Part 27: Hallway 5
[Music: Extreme Extrication]
Why had Junpei even considered doing otherwise? He would be there for June... For Akane Kurashiki. That seemed good. He felt it was the right choice to make. He made no shows of affection, but Junpei saw her as something more than just a friend from his childhood.
He watched the other 4 walk toward their door. Ace, Snake, Clover, and Seven... Junpei said nothing as they left.
Before long, they had reached door . They talked to one another for a few seconds, saying things Junpei couldn't hear, and then laid their hands, one by one, on the scanner panel of the RED.
Ace grabbed the lever. His face tight with determination, he turned over his shoulder to look at Junpei and his companions.
Beyond the door, Junpei knew, lay the sad remains of the [9th Man]... It did not surprise him that Ace, Clover, and Seven hesitated. The body was not a pleasant thing.
Do you intend to kill me? I assume you haven't forgotten the door only remains open for 9 seconds, have you?
Snake had not even bothered to turn around, but the other 3 steeled themselves, and stepped through the door.
Door  swung shut, closing with the heavy finality of metal upon metal.
Junpei and his companions scrambled to the door. They pressed their ears to it, in an attempt to hear what might be taking place on the other side.
It's just like before...
Probably the sound of the detonator on the bracelet.
Do you think they're...okay?
June's face showed her concern more plainly than her words ever could. Almost as though in response to her question, a voice rang out from the other side of the door.
It was Seven.
Hey! There it is! That's gotta be that DEAD thing! Come on! Get over here! We gotta authenticate!
The sighs of relief were audible even through the heavy door.
Phew... Looks like it stopped.
Junpei and his companions leaned away from the door, and breathed a collective sigh of relief of their own.
Hey, guys! Are you doing all right over there?!
They'd heard Seven's voice, but it wouldn't hurt to be sure.
Yup! We're fine!
Despite the recent danger, Clover's voice was as bubbly as ever.
Oh, hey, I'm gonna tell you about this whole DEAD thing, okay? The DEAD is just like the RED, but the color's different.
Other than that, it's just like the RED. Authenticating is the same too!
Awesome! Thanks! That helps a lot.
Well, we should probably move on now. You be careful out there.
Junpei and the others left door  and headed toward door .
They stood in front of the RED and placed each of their hands upon it.
4 asterisks appeared on the screen. Junpei grabbed the lever and turned around.
You guys ready?
None of them looked particularly optimistic, but their faces were set. Junpei nodded to them, and turned back toward the RED.
All right, let's go!
With strength and determination, he pulled the lever.
[Music: Unary Game]
The 4 of them leapt through the door together.
[Video: Room 4]
In the long moment that each of them spent staring at their wrists...
The numbered door behind them closed, the sound of metal on metal reverberating down the hallway. There was no way back now. They were committed. If they could not find the device to deactivate their detonators...
How would I know!?
Don't gimme that crap! Start looking!
I already am!
They began to run, eyes looking frantically for the device that was the key to their salvation. The hallway they found themselves running down was a long one--easily 300 feet in length.
On the right side of it stood a series of wooden doors, all nearly identical. If they had taken time to think, they would likely have discerned that the doors lead to cabins.
Don't tell me the DEAD is in one of those rooms...
Oh no! How many rooms do you think there are?!
Junpei was too frightened to count properly, but at his best guess there were 7 or 8 of them.
There wasn't time to count them to be sure. Junpei ran to the nearest door. He grabbed the knob and shook it, hard.
It didn't feel locked... More like someone had hammered an iron plate over the other side of the door.
Junpei turned around to find another door, and saw that his companions had already run to doors of their own. They did not seem to be having any more success than he had.
Their own words confirmed his fears.
Shit! This one's no good.
It's not moving!
June was the last to speak up. As Junpei looked in her direction, his eye caught something he hadn't noticed before...
A small, red light.
It flashed at him, dimly, from the end of the hallway.
Santa called out to them as he ran.
Hey! How many more seconds do we have!?
How would I know!?
Our time limit is 81 seconds!
I know that, goddamnit! I'm askin' you how many seconds we have left!
In all likelihood, Junpei figured, nearly a minute had already passed, since the door had closed behind them. If that was true...
Urgency foremost in all of their minds, they arrived at the end of the hallway. The DEAD sat on the left wall, blinking almost tauntingly at them.
The other 3 quickly followed suit.
With a grunt, Santa yanked the lever downward.
Phew... Looks like it's stopped.
His hands beginning to steady, Junpei wiped away some of the sweat that had beaded on his forehead.
They all needed inspecting, but Junpei began with the largest of the 3--the double-doors. How many times had he come across similar doors, with similar results, he wondered.
Or perhaps, he corrected himself, more a lack of results. Whatever the reason, the door remained firm and unyielding, and refused to allow Junpei, or anyone else, passage.
Near the handle was a small keyhole. Above the keyhole was a small symbol, engraved in the brass.
He wasn't quite sure what to make of it. And stared at it for a moment in confusion.
It was June that corrected him.
Well, technically, they are the same symbol. But I saw a number of similar symbols near the main stairway. The symbols of the solar system... At least, that's what I'm assuming.
So this isn't the man symbol, it's a symbol for [Mars]?
I think so, yes.
While Junpei and June talked, Santa had disappeared.
They turned to find him some distance down the hallway--he had gone to check the other doors. Eventually he reached the last of them and jogged back.
It took him only a moment to catch his breath again.
Then that must mean...
We only have 2 more doors.
Lotus examined the doors on either side of the larger double-door. Each one had a metal plate attached to it.
Junpei figured they were probably room numbers. The door on the left read [B92]. And the door on the right proclaimed that it lead to [B93].
All right. Let's open 'em.
Junpei put his hand on the door knob for the door that said [Room 92]. Santa moved to the door to [Room 93].
They'd made it through the numbered door alive. There was nothing more to be afraid of.
Junpei and Santa looked at each other and nodded.
In unison, they pushed against their respective doors.
...And promptly found themselves in a new room. June followed Junpei as he threw open his door.
They turned around, and saw that the door on the other side was open as well. Through the door was another person, his mouth agape.
It was Santa.
Yeah... It did...
Junpei and Santa looked at each other. They had not expected the doors to yield so easily.
Lotus's calm voice broke into their thoughts.
Maybe this is all part of Zero's plan? I can't say I enjoy being treated like someone's puppet.
As she headed for Room 93, Lotus continued.
Well, now we have these 2 rooms. I'm sure there's something in there that will help us get out of here. Let's find it. Santa and I will search this room.