Part 19: Large hospital room 3
[Music: Digital Root]
Having had time to think on it, if Ace is right then hiding in plain sight would be the best action Zero could make. Of course, he could be hiding elsewhere too but on balance that sounds less plausible.
Hmm... Well, that's possible.
W-What are you saying, Jumpy?! Didn't you hear what Ace said?!
Exactly. I said we shouldn't suspect one another for no reason--
And what's that?
He held out his left arm.
Why are the bombs in our bodies connected to the [bracelets]? You're all thinking Zero's hiding somewhere, watching us, right? If he's doing that, then he could just detonate the bombs by remote control if someone did something they weren't supposed to. It would be a lot more precise, and a lot easier. But if that's the case, then why is the bomb set off by the detonator in the bracelet?
Huh... You got a point.
All of the puzzles here run all by themselves. In other words, Zero doesn't have to be controlling them for the game to move forward. Why's that? Why would Zero bother to do something like that?
Junpei let the question hang in the air, and looked at the others.
It was Santa who answered.
So let's say you and Clover are right. Zero's one of us. If that's the case, then it'd be really hard for him to keep track of all of us, or control anything remotely.
That's what you're getting at, right?
Seven, when we were talking earlier you said any one of us could be Snake's killer, right?
Yeah, something like that.
All right then, I've got a question for you, Ace. You said something like "Zero must be the one who killed Snake", right?
Yes, something like that. I can't think of any other explanation.
So what do we get if we combine those? They fit together pretty well, I think. Something like this...
Seven and Ace's theories aren't mutually exclusive. They actually complement each other pretty well. At least they do if Zero is one of us.
No one spoke.
Their faces were grim, but Junpei wasn't sure if they believed him or not.
Finally, Lotus spoke up.
Yes. Isn't that pretty important? Why would Zero want to hide as one of us?
Oh... Well, that's because...um...
He hadn't thought of that, and he had to be honest with himself... He had no idea.
Well, so much for making a persuasive argument, Junpei.
In other words, you had only circumstantial evidence.
I don't really think that's enough to go on, you know...?
Junpei was painfully aware of their eyes on him, and their disapproval. He tried to find something else--anything else--to look at.
Just when he felt he could bear it no longer--
[Sound Bite: The Clock]
They heard a bell begin to ring. It was the clock at the central staircase.
That means we have 3 hours left.
Then we need to move, now. Seven, Clover, Junpei... I know how you feel, but you do understand that, right now, it's important we trust one another, don't you?
Junpei couldn't bring himself to respond. He swallowed the words he wanted to say, and sighed.
Seven and Clover remained silent.
Their eyes were looking at something somewhere else, very far away.
We must go! We have very little time left!
Ace's words put their feet to moving. They all knew where they were going.
Their next destination was... [Mercury].
Between the 2 elevators was a card reader with the Mercury symbol engraved on it.
Junpei stood in front of it with the [Mercury key card]. He'd found the card while investigating the shower room.
He took a deep breath and slid the card through the reader. It made a small beep, and the lights on the reader blinked to life.
Now, they were ready.
Seven people, including Junpei, climbed onto the elevator.
The rest were destroyed or did nothing when pushed. Junpei hit the "Bottom" button. The door closed. Slowly, they began to move downward.
Some time later, all seven of them stepped off the elevator and onto the [Bottom Deck].
They stepped off, and saw that the hallway to their right ended somewhere between 20 and 25 feet from them.
The hallway in front of them was a dead end...
But not a regular dead end.
Yeah. It's door .
Immediately they began to discuss who would go through it. Their earlier experiences had shown them that they would meet again, regardless of which numbered doors they took. As a result, there were no arguments this time.
5 + 7 + 8 = 20 → 2 + 0 = 2
All right, we're taking off.
Okay. Please be careful.
Jesus, you two are acting like you're married, you know that?
Perhaps in an attempt to hide his emotions, he quickly turned away to pull the lever on the RED.
The door opened. As they'd come to expect, there appeared to be a short hallway on the other side.
All right, let's go!
Lotus was the first through the door. Seven was next, and Junpei brought up the rear.
They gathered around it and quickly scanned each of their bracelets.
Yeah... It stopped...
Not that Junpei wanted to. He planned to finish the game before he got a chance to let imminent death become commonplace.
Junpei looked around again.
It was a short hallway, with 5 doors along the walls. There were 3 doors along the left wall...
...And a single one on the right.
At the end of the hallway the 5th door was covered by a thick metal plate. Junpei didn't think they'd be able to open it.
After taking a look around the room himself, Seven spoke.
You two okay with that?
Yes, no problem.
Seven nodded to them and stepped into the room closest to him.
Lotus looked at the doors for a moment, then headed for the one in the center.
At last, Junpei was left alone.
Well, I guess I'd better get started too.