Say Hi to Virginia

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Say Hi to Virginia (バージニアによろしく Bājinia ni Yoroshiku) is a Japanese shonen manga one-shot written and illustrated by Hirohiko Araki. It was originally published in the August 1st, 1982 special issue of Weekly Shonen Jump.

After Poker Under Arms and Outlaw Man, Araki's next one-shot leaves the western setting to switch over to science fiction setting. Say Hi to Virginia is now included in the tankōbon release of Araki's other manga, Gorgeous Irene. The one-shot was also published in Italy on Action 98.

Summary

The space freighter Dillinger is crossing space along the Venus-Earth to deliver cargo, a journey that needs 316 days to complete. The ship is on auto-pilot. The second-in-command and engineer Hiroshi Takemoto is ooking his meal with the android named Clyde. Meanwhile, Captain and technician Matt Jackson is playing darts with his blowgun. Annoyed by the humidity, Jackson yells at the ship's automated computer Bonnie and orders it to lower the temperature. Jackson is bored out of his mind and still has 56 days until Earth.

Hiroshi receives a message and calls his captain, but Jackson refuses to watch it and tells Hiroshi to hang up as he cannot stand hearing Clyde peeling apples. Hiroshi thus consults the message himself. A mysterious figure appears on the screen and tells him to "play nice with the bomb". The mysterious person explains that they want to play a game and has installed two bombs in the ship, the first will explode in the escape pod in 30s and the second one will explode in one hour in the engine room. The figure jokingly tells Hiroshi its name, Virginia, and asks him to "Say Hi to Virginia" for him before hanging up.

An explosion is felt across the ship and the escape pod is destroyed, showing that the figure was serious. Hiroshi and Jackson meet and discover the second bomb, an extremely elaborate device encased in a transparent dome. As Jackson is a former soldier, Hiroshi asks Jackson for advice. Hiroshi almost touches the bomb but Jackson stops him, showing that the computer Bonnie has detected a barrier around it that will trigger the explosion should anyone approach it. Moreover, Jackson explains the many defence system that will trigger the bomb in case anyone tries to tamper with it.

Jackson and Hiroshi devise a plan. While the human crew takes shelter in the cockpit, the block with the bomb will be deprived of its atmosphere, that way the robotic Clyde will be able to disarm the bomb. Jackson watch closely as Clyde's small appendices go through the barrier and cut out the dome. When a rolling pen threatens to touch the barrier, Clyde creates a magnetic force to trap it. Jackson then guides Clyde on how to disarm the bomb. Another problem then appears: the vacuum has damaged some water pipes and the leaking water could touch the bomb. While the pipe breaks and a jet of water splashes the bomb, Clyde is able to disarm just in time.

After recovering in the living room, Jackson decides to go back to his room and take a nap. At this moment, Hiroshi receives another call from the bomber. Happy about the incident that broke the monotony of the journey, the mysterious figure announces the next game, a game of cats and mouse with Hiroshi as the mouse. Hiroshi then realizes something about the mysterious figure.

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References

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