Volume 9 the dissociat.., p.1

Volume 9 - The Dissociation of Suzumiya Haruhi, page 1

 

Volume 9 - The Dissociation of Suzumiya Haruhi
 


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Volume 9 - The Dissociation of Suzumiya Haruhi


  Volume 9

  The Dissociation of Suzumiya Haruhi

  Prologue

  Methods employed to detect changes in seasons varies with the people doing so. For me, the easiest way about that would be through observing the tendencies of my calico cat, Shamisen.

  When Shamisen stops sneaking into my bedding in the middle of the night, I would know that the few months of spring, the most appraised of the four seasons in the region, has arrived. But compared to cats, plants possess the same skill to a greater, and often awe-inspiring, extent. The cherry blossoms blooming everywhere appears to be ready to gradually wither in accordance with the timetable they had worked out. The sky of early April is as clear and blue as one colored by crayons. The sun, as if preparing for summer, spilled its golden glow over the lands with all its might. However, the winds that blow down from the mountains continue to carry a bit of chill, reminding me of the altitude of this city I inhabit.

  I, with nothing to do, raised my head and looked up towards the blue sky and mentioned the following softly.

  “It’s spring already, huh…”

  Making such a comment can be fully attributed to my boredom. That is why I did not expect a reply from anyone. But the person beside me, despite knowing full well of this fact, felt compelled to reply anyway.

  “Undoubtedly, it is spring right now. To the students, it is also the start of both the academic and calendar year. My heart feels it is the start of a clean slate as well.”

  His surprisingly refreshing tone is appropriate for spring, so that is still all right. If it is used during summer, it would only make one feel warm. As for winter… the only person I wish that would speak to me like this would be Asahina-san, and her alone.

  I am not too sure if he realized that my heart was no longer set on the conversation, and that all that was left there was my physical body, but he would continue his speech regardless of any interruptions.

  “This is my second time welcoming spring since I entered high school. I do not know whether ‘spring has finally arrived’ or ‘spring has arrived again so quickly’ would more accurately convey the point I am trying to make here.”

  I wonder what there is to be so confused about. Were this in English, he could always use ‘yet’ to connect the phrases together. People cannot possibly remember all of what they do all the time. Thus, when one tries to remember them again, many of these past events appear to have past as quickly as a whiff of smoke. And because events that will happen have not happened yet, it is impossible to judge how quickly or slowly they pass. As for events happening now, I just have to use the amount of joy experienced during the event to judge how slow or fast it happened. Why not think about this in the viewpoint of clocks; don’t they rely on counting seconds to measure the flow of time, while producing ticking sounds to remind people of this fact? Although occasionally one doesn’t remember actually turning the alarm clock off, sometimes it just ends up not ringing, angering me to the extent of throwing the alarm clock at the wall. Such incidents happen most often on Monday mornings.

  “As you have said, the hands of a clock are one of those few things that can objectively remind us of events. But to humans, it may not be just a hand on the clock. What is most important is what have we done or thought about with that time.”

  “Uh huh.”

  I stopped inspecting the changing shapes of the clouds and turned to face the person beside me.

  Presented in front of my eyes is a handsome face with an unfading smile, reminding us of the presence of its owner - Koizumi Itsuki. The smile can be described to be scenery as normal as the contrail of a plane that just flew across the sky: not too glaring to the eye to prevent you from looking at it. Realizing that staring at his face any more would not have much purpose anyway, I turned my head back to face the front.

  But,

  “Talking about my personal feelings…”

  While views of the courtyard reflected into my retina. I told Koizumi with his intense gaze focused on me.

  “…’spring has FINALLY arrived’ is more appropriate!”

  My eyes followed the first-year students who had amassed in small groups on the courtyard and the North High uniforms they wore. My mind replayed the memorable scenes from last year, making me wonder if second-year students one year ago looked at first-years with the same intent as I do now. I guess so. What an amazing feeling.

  Due to the school district assignments I ended up in North High and met Suzumiya Haruhi, the walking enigma. Before even getting acquainted with the situation, I was put through her crazy self-introduction. While I was still wondering “What is wrong with this person?”, I was dragged into her world and forced to join a mysterious organization known as the SOS Brigade. Thanks to this, I met real-life aliens, espers, and time travelers, all of whom aren’t even supposed to exist. It would be fine if it had stopped at that, but I was dragged into paranormal events one after another, and had to go on crazy sprees with Haruhi as well. My, my. My life experiences must have increased exponentially just in the past year. In fact, I think I would have no problems defeating those bosses in games with all these experiences.

  “Habit is really powerful.”

  The slope that I had to conquer daily on my quest to school had become such a habit that nowadays, I find myself in bodily contact with my bed until the last possible moment. However, I am not the only one to have changed tremendously; Haruhi has also undergone this process, like a carp would from just jumping over the hoop to becoming a dragon.

  I really wanted to use a camera to capture the Haruhi of this moment, and then take it back for the Haruhi of one year ago to have a look at, while at the same time making up a story filled with the kinds of descriptions found in proverbial stories, telling her that this would be her in a year.

  But even if this were possible, I am afraid I would not want to do so.

  “I agree with this too.”

  Koizumi squinted his eyes and raised his lips slightly upward, arms crossed in front of his chest, legs resting on the table.

  “I am talking about habits. Looking at humans scattered everywhere across the globe, we see that they can adapt to their environments easily. One basically only needs some time to get used to his or her new surroundings. But recently I’m starting to wonder if this could be a bad thing? Once one gets used to an environment, the ability to adapt to sudden changes would decrease as well.”

  What exactly are you talking about? If you are referring to Haruhi, I believe that the number of unexpected occurrences far exceeds those that are otherwise.

  “Hmm, you are right…”

  Koizumi revealed a seldom-seen expression that could not be described in words. This guy often rambles on and on, even if the other party did not ask him to. If I asked him anything I would probably have to sit through another load of his jargon yet again.

  I shook my head without talking, trying to divert Koizumi’s attention away, before looking in another direction.

  “……”

  On the topic of remaining silent, the back of a petite person as quiet as a statue of Buddha in a monastery enters my field of vision, wearing the female North High sailor uniform, her short hair wavering ever so slightly along with the wind.

  Needless to say, this is Nagato Yuki, the secret weapon of the SOS Brigade - though President of the Literature Club would be the actual, canonical title for her. Like Koizumi and myself, Nagato had brought her table and chair out onto the courtyard a distance away from us, silently reading her book. The title reads “Philosophers, Artists, Musicians, and their Interrelationship”, and it is as thick as a brick.

&nb
sp; I turned and looked at the clubroom block of the school. Asahina-san, after being dragged out of the clubroom by Haruhi traveling at the speed of light, still hasn’t returned. Actually, I don’t really mind, since it might turn out to be a blessing in disguise.

  “If this is the case…”

  I haven’t introduced the current situation yet, so let’s have a quick one. The new school term had been in progress for a few days, and curriculum time has ended. Today, we brought our tables and chairs out into a corner of the courtyard. Most, though not all, second and third-year students have gathered at the school field as well.

  I could barely make out the backs of the members of the Computer Research Society. A few computers rested on the long tables in front of them, the screens showing either the contents of some CD-ROM or CG graphic. Unlike “The Day of Sagittarius III”, what is on the screen has a particular medieval feel to it, resembling some fortune-telling tarot cards, making you wonder if the president of the Computer Research Society has suffered brain damage to be exhibiting something like this. I spotted the newly promoted third-year president in the mix, though I am not sure if he is still holding onto that post. Although these things do not really concern me, I guess I’m just feeling curious. I think I’ll verify this with Nagato later on.

  Directing my vision elsewhere, I saw a few unknown clubs gathering in another corner. I’d never even heard the names of some of them before. Seeing all these, I gradually realized that what I am doing now is incredibly pointless. I just don’t understand why we have to participate in such activities.

  If I am forced to give a reason for this, I think it would be for Nagato.

  I took yet another look at the bookish girl.

  At a distance not too far away from where Nagato is silently sitting, the words “Literature Club” are printed on a piece of paper, stuck onto a table with Scotch tape. That piece of paper moved gently along with the spring wind which blew Nagato’s short hair, unblessed by any salon. Her intense gaze never once left the book, as if trying to disconnect herself from the outside world.

  I guess everyone should understand by now.

  This is a time for the various extra-curricular clubs to recruit new members, as well as to showcase their works. This is exactly what is happening over here for culture-related clubs in the courtyard. Sports-related clubs are holding similar events at the sports hall or the school field. People would approach the band automatically, even if there was no recruitment exercise. As for arts clubs and the like, they have set up their booths in their respective clubrooms, much like fishermen setting up nets and waiting for the fish to get themselves caught. This leaves only the clubs that would probably not even be known without some form of advertising, such as the various societies, in the courtyard.

  I expected most of the readers to understand this without any explanation, so I did not really mention it until now. Naturally, members of the SOS Brigade have been promoted as well. Haruhi, Nagato, Koizumi, and I will be entering our second year, and Asahina-san her third. Now that I must bid farewell to the memory-filled classroom of 1-5, I cannot say that I would not miss the class, but even as I step into my second year, I doubt much will change. Oh, I might as well mention that Haruhi and I have once again been sorted into the same class. When I stepped into the second-year classroom after the opening ceremony this year, the person sitting behind me was, as expected, Haruhi. That arrogant face, filled with mixed emotions and grins which always seems to be hiding some evil ploy, remained unchanged as well.

  “What’s this?”

  Haruhi looked on with her usual look of unconcern.

  “It’s as if there’s no change from the first year! I expected some earth-shattering change to happen!”

  Although I wanted to ask her whether this sentence meant she was happy or unhappy about the outcome, at this moment I have the same sentiments as well. In 2-5, other than Haruhi and me, Taniguchi and Kunikida are still around too. Even our homeroom teacher is still Okabe-sensei, known for his care towards students. Although there are some classmates whose names I don’t know despite remembering having seeing them before, the most important thing is that they had all came from 1-5. I also heard that all the students who decided to study in the science stream were just enough for a class, and thus 2-8 had been allocated solely for this purpose. Students from 1-8 were then disbanded and split into the other seven classes. Of course there are some who are being needlessly shuffled from one class to another. Okabe-sensei’s purpose in making us introduce ourselves again is probably to accommodate these people who have been forced to evacuate and join us.

  Obviously, I doubted the authenticity of this sorting exercise, and approached those who seemed suspicious no matter how you look at it, and who had the ability to manipulate such events at will.

  “Did you arrange this?”

  Their replies were:

  “No.” Nagato replied monotonously. Miraculously, she added, “It is just a coincidence.”

  “We did not do anything. I guess it is the decision of the school. The ‘Organization’ has decided not to question this event any further.” Koizumi concluded with a bitter smile.

  “I suppose it is coincidental.”

  Seems they are serious about it.

  Although in my heart I know of a lady who has the ability to change a coincidence into a necessity, but I shall not elaborate on that further.

  Does this mean that Asahina-san and Tsuruya-san were sorted into the same class as well? If it is so, there is a possibility that the Tsuruya family is behind this. But I have no idea how I could ask her appropriately even if that is true. Anyway, despite differences in level and classes, everyone would still gather in the same place after school after all.

  What matters to me now, or rather should matter to me now, are other things. It could likely be on the mind of every new student as well.

  I already know aliens, as well as a time-traveling senior. I also cannot deny that the male whom I talked to the most often throughout the past year is an esper. But…

  On that day, that moment, when Haruhi made that introduction speech that shocked all of 1-5, of all the groups she mentioned there is still one that has not appeared.

  Sliders.

  Even though I do not wish for such people to exist, and the only one who would feel that they are missing is that girl, now that we have all been successfully promoted, the first-year seat is left empty…

  “My, my.”

  I shook my head about for a while, trying to relax my shoulders, and began my mission of observing the first-years.

  “Once anyone with potential is spotted, his or her name must be recorded immediately!” This is the instruction of our beloved leader. But Haruhi failed to mention how potential is defined, and how people with it could be spotted.

  I might as well go off-topic once again to talk about the self-introduction during the first lesson in 2-5. Haruhi did not repeat what she said last year but instead used a tone that was unenthusiastic yet clear, and proclaimed loudly that:

  “I am Suzumiya Haruhi, leader of the SOS Brigade. I have spoken my bit!”

  Her smiling face gave the impression of a fearless person. She sat down on her chair again after pulling my hair for a bit.

  It seems as if she is trying to say that this is enough.

  But to the entire class, this is indeed enough. For in this entire school, there can’t be anyone who doesn’t know the two terms ‘Suzumiya Haruhi’ and ‘the SOS Brigade’ by now.

  Even if…

  I carelessly stared at the legs of the people sporting the uniforms that they would wear from year one through year three, wearing the shoes branded with the school logo, walking around the courtyard.

  Even if there is, he or she should be one of these newcomers.

  It is the time frame when the cherry blossoms just start showing their leaves. While Koizumi, Nagato, and I tried to waste our time away, a figure emerged out of the hordes of students moving around. The sigh
t of the students automatically making way for this person reminds me of Moses and The Exodus.

  “Long time since we last met.”

  The Student Council president stopped in front of our booth, speaking in a cold tone.

  How un-coincidental that I just met you recently. It’s not that easy to forget the expression that was smeared over your face during the speech you took so long to make in today’s opening ceremony.

  “Cut the crap short. What is it?”

  I watched the president unnecessarily adjust his spectacles much like you would often see in television dramas, and then, showing an expression of a leader unhappy with his disciples, he continued.

  “Where is the commander? I originally came over to complain about one or two things, and yet she is missing.”

  “Well, where do you think she went? I am neither the secretary nor the manager of that girl; movements of a classmate as busy as her are nearly impossible to track down.”

  “That cannot be helped then, so I guess asking you is fine. What exactly are you all doing here?”

  I had originally expected Koizumi to reply for me if I kept my mouth shut. Who could have known that this stereotypical good guy of the SOS Brigade, as if having caught some spring syndrome, would remain seated at the back smiling happily to himself.

  “Isn’t it obvious after just taking a single glance?”

  I replied without paying much attention.

  His Excellency stared at me with an expression as cold as a metal mask at my lame reply.

  “This is of course obvious by just a glance. As long as one knows where this place is and who you people are, the answer will reveal itself rather easily. As to why I asked such a question, it is because I am worried you all will pull some stunt that is beyond my imagination. It is indeed nothing much. Am I right to guess that you can predict what I will say after this?”

  That is because your actions would never differ from what we have planned. If Haruhi were here as well, I’m sure this issue could be settled much quicker.

  Wait. Since Haruhi is not around, why is the president still displaying his airy attitude? Isn’t this current president purely a puppet controlled by the “Organization”? Or should we say that such attitude is maintained only because others were looking? But we are currently in a deserted corner of the courtyard, and if others are not deliberately listening out for anything, there should not be any worries about us being spied on. Nagato, who is sitting about a few meters away, would probably be within earshot, but surely it doesn’t matter even if she does hear our conversation? The only things that she should not be hearing should come only from the higher ranks of the CIA and NORAD I guess.

 
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