A translation of the Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger short story “One Day’s Swan” (ワンデイズ・スワン), written by Dekaranger main writer Naruhisa Arakawa and originally published in the Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger Complete Book (特捜戦隊デカレンジャー コンプリート・ブック) on May 11, 2005.
You can buy the original book here.
“Good morning, Murphy. Well, then, goodnight.”
It was a strange way to put it, but it was a relatively common thing for me to say at the workshop. Murphy was giving me a puzzled look, as if to say “again?!” I probably had a worn-out expression on my face, but it’s not like I could do anything about it. They’d gotten back from fighting the Monstrous Mecha smack in the middle of the night, and the resulting maintenance was my most important job.
Whenever I performed checks on all of the machines, I always got a little kick out of seeing everyone’s individual quirks.
Ban’s Pat Striker was always covered in dents, but his engine was always the one in best condition. It wasn’t that he went out of his way to take care of it, but it seemed his constant prodding at the engine had increased its overall potential.
Houji’s Pat Gyro always had a perfectly optimal fuel consumption rate. Normally, it’d be the biggest gas guzzler of them all, but Houji would use his flying techniques to make up for it. You could sense his passion and considerate heart in trying to keep fuel costs as low as possible.
Sen’s Pat-Trailer had abnormal amounts of wear on the loading platform’s opening and closing mechanism for the wing. When I’d asked him about it, he said he’d been experimenting on it to make it open in a cool way with some background music he’d secretly composed.
Surprisingly, Jasmine’s Pat Armor would require major repairs, probably because whenever things got to a critical point, she’d go “they’ll be given a taste of Jasmine’s ramming!” And then…ram!
Umeko’s Pat Signal would be…I’m not sure how to put it, but it’d be damaged in some incredibly strange ways. As Jasmine would put it, “what’s up with that?” Oh, make sure you put extra emphasis on those italics.1
Tetsu’s Deka Bike went without saying. He could do his own maintenance in accordance with the manual, so he had a good reputation among the maintenance staff. But to be honest, it just wasn’t quite enough for me.
I was immersed in those thoughts and feelings as I decided, well, time to take a shower and go to sleep…but then they all came piling in, one after another.
Ban and Houji would usually be the first to enter. I’d welcome them amidst them shouting at each other.
But, well, you see…they’d also usually be arguing over some completely inconsequential thing.
The other day, after they’d finished deleting an Alienizer, they were on their way back on their Deka Vehicles when they’d started discussing going out to get curry afterwards, and that would have been fine enough, but apparently Ban had said he liked Worcestershire sauce while Houji preferred soy sauce. They’d polled the other four members on their preferences and found two in favor of Worcestershire sauce, two in favor of soy sauce, and two in favor of having it plain, so they’d come up and pestered me “Swan, your decision would settle its superiority, wouldn’t it!?” “It’s gotta be Worcestershire, right!? Everything’s boilin’ down to this, it’s all or nothing!”
So I just smiled at them and said, “probably red bean,” which left them completely speechless and unwilling to press the issue further. I’d considered maybe going with fermented soybeans for a moment, but red bean was definitely the right choice.
Well, this time, it really was time for me to get my shower…or so I’d thought, but I hadn’t even managed to get a single breath in before I was interrupted. How foolish of me.
The next one to come in was usually Tetsu. He was the type to be so overly serious about everything that he’d get worked up over even the tiniest things.
“Um, Miss Swan! I know this is sudden, but could you tell me the formal name of this workshop?”
That was something I normally didn’t bother myself with, so I had to go through quite a lot of work to find it. Apparently, it was formally registered under the name “Ancillary Hangar Elevation-Type Multi-Functional Maintenance Room”.
“Oh, I see! I’d assumed that since it was called a ‘workshop’, I should be bringing all of my ‘work’ here!”2
…Tetsu, were you just setting up so you could say that? Of course, he’d responded with a smile and a “Nonsense!” on the spot. He even went all the way with it, right down to the finger-pointing.
Whew, now I can finally get my shower…but of course, that wasn’t the end of it.
Just then, Jasmine came in with an “excuse-a-me!”3
Jasmine apparently wanted to rope me into becoming a fellow enthusiast of some strange hobby. She was beaming as she explained the new thing she found, and, of course, it was something unusual.
Last summer, she’d brought in squid ink shaved ice and complained “even Boss was giving it a weird look,” puffing out her cheeks in irritation.
“I may never end up getting married for the rest of my life. Not that it means anything, though.”
She’d muttered those words while we were eating the shaved ice together…Well, you still have a long life ahead of you, Jasmine, so take it easy.
Speaking of taking it easy…for some reason, Sen would show up less often than the others. But when he did come, naturally, he’d come in quietly without saying much, just a simple “one second,” and suddenly do a handstand out of nowhere.
“This wall is perfect for doing handstands, it’s just the right amount of sturdiness.”
Sen had this way of smiling so broadly that his eyes became like flat lines, and whenever he did, you couldn’t help but agree with what he’d just said…but Sen, I know you’re actually coming here because you want to cheer me up whenever machine development isn’t going well. Even his “whoopsie daisy” puts me at ease. It’s a personal virtue of his.
Well, anyway. I wasn’t sure what was going on here or there, but it really was time for me to get to my shower…right when Umeko came in.
Actually, at times like this, she’d often suggest, “oh, perfect timing, why don’t we both go in together?”
“How nice it must be to be young and have soft skin like yours. Locks in all the moisture, too,” I said, sighing.
“Nah, not at all! I should be the one jealous of you! You’re lovely and so cool, if I were a guy I’d be head over heels in love!”
Teehee. I’m glad to hear that, so I’ll take the compliment.
Whenever Umeko and I had a chat in the bath, usually half of it would be about the struggles of being a leader, and the other half would be about romance troubles. She was the type who had to be in love with someone at any given moment. But, after all, she was still young. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with constantly being in love. Falling in love, being hurt, falling in love again, being hurt again, once you find yourself in the process, you’ll find a partner you can really spend a long time with.
As I was telling her this, she was getting excited about talking about all sorts of different boys. I’d think, huh, do boys on Earth actually go that far in this day and age?
After getting myself warmed up nicely in the bath, I’d start getting sleepy, but then when I got home, somehow, I’d end up staying wide awake, maybe thanks to Umeko’s romance talk.
So at such times, I’d go back to the workshop and start doing more work. I know it’s a very bad thing for me to be doing, so I’d start organizing the receipts for our expenses, a job that was sure to put me to sleep.
See, now I’m finally tired.
Yawn…all right, goodnight for real, Murphy.
But, of course, at such incredibly lovely timing, the person least suited for it had to come in.
“Ah, sorry…are you sleeping?”
“No, I’m not, what’s wrong?”
My eyes were probably utterly drowsy as I said that.
“No, no, it’s nothing major. I’ll come back later.”
What a liar. You wouldn’t come here if it were “nothing major”.
“I’ll make some black tea. Have a seat.”
I was already pouring Ceylon tea into a warm teacup and added a little brandy…or, actually, more than just a little. After all, it didn’t seem like we’d have any more cases today.
We drank the tea while sitting next to each other, and he immediately started off by talking about work. Doggie had always been like this for such a long time.
But right when I thought we were getting to the heart of the matter, I’d somehow ended up wandering into dreamland…I’d found myself slumped and leaning over, and, wait, I was still sitting down, but someone had put such a comfortable pillow here…and so I went full-on barreling into the realm of sleep.
Sorry, Doggie, next time I’ll be sure to hear you out, whatever important thing it is that you say is “nothing major”…
- Swan describes Jasmine’s quip with “nande sou naru no?” (なんでそおなるの？), “how did this happen?”, with the kana bolded here having emphasis dots on in the original text. In line with Jasmine’s taste for 70s buzzwords and pop culture references, this is a reference to comedy duo Conte no. 55 (コント55号); one of its members, Kenichi Hagimoto, would have this as a catchphrase, with this exact intonation. [↩]
- The informal term for Swan’s workshop is “鉄工所” (“tekkoujo“), literally meaning “ironworks”, and is made up of the kanji meaning “steel”, “craft”, and “place” in order; the first kanji “鉄” is the same kanji used in Tetsu’s full given name “Tekkan” (鉄幹). Thus, Tetsu says that he’d assumed the workshop’s name to mean “a place where Tetsu is needed”. [↩]
- Here Jasmine says “ojama shiman-nya-wa” (“おじゃましまんにゃわ”), a reference to a common greeting comedian Tatsuo Inoue would use whenever he showed up somewhere. [↩]