We’ve done an escape! I think. I mean, we just escaped from a kitchen, and before that we escaped from some cabins or something, so hopefully we’re now back out on the deck and ready to reunite with our bros who went through the other door. Or we’re about to have to escape again. We’ll see.
Oh, but look, what that over there? It’s a music box playing the music cue here!
(They stepped out of the kitchen and into a hallway that looked rather familiar. A metal grate stretched from wall to wall. Beyond it were 2 elevators and the entrance to the kitchen. They had entered the kitchen from one door and come out the other.)
Right, so we went in a door on one side of the grate, solved the puzzle in the kitchen and escaped on the other side of the grate. I think? Except… the grate seems to be open now, which is a bit annoying. We didn’t need to go through all that at all!
(That meant their map of the ship’s interior was accurate. They laid the map out in front of them, and began to discuss their next step.
There were 4 possible routes. A, B, C and D…)
Okay; okay, is this just me or… is route A & B the exact same? I mean, they go inside the same room, no? So, they are totally missing a room over there.
I think it’s just a matter of which door you go through, but yeah, looks like the same room!
(First, A and B…
A and B both seemed to connect to an L-shaped room. However, the 2 doors that led to the room… were both locked, and could not be opened.)
I imagine we’ll be coming back here at some point. A locked door in a game almost always means a place to visit once you’ve got the key, although I don’t think we’ll be revisiting all of those locked doors down that long hallway behind the first door we opened.
Well, not always. I learned that a locked door can also be a great way to guide the player into a certain direction. To be honest, I don’t remember if you go through that door in the game. So, that will be a surprise for us both then.
(Next was route C…)
Junpei: This goes all the way to the main staircase.
Santa: That means it’s door . One of the numbered doors…
June: Then do you think we would meet up with the other 4 after this hallway…?
Lotus doesn’t think so: when we went into the kitchen, the gate by the stairs was closed, but it’s now open. Logical conclusion is that the group who went through the other door opened it, meaning that we’d be going backwards if we took route C.
The Logic & Trick theme from Ace Attorney would be very fitting here.
June: That would be pointless.
Junpei: Then that means…
(All 4 looked at the map. They all looked at the staircase, its lazy curve leading down, deeper into the ship.)
Lotus: Route D, then.
Santa: D it is.
June: Yep, route D.
Junpei: Then we’re set.
We head down the stairs to C Deck – and, just to be sure, we pop down a little further and verify that D Deck is completely submerged, as we deduced earlier on. The water doesn’t seem to have risen much, which is a relief.
So, here is a point where my mind went eureka! And then straight into a total derp moment. I started thinking, how about they just swim to the hole that got created by the water pouring into the boat. Sounds like a great idea, no? I think you can understand why this won’t work. If not, just look up underwater pressure and the effect on the human body m’kay?
(They turned back to C Deck. It didn’t take them long to find the 2 elevators in front of the stairs. They looked identical to the elevators on the top floor, with one exception… These elevators had a card reader on the wall between them. On the card reader was a strange mark…)
Junpei: Hey, look, it’s Lotus’s symbol.
Junpei: See, it’s the woman symbol with a thorn on it. That seems like– Ouch! Ouch ouch ouch ouch!
(Lotus had taken hold of Junpei’s hair.
She began to shake him violently, and he thought he heard a low growl coming from her throat.)
Lotus is becoming one of my favourites, although that’s not really saying much given that she’s one of the only ones we’ve spent any time with and I like all the others too.
Well, I enjoy Santa a bit more, to be honest. I enjoy his attitude. I imagine myself reacting in a similar way if I would be put in this situation.
(Such violence… Junpei began to wonder if she was not the Devil itself… With an uncomfortable smile, June spoke up.)
June: This is a [Mercury symbol]. The thorn symbolizes the wings on Hermes’s staff.
Santa: Hermes, herpes, whatever.
Santa: If we can’t get this thing to work, these elevators aren’t going anywhere.
Lotus: In other words, we need a [key card] with the [Mercury symbol] on it.
Giving up on the elevator, we check the rest of the deck; there’s a hallway by the stairs with a lot of doors in it. Too many to check, we decide, but we spot another small hallway with a set of double doors at the end.
If only they were all handles you could move down, that would make it easier to check them all. But still, there are a lot of doors here.
Lotus: Let’s open it.
(Junpei nodded, and grabbed the one closest to him. He gave it a small tug and felt it move. It was unlocked. Thrilled to have found an unlocked door, he threw it open. Junpei didn’t know what to make of what he saw. He simply stood, unable to speak. The others simply stared, open-mouthed. After a few long moments, Santa managed to speak.)
Santa: Wha…what the hell is this…
(A massive room stretched out in front of them–more a cavern than a room. Its vastness was oppressive, and it bore down on the 4 companions. It was not empty, however. The entire room was filled with lines upon lines of beds. They were simple things, little more than pipe and thin mattresses.)
June: Is…is this a hospital?
(He had at last been able to put a name to the harsh scent that pervaded the room… The room swam with the harsh, biting smell of antiseptic. In the center of the room were shelves stacked with medicine, and a number of medical devices the function of which Junpei did not know.)
(More importantly, however, on the back wall of the room were 4 doors. 3 of them were emblazoned with large single-digit numbers made with thick, red paint.
The door on the left was labeled .)
(The second door from the left had no number, but the third had been given a .
…And the right-most door had an .
There could be no doubt–they were [numbered doors]. It did strike Junpei as strange, however, that the door between  and  should be blank.
What, he wondered, could it mean…)
Junpei: Let’s take a look at the doors.
Lotus: Yes, that sounds like a good plan.
(Junpei headed toward the doors, weaving his way between the beds.
He started with door , on the left, and moved to the right until he reached door .)
None of them open just from a simple push, which isn’t surprising since all except the blank one have a RED beside them.
June: It’s no use…
Lotus: Well, of course. If it was that easy to open these doors, what would be the point of the Nonary Game? We have to activate the RED, or the numbered doors won’t… Wait a minute…
Junpei: What’s wrong?
Lotus points out that the display on this RED is blank, which is weird. The ones we’ve seen before said ‘VACANT’ if nobody was inside, so maybe this one’s broken? We test it.
(It didn’t respond. All 4 took turns placing their hands over the RED, but it refused to respond. They pulled at the lever, and still it did nothing. As they soon discovered, it wasn’t only the RED for door  that was behaving strangely… The RED on door  also refused to respond…And door  was similarly silent… None of them would respond. What did it mean?)
Santa: Haha. I knew it. They’re broken. Zero sure sucks at maintenance.
Lotus: No… That’s impossible. You really think Zero, who prepared all of this, would make such a stupid, simple mistake?
Santa: Maybe, but that doesn’t explain why this thing ain’t workin’.
(It was at that moment that they heard a voice from behind them.)
Snake: I believe the bottom of the device has been removed.
(They spun around to see–)
Reunited and it feels so good. I missed you guys! Hopefully I’ll get a chance to get to know this lot the next time we pick a door, although I may end up just sticking with my little band that I know and love. We’ll see what our choices end up being.
But first, we will have to get this route to an end…
Wait, there are no more choices until the end of this route? Holy crap.
(Although they were glad to see one another, it wasn’t terribly surprising that they had. If it had been the other party who’d opened the gate in front of the kitchen, it wasn’t unreasonable that they’d bump into one another eventually. The rest of Snake’s team, however, did look rather surprised.)
Seven: How did you guys…
Ace: How did you end up here?
I almost forgot what colour everyone was, it’s been so long since we saw these dudes.
(After a moment of silence and surprise, everyone suddenly began to talk, desperate to exchange information. They talked about the rooms they’d been through, and how they’d ended up in the same place. Of course, none of it was very useful information, but that hardly mattered. They were happy to simply see one another again.
Although the level of cheer varied greatly from person to person, each one of them was wearing some manner of smile. Almost as though they had already forgotten about the death of the 9th Man…
No, thought Junpei, perhaps that wasn’t it. Perhaps thoughts of his death were what drove them to smile at one another. Not in a morbid or hateful way, no. The 9th Man had died… But they were still alive, and that was something to be happy about.
A sort of simple, uncomplicated joy, Junpei thought, the joy of being alive.
He felt sorry for the 9th Man, but more than anything Junpei was just happy to be alive.)
Ace: …There you have it. Our half of the story.
No, I didn’t forget to write in what Ace said. We just got a fade-out, and when we came back, Ace had apparently finished telling the story. Luckily, Junpei’s going to recap.
Junpei: Okay, lemme see if I’ve got all this straight… When you guys got here, the bases for the REDs were already gone.
June: And you looked all over this room, but you couldn’t find anything.
Santa: So you figured… That there might be something in the hallway with all the doors.
Lotus: So you went and had a look?
Junpei: And while you were looking around, you heard voices?
June: So you followed the voices and came back here.
We check out the REDs again, just in case, and find that there’s a sort of slot underneath each, probably for some kind of electronic gubbins.
June: Well…this isn’t good… If the RED is inactive… We can’t keep going…
Junpei: Well, what about that hallway over there? Isn’t there anywhere else we can go?
Ace: No, there isn’t. There are plenty more hospital rooms, but nothing else.
Lotus: Hospital rooms? That’s what’s behind all those doors?
Ace: Yes. There are a number of individual rooms, in addition to this large one.
Clover: There was a door at the end of the hallway, but it was locked.
Snake: There was an astrological symbol engraved near the keyhole, however. I was able to get a good, ah, feel of it. I believe it was the [symbol of Jupiter].
Santa: Not again… Those goddamn things are everywhere…
June: I wonder what they all mean?
(For a moment, everyone was silent, deep in thought.)
Junpei: While we’re asking what things mean… What’s the deal with this room? I mean… I thought this was a cruise ship, but I can’t imagine a cruise ship would have a hospital like this…
(Of all people it was Seven who answered, and with calm confidence.)
Seven: Well, I figure it’s probably a hospital ship. Chances are, it’s the [Gigantic].
Junpei: The Gigantic…?
Lotus, reigning queen of odd trivia (and perhaps feeling her monopoly on stories about weird history and pseudoscience slipping away), asks what the Gigantic is, and Seven tells us: it’s one of the Titanic’s sister ships, built to be almost identical and turned into a hospital ship by the British navy as part of the First World War effort. Damaged by a mine in the Aegean Sea, the ship survived, and what happened after that is officially unknown, but…
(One theory ran that a man named [Lord Gordain] purchased her. Lord Gordain, it seemed, had been one of the few survivors of the Titanic tragedy, and that trauma had turned him into an obsessive collector of all things related to the Titanic.
As his obsession deepened, he began to desire the Titanic itself.
That, of course, was impossible–the Titanic lay at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. The Gigantic, however, had not suffered such a dire fate, and as she was identical to her sister ship, she caught Lord Gordain’s eye.)
Again, I have no idea whether the history and science presented by this game is actually true to reality, but it sure knows how to spin a tale.
Well, I was so curious that I looked something up. And here is something quite interesting. This story is actually based on real-life. Yup, the Gigantic is actually based on the real-life HMHS Britannic. I love when games do this, this way we learn about history while having fun 🙂
Junpei: So, you’re saying this [Lord Gordain] bought this ship…?
Seven: Yeah. At least I think I am.
Santa: That’s impossible! No way we’re in some boat that’s almost 100 years old!
Lotus: Pipe down. Just pay attention. …What, that’s it? Well, have you got any proof?
Lotus: Proof that this ship is really the Gigantic.
Seven: Well, uh… This ship’s got stuff that’s like the Titanic and a hospital ship. So I
Lotus: Oh for goodness… Don’t tell me that’s your only reason?
Seven: N-No, I’ve got more…
Seven: Well, uh, I mean…
(Seven looked around desperately, doing anything to avoid meeting Lotus’s piercing stare. He scratched his head for a moment, then gave up. Finally, he opened his mouth.)
Seven: I dunno…
(Lotus sighed and shook her head…)
Lotus: I guess your memory isn’t back yet, is it?
Seven: Yeah… Sorry about that…
Junpei: Hey hey hey hey! Wait a minute! “Memory isn’t back”!?
Turns out Seven’s claiming to have total amnesia about his life before waking up, hence the slight oddness when we were all recounting what happened to us; he told everyone just before Junpei encountered the group, so old Jumpy was the only one who didn’t know.
(Then, almost as if to save Junpei from further embarrassment… A bell began to ring from far away. It sounded as though it was the clock at the main stairway. Junpei counted each chime, carefully.
10… 11… 12.)
June: It’s midnight…
Clover: Then we’ve still got 6 hours left, right?
Seven: We don’t have any time to screw around. Let’s get going. We gotta find the missing parts for the REDs.
He’s not wrong. We quickly establish, though, that the only place left to look is… well:
Lotus: W-Wait! Don’t tell me you mean we need to search all of the other rooms?!
Seven: Don’t freak out. We already searched 4 of them.
Lotus: 4 rooms…
Seven: We just have to split up the rest between the 8 of us. If each person does 6 rooms, that’ll be 48 rooms, right?
Lotus: So there are 48 rooms left?
(Her earlier experiences had apparently not encouraged Lotus to trust Seven.
Seven scratched his head awkwardly.)
Seven: I dunno.
I’m really starting to like Seven as well, y’all. I should probably stop getting attached to everyone in this game, because odds are at least one of them is not a good person.
I think it was Clover, by the way, who said in one of the first episodes that Zero might be one of them… So yeah… Whodunnit?
Oooh, ooh, what if it’s Seven but he forgot? Maybe he made himself forget he was Zero so he could play the game believably! (Spoilers for the Death Note manga/ anime – highlight to reveal… – Light pulls off a very similar trick at one point, and it works alright for him!)
The gang decide to split up, with Junpei chosen to search the rooms ‘on the starboard side, moving from fore to aft’, whatever that means. We’re to report back next time the clock dongs, which seems as if we’re leaving it all a little bit late to me, and meet back in the hospital room – or shout for the others if we find the missing parts of the REDs.
I guess Junpei doesn’t find anything, because the next thing we see is:
Wait, I thought something DID happen in the DS version. Oh well, maybe I’m remembering it wrong.
(From far away, Junpei heard the bell ring. It did so only once–it was 1 a.m. He jogged through the entrance of the large hospital room to find 6 of the others already there.
Ace, Santa, Clover, June, Seven, and Lotus.
They had gathered in front of door number .
Or perhaps, to be accurate, they had gathered in front of the RED next to door number . Had one of them found the missing piece?)
The display on the RED has changed, and now says ‘VACANT’. Hmm.
Junpei: C’mon guys, who was it? I thought we’re supposed to yell if we found it.
(Junpei wondered why she was hesitating. The others looked as confused as June, but kept their mouths shut.)
Junpei: What the hell? What is up with you guys?
(They all knew something he didn’t and Junpei wasn’t about to leave things that way. Finally, Lotus frowned and spoke.)
Lotus: Well, that’s the thing… We don’t know.
Junpei: You don’t know?
Lotus: When I got back, it was already like this. There was no one else here… That means I was the 1st one back, but… The missing parts were already back in the RED.
(Junpei looked at the bottom of the RED again, just to make sure. The slot that had been open on the bottom was now covered with metal. Clearly, whatever had been missing had been returned.)
The other two REDs are the same: repaired, but with nobody any the wiser as to how or who did it.
Junpei: All right, I just wanna be sure here. Nobody has any idea what the hell happened here, right?
(Ace and June nodded silently. Seven raised his hands as if to say “not me”, and Santa just shrugged. Only Clover lowered her head and did nothing.)
Junpei: Huh? …Wait a minute…
(That was when he noticed…)
Junpei: Where’s Snake?
(Junpei swept his eyes across the room a second time, but Snake was nowhere to be seen.)
Junpei: Does that mean that he found them…?
Ace: I’ve no idea. There’s nothing to suggest it, but nothing to suggest he didn’t either.
Lotus: I don’t suppose we’ll know until we can ask him in person.
Seven: Well, whatever he did or didn’t do, he’s pretty damn late. What the hell is he up to?
June: Maybe he’s lost…
Santa: Yeah, well, that seems likely. Dude can’t see. I don’t know how he gets around in the first place…
The idea that her brother might be missing does not go down well with Clover, which ought not to surprise anyone, really.
Clover: No, that’s impossible!
(Suddenly, she was shouting.)
Clover: Yeah, my brother’s blind, but he’s got really great hearing! He can get around as well as anyone who can see! So he…he couldn’t get lost… That’s impossible…
(Clover had started to shake, and the knuckles of her hands had gone white. She spun around, but before she did Junpei noticed tears welling up in her eyes.)
Clover: I’m gonna go look for him!
(The words were barely out of her mouth when she began to run.)
Junpei: Hey! Hold on, Clover! Wait!
(Junpei cried out to her, but he was too slow. She kept going, and before anyone else could react, she was gone.)
Junpei: Damnit… What should we do now?
Lotus: Well, the RED is working now…
June: No, we’re not leaving 2 people behind! We should go look for them!
Seven: Aw man, this ain’t good…
Santa: Oh, yes, what an excellent idea! We just wasted a bunch of time looking for some piece of electronic junk, now let’s waste some more by looking for a couple of idiots!
Ace: Then remain here, if you feel you must, but there’s no time. We’ve only 5 hours left.
(Junpei and the others nodded to one another, and took off at a run. In front of the stairs that led to B Deck, they decided to split up. They quickly assigned search areas, and went their separate ways. Soon only 2 of them were left. Those 2 were Junpei and June, who had been a few steps behind the others.)
Junpei: All right, we should go too!
June: Yes! Let’s go! But…where should we start?
Junpei: Let’s see…
Did not realise there was a casino. Did we know that? I feel like I’d have remembered that. Anyway, it sounds like fun, and if I was blind I’m pretty sure the place I would want to be would be… a casino. For reasons. Yeah, I haven’t got a clue, but casino seems like the most interesting option (if nothing else, maybe we can play some casino games and win some dollars), so let’s check it.
Actually, the only thing I’ll say is; don’t worry! You will have to enter the casino at one point in the game. That’s all I’m going to say.
(Before they knew it, they were there. So was Lotus. She was leaning against the wall, examining her nails.)
Junpei: Hey, what do you think you’re doing?
(She glanced up at him, unimpressed.)
Lotus: Isn’t it obvious? I’m looking for Snake.
Junpei: I’m just not seeing it…
Lotus: Really? Maybe you need to look harder.
(Junpei didn’t think that was the problem.)
Lotus: Oh, by the way… I’ve got a proposal for you 2… Care to hear it?
When Lotus talks, we listen. Let’s hear her out.
Junpei: What is it?
Lotus: Well, I don’t like to beat around the bush, so I’ll get right to it. Why don’t we team up?
Here’s what Lotus is proposing: the three of us go through a numbered door together. June points out that our digital root would be 1, and there’s no number 1 door in the hospital room (there’s 3, 7, and 8, plus the blank one, if you remember), and so that wouldn’t work out. Lotus counters that we can just add Seven, then we can go through the 8 door.
Junpei: Whoa, hold on a sec. What about the other 4?
Lotus: Why don’t you add them up?
The digital root of the others is 1, in case you were wondering.
Junpei: And you…know the number  door isn’t in the big hospital room, right?
Lotus: Of course I know that.
June: No! Are…are you saying you’d leave them behind?
Lotus: Of course not. What kind of a woman do you think I am? Once we get off the ship, we could come back and rescue them, couldn’t we? Then we wouldn’t really be leaving them behind…
June points out that we have less than five hours remaining, so even if we did manage to get out, we’d never be able to get back and save them.
Lotus: Well, you never know until you try.
Junpei: No, no… You’re not thinking this through. Even if we brought Seven with us, we wouldn’t be able to get off the ship. The 4 of us couldn’t open door .
(flashback:) Zero: “It is hidden, but an exit can be found. Seek a way out… Seek a door that carries a .”
June: Yeah… Yeah, that’s right. The digital root for us 4 will be (8), so we’d have to add Ace to make (9)…
Junpei: Unless we bring Ace too, we’ll be stuck.
But we wouldn’t be able to bring Ace through the number 8 door, because that would make our digital root 9 – and as we know, trying to get through a door when you’ve not scanned correctly leads to the most literal of mind-blownedness – so that doesn’t work anyway.
(Lotus scratched the back of her ear.)
Lotus: Oh. Hmmm… Well, that’s unfortunate.
(She didn’t sound particularly bothered by what Junpei said. …Nor did she seem particularly surprised.)
So… what was Lotus’ plan? I don’t believe that she hadn’t thought this through, but there are no viable options for us to split. The only thing I can think is that she’s trying to sow the seeds for a possible breakout team later on, getting herself out of there ASAP at the cost of abandoning some of the others. I still like her as a character, but she’s definitely a bit more selfish than most of us… but perhaps that can be forgiven, since we’re on a death boat of death.
And this is the point where I started to get annoyed with Lotus. I’m a sort of person to get the best result for everybody and yeah… this hit a nerve with me. To be fair, you are right mate. Lotus has a great character, but this move gave her evil points in my book.
June: Well, let’s try and find another way, okay? A way to get out of here with all 8 of us.
Lotus: That’s impossible. Are you being serious? You do know that only 5 people, at most, can go through 1 of the numbered doors, right? The number  isn’t going to be an exception to that rule. Regardless, at least 3 people will get left behind.
Junpei: You’re right… That is true…
(The moment he said it, Junpei felt a chill run down his spine. It was true. How Lotus could remain cavalier about so terrifying a prospect was beyond him. When they found the number , they would have to choose which 3 of them would die.)
(Lotus’s forehead furrowed.)
Lotus: Do you think I could have a moment alone? There are some things I need to think about.
Hmm. We leave her to it, though Junpei doesn’t feel good about the whole conversation. Trying not to let it get us down, we get back to thinking about the task in hand: finding Snake.
Junpei: All right, where should we go next?
Let’s check out the first class cabin. Seems as if we’re going to have to go everywhere on the list, so may as well just work our way down it.
(Outside of the 1st class cabin, they found Clover. She was standing in front of the wall. She was staring at a meaningless point on the wall, her eyes blank.)
We probably should try to talk to her, and hope that she doesn’t attack us or something. With any luck, disturbing a thoughtful Clover isn’t as risky as waking up a sleepwalker, but we’ll see.
Junpei: Are you all right?
(He did his best to sound friendly, but Clover didn’t respond.)
Junpei: Look, I know you’re really worried, but…um…
(He could think of no words to say that didn’t sound hollow and fake. Junpei hesitated. Clover was so consumed by worry and fear that Junpei feared it would crush her. Her actions didn’t surprise him–she had suddenly lost her brother, who she seemed to have been very close to.)
(Her voice was thin, and barely audible.)
Clover: I said leave me alone!
(Suddenly she was screaming.)
Clover: You’re so annoying! Just go away and leave me alone! Just looking at you guys is pissing me off! Go away, okay?! Just go…somewhere else! Stop bothering me!
(Junpei was taken aback. Such anger and hate… June’s eyes had gone wide with surprise as well.)
Clover: Why are you still here!? Didn’t you hear me?!
Clover: Fine! Forget it. If you aren’t gonna leave, then I’ll just–
Junpei: All right. Let’s go, June.
(They turned, and left Clover. As they did, Junpei glanced back over his shoulder to see Clover wiping tears from her face. Clover had driven home the misery of their situation, but Junpei told himself that getting depressed would get him nowhere but depressed.
For Clover’s sake, they had to find Snake, and fast. He did his best to push away the misery and depression, and forced a smile.)
Well, that didn’t go too well.
Indeed, but as a big brother, I can imagine the pain she is going through. It’s such a strange feeling when your sibling is missing and you can’t find him or her. It’s rough, man.
Junpei: So, where do you think we should go next?
No point going back to the casino, I wouldn’t have thought, so roomy hallway it is.
Now that’s enthusiasm.
Depening on the context you read it in. Like: “Oh, it’s Ace!” or “Oh…. it’s Ace…”
I definitely read it as the latter. Didn’t listen to the voice acting, come to think of it.
Ace: Hey! Snake! Where are you?! Answer me if you’re there!
Let’s go say hello. I don’t want to miss out on any conversations in this game, they’re all so interesting.
(With June in tow, Junpei jogged up to Ace. Hearing their footsteps, he turned to greet them.)
Ace: Ah, hello there. Snake is… Well, that’s obvious, isn’t it? I assume you haven’t found him yet either?
June: I really wonder where he could have gone.
Ace: Well, wherever he’s disappeared to, we must find him as quickly as we can, for Clover’s sake.
(June’s face looked kinda enraptured.)
That’s weird. Does she have the hots for Ace?
Junpei: By the way… Do you think Clover and Snake are really siblings?
Ace: Ah… Why would you say that?
I don’t see any reason they’d lie about it. I think it’s probably more likely that we’ve got another pair of siblings who haven’t revealed that they’re related, rather than the known pair revealing that they actually aren’t related. Then again, two sets of siblings in this Nonary Game seems unlikely, so it’s probably just the one pair.
I do think there are more connections we haven’t learned yet, though: maybe Ace is secretly banging Lotus, or Seven’s Santa’s dad. (That latter one actually does seem reasonably possible, since Seven’s lost his memory and all.)
(“Why would you say that?” The question seemed somehow…odd to Junpei.)
Junpei: Why? Well, it’s obvious, isn’t it? They don’t look alike at all.
(Ace looked at him for a moment, and then spoke.)
Ace: Yes, you know, now that you mention it, they don’t.
(“Now that you mention it”…?)
Ace: Still, there are a great many siblings who do not look like one another. It certainly isn’t rare.
(Junpei wasn’t sure why, or even if he was seeing what he thought he was, but he could have sworn that Ace’s face tightened as he spoke.)
That’s definitely important. Ace dislikes the idea of… siblings who don’t look like each other. Calling it now: Ace has an evil twin. Or is the evil twin.
Ace: At any rate, we really must find Snake as soon as possible. The clock is ticking. We really can’t afford to waste any time.
Ace: Very well, let’s get back to the search, shall we? You can leave this area to me.
June: All right. Let’s go, Jumpy.
(At June’s urging, they left. They found themselves back at the stairs, but Junpei’s mind was in turmoil. There was so much to think about, but… No, it would have to be put aside for
As Ace had said, finding Snake was their top priority. Junpei did his best to clear his mind.
All right… Where should we go next…)
Well, we’ve been everywhere now. May as well head back to the hospital room and see if Snake’s just happened to wander back of his own accord.
Junpei: What are you doing?
Santa: What, you can’t tell? I’m checking out the RED.
June: Why, is there something bothering you?
Santa: What, it’s not bothering you?
Santa: This… The guts of this RED. Why wouldn’t you wonder who the hell put it back in here?
June: Y-Yeah, that’s true. Well, I’m curious too, but…
Santa: Who do you think did it?
(Santa’s eyes narrowed as he looked at June. She shook her head.)
June: I don’t know.
Santa: Well, what about you, Junpei? Who do you think fixed this thing for us?
Eh… none of the options make a lot of sense. Why would Snake do it and where would he then disappear to; what would Lotus get out of replacing the mechanism and then lying about it; why would Zero arbitrarily prevent us from going through the door and then just as arbitrarily allow it? As for ‘someone else’, how could we have failed to notice them?
Let’s go with Zero, since we have to go with someone.
Junpei: I think it was probably Zero.
Junpei: Isn’t that obvious? He’s the guy who set this whole thing up.
Santa: You don’t think that should mean the opposite? Seems to me like that means he didn’t do it. I mean, who do you think took that stuff out in the 1st place?
Junpei: Probably Zero.
Santa: Yeah, exactly. Then why the hell would he put them back in, after he’d taken them out himself? It just doesn’t make sense.
My thoughts exactly.
Besides, Zero is the scapegoat for everything now.
Santa: Why do all that work?
Junpei: Yeah… I guess that makes sense.
Santa: So what happened then? Who put that stuff back in the REDs?
(Junpei furrowed his brow.)
Junpei: So, in other words… One of us is the person who fixed the RED.
Santa: Bingo. We have a winner.
Junpei: But if that’s true, then the person who did it doesn’t want the rest of us to know they fixed the RED.
Santa: No idea. Maybe if they come clean on that, it means we’d find out something else, something bad.
Junpei: Something bad?
Santa: Dunno. But whatever it is, it’s gotta be worth hiding.
Santa: Of course… It could have something to do with Snake’s disappearance.
Junpei: You think maybe they did something to Snake?
Santa: It’s not out of the question.
(Junpei stared at Santa. There was something about him that made Junpei wary… At first, he’d assumed the other man wasn’t terribly clever, but Junpei was beginning to think he would need to re-evaluate that assessment.
When Santa spoke again, his voice was quiet.)
Santa: Look, if you trust anybody in this game, you’re gonna lose. You’ve gotta be careful. The person you trust the most could turn out to be the one who stabs you
in the back.
Is he… warning us about June?
Or maybe, he is warning you about … himself. Who knows?
(With that depressing suggestion, he turned and quietly walked away. Junpei and June looked at one another and smiled awkwardly.)
Well, I think that’s everything we have to do here.
Indeed, if you decided to continue to look you went to the same places and maybe get a bit more dialogue, but it wasn’t anything special.
(They looked everywhere they could think of, but Snake was nowhere to be found.
Lotus looked around at 6 frustrated faces and spoke.)
Lotus: We can’t keep looking for Snake. Wherever he is, it’s not here. We need
to get moving.
(Junpei couldn’t disagree with what she was saying. Snake seemed to have completely disappeared. There was no point to wasting any more time. The others seemed to be having similar thoughts, but they stayed silent.)
So… Snake’s just missing? But he can’t have got off the ship, he can’t have gone through a numbered door on his own and there are only so many places he could be – we should have found him! The only thing I can think is that Zero’s kidnapped him or something, but what would be the point of removing one of the participants of the Nonary Game?
Unless… is Snake Zero? Surely not. If he is, he’s probably doing a House of Flying Daggers and secretly isn’t even blind, but that would implicate Clover too. There’s no way she wouldn’t know, but then why would she be so upset now…?
This logic is very sound!
(Finally, Seven spoke.)
Seven: We don’t got a choice… Lotus is right. We’re not gonna find Snake. There’s a problem, though. We’ve gotta figure out who’s gonna go through which door.
Lotus: Yes. I have a proposal.
This woman and her proposals. I don’t think we’re going to like this.
(She walked back and forth across the floor, her heels clicking against the wood. Finally, she stopped.)
Lotus: Why don’t we decide on 1 person to sacrifice?
Lotus: Well, perhaps that’s a bit of a harsh word, but yes. You’ve all figured it out by now, haven’t you? We can’t all make it through those doors. If we split into 2 teams, of 4 and 3 people respectively, then 3 people will be left behind.
If we split into 2 teams, of 5 and 2 people respectively, then 2 people will be left behind. But, if we split into 2 groups of 3, and leave 1 person out, then only 1 person will be left behind.
I… don’t even know how I’d start going about working out whether she’s correct or not, but let’s question her on it just in case Junpei has a better solution.
(Junpei wasn’t quite sure that was true.)
Junpei: Wait a minute.
Junpei: 2 people get left behind if we split into 5 and 2. And 1 person is left behind if we split into 3, 3, and 1. I got that part. You can’t go through the numbered doors with any less
than 3 people. But if we split into 4 and 3, then why do 3 people have to be left
Lotus: Just run the numbers. Let’s say we go through door  with (1456). Who’s left over?
Junpei: That would be (378).
Lotus: What’s the digital root for that?
Junpei: (3 + 7 + 8 = 18), so add (1) and (8)…(9).
Lotus: Exactly. But door  isn’t here, right? That means (378) won’t be going anywhere. That was just an example, of course. There are a lot of different combinations, but the result will always be the same. It doesn’t matter which 4 it is–the 3 that are left over can’t go through any of the doors. Go ahead and calculate it, if you have the time. You’ll see.
Lotus: Anyway, that’s how it is. Now, if we can get back to my proposal… We only have to sacrifice 1 person if we split into 3, 3, and 1.
But who will that person be?
We’ll find out next time.
I can’t wait! I hope that it isn’t us and we have to make an entire episode of us just sitting in this hospital room…