Part 23: Tortore room 2
He remembered the story Seven had told him--
Aoi, Light, and Nona... Those were their names. Well, some of them. The kids that were there, in the experiment, I mean...
Wh-What the hell? What's wrong with you?
Lotus took a step back from Junpei. Seven looked just as shocked as Junpei. He blinked his eyes rapidly, as if he weren't sure if he was completely awake.
No way... It couldn't...
Lotus's eyes went wide.
H-How do you know that...
Are you serious...? What the hell is this? There's no way you're that kid's mom...
"That kid"?! What do you mean "that kid"?! Why are you acting like you've met her!?
Seven's brow furrowed.
9 years ago.
On this ship.
Why were you--?!
It's not a short story...
I don't care how long it is! Tell me, please! What happened here?!
Seven glanced at Junpei, then turned back to Lotus and began to speak. It was the same story Junpei had heard only minutes before. Every detail...
At last, Seven finished. Lotus shook her head.
Oh my God... Everything I've been looking for the last 9 years...
Yes, that's right. 9 years ago, my daughters disappeared. Then, 9 days later, they came back. They never told me what had happened to them over those 9 days.
Still, I was sure that they had been through something terrible. So I couldn't bring myself to force them to talk about it. If I did, then I'd force them to relive whatever horrors they'd been through. I didn't have any choice. I had to try to ignore it and move on...
A few months passed. Gradually they started to act like they always had, before they disappeared. They smiled, and made jokes, and did all the silly things kids do. It got harder and harder for me to ask them about what had happened. How could I ask them to remember that?
But I'm still a mother. I couldn't simply forget that something terrible had happened to my children. So I decided I would investigate what had happened on my own. I would find out what had happened during those 9 missing days!
...What did you find out?
The police pretended to be concerned, but they didn't do anything. Once the 16 children who'd gone missing came back, things were just... swept under the rug. Even the media didn't talk about what had happened. I figured someone was probably paying or threatening them to keep their mouths shut.
...No, probably something even bigger than that.
Have you heard of them before?
Seven, how did you find out that Cradle Pharmaceutical was connected to the kidnappings in the first place?
I figured finding out whatever the victims had in common would lead me to the culprit. That's what any good cop does.
What did they have in common?
Every single one of the kids who disappeared had gone to this one hospital at some point.
Pharmaceutical... After that, it was just about connecting the dots.
For a while I was trying to get some kinda story outta the kids at the hospital. One of 'em told a weird story...
What was it?
I guess all these kids had to go through it while they were at the hospital. I think it was passed off as some sort of counseling.
Seven cleared his throat and proceeded to explain the [Ganzfeld experiment].
[Music: Digital Root]
Then a series of video images are shown to subject Q, who is told to send the images to subject A by thinking about them.
You've probably heard of something identical to this before, albeit not necessarily as a scientific experiment. This is a concept called "remote viewing," though the blindfold is probably an extra step here to prevent cheating for one reason or another. There have been real tests done with regards to the validity of remote viewing, though the results are about what you'd expect.
Oh, yes, I've heard of that. It's a famous telepathy experiment, isn't it?
Junpei rolled the word over in his mind.
That's how the experiment on this ship was supposed to work.
The experiment to control people, right?
Yeah. I don't know if any of the telepathy stuff really exists...
Seven had been thinking hard for the last several minutes, and finally spoke.
Even if that is the case...
The Nonary Game, Zero, why we were kidnapped. What does any of that have to do with telepathy? I know I brought all this up, but... I have no idea.
Then, in that moment of silence--
[Sound Bite: System]
A cold voice echoed down from the ceiling.
No subject has been detected. Unless a subject is detected within 60 seconds, all power will be shut down.
If you wish to proceed with the experiment, please seat subject in the restraining device.
Whoa, that doesn't sound good.
Oh, no, that's not what we--
Just hurry up and get it over with! Junpei! I'm counting on you!
Lotus sat down on the chair.
Junpei looked at her one last time, then made his way to the monitor.
Lotus, please, tell me right away if you feel anything...weird...
Lotus was putting on the best act she could manage, but her legs were shaking so much that if she hadn't been sitting, she likely would have fallen down.
Failure was not acceptable.
Junpei took one last deep breath and stared at the monitor.
[Music: Senary Game]
Okay, so this puzzle... this puzzle is a pain and a half. Not only do you need to know which switches to press, they now have two levels and affect things off-screen too. That's too much for me to want to deal with right now.
First off, the number of blocks ain't gonna change. All that's gonna change is the [shape]. Just like in the first game, you gotta match your pointy blocks to the ones up top. Do you know how to figure out how many blocks change with each switch?
Yeah, turn everything off, then just do one switch at a time, right?
Close enough. You just gotta pay attention to how many blocks change.
Well, okay, it's pretty close. For instance, when the (1) on this switch is on, how many blocks turn pointy? Let's just say 2 of 'em do, okay? Then if you press the (2) on another switch, 3 of 'em turn pointy. Using those 2 switches, you made 5 blocks pointy. Make sense? That's how you gotta solve it.
Yeah, you're right. It's just more addition.
maybe you should just memorize the number of pointy blocks for one side. Trying to remember which blocks turn pointy in all 4 sections is gonna make your head pop. If something happens right in front of you, it's easy to focus on that... Try to avoid that. Just focus on how many pointy blocks would show up on the side you decided to keep paying attention to.
Look at it from the right. There are 7 pointy blocks on the top, and 6 on the bottom. There are only gonna be a few combinations that'll let you match up your pointy blocks to the ones in the diagram.
I love the room as a whole, so it's a shame this one aspect lets it down. It plays with some narrative conventions, and is very bleak and minimal compared to just about every other room we've seen so far. It feels like the sort of thing you'd expect from the whole game given Zero's twisted MO, and yet it had been noticeably absent until now.
(I can hear the door unlocking... And now we've got a new message.)
[Release subject from restraining device.]
Lotus, a-are you all right?
Yes, I am. I'm glad nothing bad happened, but I do think my life just got a little shorter.
Hold on, I'll get you out right away. (Shouldn't take long for Seven and me to get her out of here...)
Let's get out of here now. Being a guinea pig is not for me.
(Damn straight. I don't ever want to see this thing again.)
I'm inclined to agree. I like the room for being refreshingly to the point, on the whole, but it's not one I'd replay overly often in spite of that.