Chapter 3.13 - Contract
Jan and the others pursue Erich into his mind, until he appears again.
Melisse: Answer me… maybe we can protect you from U-DO!
Bugs: Erich! Please tell the truth! You didn’t really want to become Voyager, did you?
Erich: …I don’t know. Maybe I… just wanted to run away.
Melisse: Run away…?
Erich: U-DO brought me visions of death. I just wanted to run away from that. That disorder I was born with, that constant feeling of loneliness… and the things in the farthest recesses of that loneliness. I chose to become U-DO’s terminal in order to escape from that.
Melisse: …That’s it? I can’t believe you would go so far as to become U-DO’s terminal, just because of something like that!
Erich: …Heh. You’re a gentle person. If I had met you twenty years earlier, maybe even I would have taken a different path… but, fate is cruel. And I met Yuriev first.
Jan: You and Yuriev… different motives, but the same objective?
Erich: Yes. I felt that my identity was fading into the network. My greatest fear was to dissipate into the collective unconsciousness. Dmitri Yuriev… He was my sole companion, and the only person who really understood my feelings.
Bugs: …Your sole companion!! Wasn’t I your companion too?
Erich: Bugs… you have many wonderful friends, don’t you? You’re… you’re too good for me…
Erich: Now then, it’s nearly time for me to go. It seems 'I' have started to act… 'I' plan to use the blood of the people of Zohar to finally fulfill my contract with U-DO.
Melisse: What are you saying? Aren’t you right here?
Erich: The me that is here is just a wisp of my consciousness. To use an old-fashioned word, a piece of my conscience… perhaps. When the other 'me' starts to act, I will probably disappear completely.
Jan: One last question.
Jan: Is U-DO the end itself?
Erich: Well, that depends on who you ask. That’s what it was for me, but every person’s reason for living is different. In a world ruled by emptiness, death is given to everyone equally. Voyager exists to escape from that…
Bugs: You loved the Chief like a father… right?
Bugs: Family… it's a foreign idea to robots, but I think Erich was like my father.
Lactis: Bugs. You really loved Erich that much?
Bugs: Yes. Whatever Voyager is, Erich will always be my Erich! Just like he protected me once, I have to protect him too!
Lactis: Protect… Erich? A-Ah, ahh-!!
Lactis suddenly grabs his head with his hands, moaning.
Jan: What’s wrong?
Mysterious Voice: Protect… him!
Lactis: …Who’s there!?
Melisse: W-What's going on!?
Mysterious Voice: You cannot stop Voyager now. Lactis… protect 'Canaan' with all your strength!
Lactis: Who? I don’t know any 'Canaan'!!
Mysterious Voice: 'Canaan' is… inside of you…
Lactis collapses, still holding his head.
Jan: Lactis!! What is it? Who are you talking to?
Jan runs over to Lactis and helps him up.
Lactis: I’m sorry, Captain.
Jan: …Are you okay?
Lactis: Yes. Maybe some kind of program is interfering with my autonomic nervous system. However, if Erich’s story is true, Voyager is already beginning his next move…
Jan: Yes, but where…?
Lactis: From what Erich said, I have a strong feeling that he’s trying to use the power of the Zohar to fulfill his contract with U-DO. He's probably looking for a large number of the people of Zohar concentrated in one place, and planning to obtain a large supply of the cerebral narcotic…
Jan: …The Pilgrimage Council!? Dammit!!
Melisse: What’s wrong?
Jan: Sharon was going to attend the Pilgrimage Council!
Melisse: Doctor Rozas!? But why?
Jan: …She is also one of the people of Zohar. We have to stop her!