Part 11: Hallway 3
[Music: Extreme Extrication]
The iron gate still stood in place, locked tight, blocking the stairway. In the center of the gate, was the keyhole, engraved with the [Venus symbol].
This time, however, Junpei had the [Venus key] in his pocket.
Wasting no time, he pulled it out, and shoved it into the keyhole. He turned it.
With the distinctive sound of metal on metal, he felt the lock click open.
All right, let's get this thing open.
No problem. Lemme help with this one.
Junpei grabbed the handle on the left side, and Seven took the handle on the right. On Junpei's signal they both pushed, and the gate creaked open.
It sounds as though you have opened it. We should be able to reach [C Deck] now, I imagine.
Snake, are you gonna be all right? I mean, the stairs...
Please, do not do yourself the embarrassment of underestimating me. I
Good to hear. Let's move.
At Seven's words, they leapt onto the stairs, and jogged quickly down them.
Junpei ran down the stairs a little farther, in hopes of checking on the deck below.
When he reached the water, he called back up to Snake and Seven.
Just like the bottom of the central staircase.
The surface of the water below them was flat, like a mirror. That it had not changed too greatly since they'd last seen it was a great relief.
Junpei quickly retraced his steps, and headed back to C Deck.
In front of the stairs were a pair of elevators.
They appeared to be identical to the ones from the upper floor.
Between them, attached to the wall, was another card reader.
And next to that was another strange symbol...
See? It's got the woman symbol, and then it's got devil horns, right?
Hahahahaha! Yeah, I see it. No two ways about it.
Seven tousled Junpei's hair in what he likely thought to be a friendly manner--Junpei feared his neck might break, even though it was clear Seven had kept his strength in check.
Thankfully, Snake interrupted. After Junpei's observation, he'd gone over to examine the card reader.
The marks you mistook for horns are a stylized version of the wings and staff of Hermes.
Wings and a staff, huh... So she beats you with the staff until you die and go to Heaven?
Sounds like Lotus all right.
Seven shook Junpei's head even more vigorously, and the younger man began to feel as though his brain was being jostled about inside of his skull.
He began to feel rather...ill.
Unless we can activate this device, I doubt the elevator will function.
So I would assume.
They decided to leave the elevators alone for the time being, and headed back to the stairs.
To the left was another hallway.
Ah shit... We're not gonna have enough time to check all of these, are we?
Maybe we can come back here later. Let's check out the other side.
They turned around and went back the way they'd come.
To the right of the stairs, another hallway stretched out, reaching deep into the bowels of the ship.
After a few moments of moving briskly down the hallway...
Well, let's open 'em up.
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 another unlocked door, he threw it open.
Junpei didn't know what to make of what he saw.
He simply stood, unable to speak. Seven's eyes opened wide, and his mouth gaped.
After a few long moments, Seven at last managed to speak.
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.
Is this...a hospital?
He had at last been able to put a name to the harsh scent that pervaded the room.
The room was full of the clean smell of antiseptic solution. 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 .
The door on the right bore an .
There could be no doubt--they were [numbered doors].
Given our current set up, we could go through door 7 with Snake or door 3 with Seven at the cost of leaving the other one behind. Emphasis on the "could," considering we do need a third person at minimum and all but it's something. If only the Ninth Man didn't go and get himself blown up.
It did strike Junpei as strange, however, that the door between  and  should be blank. What could it mean, he wondered.
Let's take a look at those doors.
Yeah, good idea.
The 3 of them threaded their way through the beds, toward the back of the room. Upon reaching them, they proceed to investigate each door in turn, but to no avail.
Yup. Locked, just like I thought...
Naturally. After all, there are rules to the Nonary Game, and to allow these doors to open easily would violate those rules. Unless we can authenticate ourselves with the RED, the numbered doors will--
Whoa, whoa, check this out...
Suddenly, Seven spoke up, interrupting Snake.
Don't you remember the RED back at the main staircase? If there wasn't anyone in it, it said [VACANT] on the little screen, remember?
But this one...
Only one way to find out.
As they soon discovered, it wasn't only the RED on door  that seemed to be malfunctioning. The RED on door ... And, the RED on door . None of them worked.
What, they wondered, did it mean?
They've gotta be broken. Man, that bastard... I didn't think Zero was the kinda guy who'd screw around with something like this.
Whoa, whoa... Zero's been prepared for everything so far and you're saying he's gonna make a mistake now?
While Junpei and Seven talked, Snake busied himself with examining the RED. After a time, he lowered his hands and spoke.
It seems as if some of the internal hardware has been removed.
That is what I said. Take a look at the underside of this RED, if you please.
Junpei obliged, and bent over to look at the underside of the device.
A long, thin slit ran along the bottom of it. As he looked harder, he realized it was more of a slot than a slit, and that it was clearly meant to accommodate some manner of electrical device.
The other 2 REDs were the same. Something had clearly been removed from all 3 of them.
So I assume.
But... Why? And who? I mean, it doesn't really make sense.
I have no idea. Why on Earth would I know something like that?
They heard the sound of a door opening. The 3 of them turned, and saw...