We left off with the sobering thought that we’re going to have to sacrifice one of our… I don’t think we’re at the ‘friends’ stage yet, but ‘companions’ seems workable. Anyway, one of those people is going to have to stay behind while the rest of us go through a door, and I guess that person will just have to hope we’re able to come back for them.
I’m not going to post a music cue for now since most of this section is silent with some ambient sounds. So, yeah. But if you want some music to listen to, I personally find that this music fits the situation quite well.
Seven: Then… You’re saying we gotta decide who’s gonna stay behind?
Lotus: Yes, we do. Given our circumstances, it’s logically and morally the best solution. If the other 6 are to survive, then 1 person has to sacrifice themselves.
It almost seems counter-intuitive – I don’t really want to call it logical or moral, but I guess it’s the best of a bunch of bad choices. Let’s not get into what logic and morality actually are, because I already spent years of my life on that subject in uni.
It’s indeed a slippery slope. But, how are they going to decide who stays behind? When I played this game for the first time, I was afraid that it would be us…
June: No! That’s too cruel!
Lotus: What’s so cruel about it?!
June: To…to just sacrifice someone like that...
Lotus: Then what’s your plan?! Maybe we should sacrifice 2 people, instead of just 1!
June: That’s not what I meant! We shouldn’t sacrifice anyone!
Lotus: I told you, that’s impossible! Wake up!
Santa: Whoa, whoa, calm down you 2.
(Santa stepped between Lotus and June.)
Santa: Look, what Lotus is trying to say is that you should aim to bring the greatest amount of happiness to the greatest amount of people, right?
Ahhhhh, utilitarianism. A subject close to my heart, if only because of the stress it caused me doing papers on it.
To be honest, just reading the Wikipedia page is making my head spin. I got confused so quickly. Then again, I’m convinced that when I would link something networking related, other people would get confused. Something else that I want to touch upon is, is it me or does Santa’s art here look off? That right eye, it gives me the creeps.
Yeah, I think we’ve already touched upon how Santa’s sprite in that particular pose looks a bit… skew-whiff.
Lotus: Exactly. That’s how democracy works. And for that reason, I think the only fair way to decide who’ll be sacrificed is through a vote. What do you think?
June: No, that’s terrible.
Lotus: I’m not asking you! Shut up!
But a needed comment, in my opinion. Think about it. If Lotus didn’t say anything, this arguing would go in circles and go nowhere. I do agree that she could have been nicer about it; that’s Lotus for you.
Lotus: What about you, Santa?
Santa: Me? Well…I agree, I guess.
Lotus: All right, that’s 1 vote for. Counting mine, that’s 2.
Wait, what are we voting on? Are we voting on whether to have a vote about who to leave behind? … A vote vote?
I can’t resist… VOTECEPTION.
Seven: I can’t say I agree with you, but… We don’t exactly have a choice. If we don’t do somethin’, we’re all gonna die.
Lotus: Glad to see you get it. If I can get 1 more vote, then it’s decided. What about you, Clover?
(Clover had moved away from the group, and was sitting on one of the beds. Her whole body drooped. Junpei didn’t know if she’d even heard Lotus’s proposal. Lotus walked over to Clover, and gently laid a hand on her shoulder.)
Lotus: Your brother has to be behind 1 of the numbered doors. We searched everywhere, but we didn’t find him. Doesn’t that mean he has to have gone through 1 of them somehow?
(Clover slowly lifted her face.)
Lotus: Let’s go look for him together, okay? If we sacrifice 1 person, then we can go look for him. You…agree with me, right?
(Clover nodded once.)
Lotus: *Giggle* The motion carries.
Wow, Lotus. I’m really liking you less, y’know? First you want to ditch, like, half the people, now you’re focusing on people who you know aren’t thinking clearly enough to say no so you can get your way.
Horrible things and events change people. Lotus here is a perfect example.
(Lotus spun around, and walked toward Junpei.)
Lotus: Now, let’s start a vote to–
So we were voting on whether or not to vote!
Ace: That won’t be necessary.
Oh, yeah, Ace is here. Almost forgot about him.
(Ace had barely spoken for Lotus’s entire speech, and everyone jumped a little. 6 pairs of eyes turned to look at him. He didn’t seem to notice, or even care.)
There’s something weird about Ace. I still think maybe he’s an evil twin or something.
Ace: I will stay. That should solve our problem, yes?
June: A-Ace! What are you saying?! No, you can’t do that! That won’t solve anything!
(June’s voice shook, and she looked around desperately for someone to agree with her. Ace simply looked at her.)
Ace: June, I’m afraid you may have misunderstood me. I said I would stay, but I never said I would sacrifice myself.
Ace: I trust you, each and every one of you. I believe you’ll come back for me.
Seven: Whoa whoa whoa, there’s optimistic and then there’s just nuts. Those doors only go 1 way–you go in, you don’t come out. If we go through ’em–
Ace: You won’t be able to return, correct?
Ace: True, but that will not be the case once you’ve escaped from the ship.
Ace: Please, I beg you, once you’ve escaped, come back and rescue me. Ideally within the time limit Zero has given us…
Okay, this is weird. Ace has no reason to trust us that much, and even if he does, there’s no guarantee we’ll actually be able to accomplish the task of getting through the puzzle, escaping, and returning. It’s a big ask. I’m wondering whether he has another motive for staying behind… perhaps he knows where Snake is, or perhaps he’s found some way of opening another door without any of the rest of us?
Or he’s Zero. (I think by the time we get to the end of this playthrough I’ll have suggested that every single character might be Zero at least once, except possibly Junpei. Actually, screw that, calling it now: Junpei’s totally Zero.)
I’m not going to comment on your Zero-theory to avoid spoilers here. When I was playing through the game for the first time, I was convinced that Lotus or Santa was Zero. If you want to know who Zero is, just you wait until the end of this series.
The end of the series? You mean we’re not going to find out in this game? Shit, man. At this pace, it’s going to be years before we’ve played through all three games!
Total sidenote, talking about this really reminds me of one of my favorite TV shows in Belgium and the Netherlands. I’m talking about “The Mole“. Seriously, check it out. It might be interesting if you enjoy the concept of this game, without the deadly stuff of course.
Junpei: No, that’s ridiculous! There’s no way we could get back in time!
(Finally, Junpei could hold his tongue no longer.)
Junpei: We’ve only got 5 hours left. We don’t even know where the hell we are. How on Earth are we gonna find someone to come and rescue you?!
Ace: Then perhaps you would prefer to stay, instead of me? Or perhaps you would be willing to leave June behind?
(Ace’s voice was dignified, and without a hint of cruelty or malice. Junpei had no rebuttal.)
Yeah, there’s something going on here. Either Ace doesn’t mind dying, or he’s got some ulterior motive that he can only accomplish once we all leave him alone and unsupervised. Then again, he’s already had ample opportunity for that when we all split up to look for Snake.
If we continue with that logic, the only person we can somewhat trust is Akane (or June). Since, you know, she was with you when you were looking for Snake.
Ace: You see? There’s no other choice. Then I see we’ve come to our conclusion. Go on. Don’t worry yourselves about me. Go, quickly!
(Junpei stood frozen by indecision, unable to move. June bit her lip so hard that Junpei feared she would break the skin. Santa stood against a wall, calm and aloof. Seven tore his beanie from his head, and turned it over anxiously in his hands. Only Clover stared at Ace, with an expression Junpei was unable to decipher. Lotus’s attitude, however, was different from the others.)
Lotus: Good. Let’s accept his kind offer, then.
(She smiled, her eyes bright. Ace answered with a smile of his own.)
Ace: Good. I think this is the best for me. Perhaps I’ll be able to take a nap. Perhaps it’s my age, but I get tired so easily these days.
I’m not sure how old Ace actually is, but I’d guess he’s the oldest of us by some way. If I had to take a stab, I’d say Clover’s the youngest, then June and Junpei a couple of years older, then Santa, Snake and Lotus mid to late twenties (Lotus might be slightly older). Then Seven must be late thirties, early forties, and Ace is probably upwards of fifty.
Not that any of this matters, but it’s something to ponder.
Okay, something spoiler free here; but Lotus is according to the Zero Escape Wiki… Well, a bit older than 20. Double that.
Clover is 19, June & Junpei are both 21, Santa and Snake are 24, Seven is 45 and Ace is 50. So, you weren’t too far off. Expect for Lotus. Yeah, it even surprised me.
Okay, so I’m pretty good at theorising about their ages, if nothing else!
(As he spoke, Ace lowered himself down to the floor next to one of the beds. From somewhere deep in the ship, Junpei suddenly heard the screeching of metal on metal. It was almost as if the ship were screaming. Would it really hold until their time limit was up? Already, D Deck was flooded… In the sudden silence, the only sound was the sad metal wail of the ship. Unsurprisingly, it was Lotus who spoke first.)
Lotus: Well, what are you waiting for? We’re wasting time. Why don’t we hurry it up?
(As if a spell had been broken, the others all began to talk at once.)
Seven: You’re right. We should get goin’. That’s all we can do right now.
Santa: Seriously. Honestly, I was getting kinda sick of listening to you guys talk.
June: You too, Santa…?
Clover: I…I have to find my brother…
June: W-Wait! All of you! Let’s just calm down and think about this! There has to be a way to get everyone out! There has to be! R-Right, Jumpy?! Say something!
Junpei: Y-Yeah, let’s think… There’s…gotta be another way…
(His words sounded hollow and fake…)
Ahhhh. This is tricky; on the one hand, it’s kind of gross having to leave someone behind like this, but on the other it does sort of seem as if there’s not much else we can do. I mean, it basically sucks being in this game in the first place, so any other crappy situations on top of that are just to be expected really.
Couldn’t have worded it any better mate.
June: Fine! Forget about it! I’ll figure it out on my own!
(She spun around, and ran toward Ace. He had slumped down next to the bed when June grabbed his arm and pulled.)
June: C’mon, Ace, please stand up! You can’t give up yet! We just have to sit down together and think about this! We’ll figure out a way that we can all get out of here!
(Then it happened. Ace fell forward. He slumped over onto the wooden floor, his body folded in half like a boxer out cold.)
(June cried out and dropped to her knees beside him. She put her arm around his neck and did her best to lift him up.)
June: What happened, Ace?! Say something!
(She shook him, frantically. His eyes fluttered open.)
Ace: I’m all right…
(His voice was weak, and slightly slurred.)
June: How are you…fine?
(He held out his left arm, and slowly opened his hand… In it was a syringe, and a small vial. The vial was empty. It had only recently been emptied–a few drops clung to the sides. There was a label taped to the side of the container… It read [Soporil-Beta].
Junpei had no idea what it meant, or what kind of medicine it might be.)
Sounds like a sleeping pill. I like the idea that Ace really was just old and needed a bit of a nap-nap; wonder whether he also carries around some laxatives for when he has to make poopy.
June: Did…did you use this?!
Ace: Yes… It’s just…anesthetic… I’ll be…fine…
That’s anaesthetic to my fellow Englishmen.
Ace: I found it…earlier… While we were searching the…hospital rooms… I thought it might be useful…later…
Ace: Ha… I didn’t think I’d be…using it on…myself…
June: Why did you do this…?
Ace: Didn’t I…tell you? I’d like to take a…nap… I really am…very tired…
(Junpei knew that wasn’t why he’d done it. Ace had injected himself with anesthetic to forestall Junpei and June’s attempts to bring him along. If he couldn’t move, there was nothing they could do. He’d injected himself so that they would be forced to leave him behind.)
Well, that’s oddly selfless. How did he know how much to take? What if he’s accidentally overdosed, and now he’ll have no chance of waking up before the time limit’s up even if we do manage to get back and stage a rescue attempt?
Or he’s actually not injected it at all, and now he’s just going to pretend to go to sleep until we’re out of sight, then carry out a dastardly plan. Who knows?
Ace: Hm…? Is there something you want to…say? I’d just like to sleep…a little… Could you…keep it down…?
June: No! Don’t, Ace! Don’t fall asleep!
Ace: Ah…you feel…warm… So…comfortable… I think I’ll have…a nice…dream…
(Ace’s eyelids drooped further and further… Almost as though he were…dying…)
June: Ace! Ace!
Well, I’m glad we didn’t have to make the choice of who to leave. For the record, I’d probably have gone with Lotus just as an ironic punishment for being the one to initiate the vote.
Besides, Ace already said earlier that he wanted to stay behind. Now he forces that decision upon us.
(She shook his shoulder, again and again… But this time, he didn’t respond. Only the gentle rising and falling of his chest told them he was alive. Junpei was relieved to see he was, in fact, still breathing. He lifted Ace up off the floor, and laid him on the bed he’d been leaning
against. When Junpei turned around, Lotus gave him a look of pity.)
Lotus: Well, we really don’t have a choice now. We can’t let his sacrifice go to waste. …Right?
(She wasn’t feeling any remorse, Junpei was sure of that. Still, he held no grounds upon which to oppose her. It felt wrong, but he had to agree. Then suddenly, Santa spoke.)
Santa: Yeah, but we’re not done choosing yet, are we?
Lotus: Huh? What do you mean?
Santa: Well, we haven’t decided who’s going in what door.
Lotus: Ah, yes. Yes, that’s true.
Santa: Well, enough of this screwin’ around. Let’s decide. You 1st Lotus. Which door do you want?
Lotus: I…um…I want door number . It’s the same number as my bracelet number.
Santa: Got it. You’re . You’re next, Seven. Which one do you want?
Seven: I’ll take . I can’t get along with that old lady.
Lotus: What?! What did you just say!?
(Her face distorted by rage, Lotus took a step toward Seven. He threw up his hands, and made a face like a child caught with his hand in the cookie jar.)
Before Jonez confirmed everyone’s ages a minute ago, I was already getting the feeling Lotus might be older than she looks. She’s certainly sensitive about it (reminds me of Edward Elric not liking when people call him short).
Just wait, mate. Just wait.
Santa: Junpei, which door do you want?
(At last… Junpei’s mind was already made up.)
It was? Er… hm. I should probably take some time to work out which combinations will be possible depending on my choice, but I don’t think it’ll make too much of a difference. I’ll have… number 7, since we haven’t spent much time with Seven yet.
Behind door 7 is one of my favorite puzzle rooms from the game.
Junpei: I… I think… I’m gonna go with door .
Santa: Okay.  it is. All right then, that means June’s gotta go through .
June: What?! Why?!
(Santa grimaced, and muttered angrily to himself, but finally began to explain.)
Santa: If the 6 of us are gonna keep going without leaving anyone behind… There’re only 3 ways we can do it.
Those three ways are this:
Go through  with (358), and
go through  with (467).
Go through  with (457), and
go through  with (368).
Go through  with (367), and
go through  with (458).
Santa: …And that’s it. Those are our only options. In other words, 3 & 4 and 7 & 8 can never go through the same doors. You get it now?
Well, I’m glad someone worked it out. Does that mean nobody could ever go through door 3, then?
June: Oh no… You’re saying we aren’t going to see each other again for a long time…
(Junpei felt just as June did. He wanted to be at her side through whatever trials they were preparing to face. But he knew if they were to survive, he had to swallow his feelings. In order for the 6 of them to move forward, he and June had to be separated. He looked at June. He was scared to lose her, but… He swallowed, steeled his resolve, and did his best to smile.)
Junpei: Hey, c’mon, you’re making it sound like we’re never gonna see each
other again. We gotta split up, but only for a while. This is just like when we went into the  and  doors, remember We got split up then too, but we all met back up. I’ll bet  and  are just like that.
June: You mean they’re connected somewhere?
Junpei: Yeah… Probably…
(She didn’t sound very hopeful. It was Seven that interjected.)
Seven: I’m sure they’re gonna connect somewhere.
June: Why…? What makes you think so?
Seven: If they don’t connect… Neither team can get through door . In other words, the game would end right here. Zero’s been on top of his shit so far. I don’t think he’d blow it now. I’m damn sure that son of a bitch wants to have his fun as long as possible. He’s not gonna end this game until we get through the  door.
(June said nothing. The tears were gone, but her eyes were still sad as they looked at Junpei. He met them, and with what reassurance he could manage, laid his hand gently on her shoulder.)
Junpei: Everything’s gonna be fine. We’re gonna see each other again. I promise.
(June bit her lip and gave him an almost imperceptible nod.)
June: Yes… Promise…?
(Her voice was barely above a whisper. Santa’s voice shattered the moment.)
I promise, June! (as long as none of us die)
Santa: *Yawn* …You guys are done, right?
(He stretched and continued.)
Santa: Anyway, that’s pretty much it. Clover and I will both go into separate groups. I figure I’ll take , and Clover can take . Any problems with that, Clover?
(Clover looked away, and was silent for a moment.)
(It was more of a dismissal than an agreement, but Santa didn’t seem to care.)
Santa: All right, we’re ready to go then. Let’s move!
(At Santa’s command, the group split, and headed for their respective doors. Clover, Seven, and Junpei walked toward door … Santa, Lotus, and June headed for door . For a long moment, they stood in front of the door. Seven took a deep breath.)
Seven: You guys ready?
Seven: Okay. Let’s go.
(The door had opened. A narrow hallway stretched out before them. Seven and Clover leapt through the door. The moment they did, their bracelets beeped. The detonators in the bracelets had been activated. Junpei stepped forward to follow them… But as he was about to step over the threshold, he stopped. He looked to his right… Toward door …)
(June stood there, a mirror image of Junpei. She turned and looked toward him. Their eyes met. They nodded. Their farewell took almost 1.5 seconds.)
THAT’S TOO MANY SECONDS GUYS. We nearly got blown to bits by the last one, remember?
Also, who timed that? Was it 1.5 seconds on the nose? Why am I asking these questions? Why do I want to know this?!
(Then someone took hold of Junpei’s arms, and hauled him bodily through the door. He heard the sound of the numbered door slam shut behind him. His bracelet gave a cold, electronic beep.)
Seven: Only 81 seconds left! No time to waste, guys! Let’s get movin’!
(Seven led the way down the hallway. Junpei and Clover followed him, as fast as they could. After what seemed like far more than 81 seconds, they reached the end of the hall. To the left of a wooden door they found the DEAD. There was no time to rest, or catch their breath. All 3 slammed their hands, in quick succession, over the scanner panel on the DEAD.)
Why do we always have to run so fast to get to the DEAD? Zero must have been pretty confident we’d all be fit enough to make it, since just one of us tripping and failing to get there would result in everyone who’d gone through the door turning into strawberry jam. And that would be a bit of a balls-up.
I might have mentioned this before, but I wish there was a mini-game where you had to find the DEAD before those seconds were up. Giving us an additional ending where you went well, kaboom I guess.
Seven: *Pant* *Pant* *Pant*…
Clover: *Pant*… *Pant*… *Pant*…
Junpei: *Pant*… *Pant*… *Pant*…
(Still trying to catch his breath, Seven leaned heavily against the wall.)
Seven: It…stopped… It stopped… Haha…Haha…HAHAHAHHAHAHA…
Some truly great voice acting by Seven’s Japanese VA there, by the way.
(His smile seemed forced, and a little crooked.)
Seven: This is the 2nd time we’ve gone through one of these numbered doors,
but… *Phew* You never really get used to it…
Well, you said it yourself, dude, that was only the second time.
Besides, I don’t think you can get used to situations where your life is in danger.
(He stood up straight, no longer out of breath, and wiped some of the sweat from his head and neck. Clover smirked at him.)
Clover: I would’a thought a guy your size would have bigger balls than that.
Seven: What!? What the hell did you just say!? Say it again. I dare you!
Clover: YOU HAVE NO–
Seven: Y-You little–… You wanna die?
Clover: I’d like to see you try!
Seven: You fucking brat… All right, let’s go!
Junpei: Hey, hey, calm down guys. This isn’t the time for…uh…this. It’s not gonna do us any good.
(Junpei sighed… Sometimes, he wondered if the doors and the puzzles were really the greatest challenge they faced…)
Junpei: Wait here for a minute, all right? I’m gonna go see if there’re any other doors.
(They didn’t respond, but Junpei wasn’t in the mood for a conversation anyway. First, he examined the inner part of the numbered door. It was, of course, shut tight. On the left was a single short hallway that terminated almost immediately at a thick iron wall. Junpei doubted the wall could be moved. At last, he gave up, and returned to Seven, who was tapping lightly on the wooden door.)
Seven: This door’s the only option we’ve got, right?
Junpei: Yeah, looks like it.
(There was a metal plaque bolted above the door. It read [Operating Room].)
Or, if you’re Seven’s Japanese VA, ‘operating-u room-u’. (I’m not even joking, that’s actually how he says it. Really slowly as well, so you can’t miss it.)
(If it was to be believed, the room on the other side of the door was an [operating room]. Something about it made Junpei feel…nervous…)
Seven: Well, there’s no point to standin’ around. Might as well go in and see what’s waitin’ for us.
(Seven grabbed the brass knob, and slowly opened the door. The creak of the hinge sounded like the groan of an old woman. A chill snaked its way down Junpei’s spine. Quickly, he gathered what courage he could, and took the first step into the room. Seven followed, with Clover right behind him. Part of the room just past the door was obscured by a screen. Clover’s curiosity got the better of her, and she darted past Junpei to peer around the screen.)
Well, it’s nice to see she’s got her enthusiasm back, I guess.
(Her scream nearly blew out Junpei’s eardrums. He and Seven ran toward Clover, to see what had frightened her. They rounded the screen, and the cause of her outburst was immediately clear…)
Seven: Wh-What the hell is this?!
Junpei: Is…is this a corpse!?
(It was something that looked…kind of like a human, lying across some sort of bed.
…No, not a bed. An operating table. The table sat on a rusty steel lift, and a cluster of bright operating lights shone down on it from the ceiling. Slowly, they approached. As they got closer to the body, it became clear that it wasn’t a body at all.)
Junpei: What the hell… That’s just a huge doll or something…
(Clover did not look terribly comforted. Slowly, she approached the operating table and looked, as intently as possible, from as far away as possible, at the thing.)
(Junpei could see her relax.)
Clover: You’re right… It’s only a doll… Man, it really scared me…
(She heaved a great sigh of relief, and wiped a few drops of sweat from her forehead. Seven smirked.)
Seven: Heh… Well, I guess it would’a been weird if you actually had any balls.
Clover: Shut it! Don’t you start with me, fatty!
Seven: Oh, what’s this? You want a piece of me, short stuff?
Clover: Yeah, bring it on, you whale!
Junpei: Hey, guys…not again, okay…? Seriously, knock it off.
(Junpei sighed, and shook his head.)
Junpei: Anyway, it looks like he’s got something the 2 of you could stand to have a little more of… I’m talking about a heart.
Seven: Huh? Oh, this? You mean on his chest?
(It was set a little higher than normal for a human body, but from the shape of
the organ, there could be no doubt that it was a heart.)
Clover: Why would there be a heart in a doll…?
Junpei: I don’t think it’s a doll.
Clover: You think maybe it’s, like, a medical mannequin or something?
Seven: Or maybe it’s got more…personal uses…?
Oh, Seven. That’s ick.
(Seven’s grin was more than a little perverted. Clover glared at him.)
Junpei: Anyway… How about we take a look around this place? Let’s go!
Seven: Sure thing.
Time for my favorite puzzle in the game…
Aaaaaand we’re escaping again. Woot! This might be a slightly shorter post than usual, but I think it makes sense to pick up from the start of the escape, so let’s leave it at that and see you all next time!
Aww, right when one of my favorite puzzle room tracks is going to start. Late music cue is late.