While averting her gaze, Rei remained quiet and said nothing.
“Rei, look at me.”
Rei looked over at me.
“Why won’t you answer――”
At that moment, my field of vision began to waver.
Rei’s face looked a bit distorted.
“What’s happening?” I thought to myself.
“TAIM, contact the medical department!”
“It’s too late.”
“Wait a minute, TAIM. Don’t tell me――”
“Yes, this is faster than predicted.”
What are you saying?
I can’t really hear you that well.
“Claire…… Hang in there…… If you’re not here, then there’s no reason for humanity to stay alive.”
The results of the test were not good.
I was diagnosed with a new pathogen that did not match any existing diseases.
“It’ll be okay, Claire. We’re asking the United Nations if we could move the loop system ahead of schedule. You’ll be able to come into the future with us.”
Rei said in a soft voice while holding my hand.
“That’s no good, Rei. The final check of the system still hasn’t been completed, right? It’s a system that’ll be operating for hundreds of millions of years, you know? I won’t tolerate any deficiencies.”
When I tried to hold her hand back, I realized that my grip was surprisingly weak.
“The final check is just a formality. There are no mistakes in the system. It’s just like you said, I’m a genius, after all.”
Rei laughed like a fool while saying so.
Or no, perhaps I was the one laughing.
I wasn’t able to see very well anymore.
“That’s right. You are a genius. That’s why…… You will definitely be fine by yourself.”
I’m concerned about leaving you behind, but if it’s you, I know you’ll be fine.
You’re a strong person, after all.
“No…… I don’t want that…… Please don’t leave me all by myself, Claire. Please……”
Rei…… I’m sorry.
But I’m glad I’m able to spend my last moments here with you in your arms.
“……. I know. Maybe I can still make it in time! TAIM, do whatever you can to extend Claire’s life for one more day!”
“I’ve already been set to prioritize everything into preparing for the loop system.”
“I’m the administrator! This is an order from the highest authority!”
Hey…… Hey, Rei…… Where are you going……?
I can’t feel your warmth anymore.
It’s scary…… I’m lonely……
“Wait for me, Claire! I’ll definitely save you! There is no point in saving humanity if you’re not there――!”
I fell into darkness.
The coldness that I felt up until now had suddenly disappeared.
The voice that I should’ve been hearing was now distant.
The pain that was in my chest was gradually subsiding as well.
Something…… I felt like I had something important that I needed to say.
It was something very, very important.
The darkness began to swallow me, and my consciousness quickly followed.
―― I love you, from the bottom of my heart.
Who were those words dedicated to?
Somehow, I wasn’t sure of anything anymore.