Part 34: Large hospitalway
[Music: Extreme Extrication]
They had entered the kitchen from one door and come out the other. That meant their map of the ship's interior was accurate.
They laid the map out in front of them, and began to discuss their next step.
There were 4 possible routes.
A, B, C and D...
A and B both seemed to connect to an L-shaped room.
However, the 2 doors that lead to the room were both locked, and could not be opened.
Makes sense; that's the Casino after all. If the entrance is locked, that means Ace, Snake, Clover and Seven have already entered it. The exit is locked too, so either they're still inside or Seven hasn't kept this one from closing for one reason or another. Or he isn't doing that at all here; that is a perfectly valid possibility too.
Next was route C...
This goes all the way to the main staircase.
That means it's door . One of the numbered doors...
Then do you think we would meet up with the other 4 after this hallway...?
Look. There, by the stairs. See how the gate is opened?
But it's open now. What do you think that means?
They opened it.
Then that means...
They all looked at the staircase, its lazy curve leading down, deeper into the ship.
Route D, then.
D it is.
Yep, route D.
Then we're set.
Just to be sure, they kept going, to check the deck beneath...
Just like the bottom of the central staircase...
The water gazed back at them, its smooth surface like a great mirror. As ominous as it was, Junpei took at least some comfort from the fact that the level hadn't gone up much since the last time he'd seen it.
They turned back to C Deck.
It didn't take them long to find the 2 elevators in front of the stairs. They looked identical to the elevators on the top floor, with one exception...
These elevators had a card reader on the wall between them. On the card reader was a strange mark...
[Sound Bite: Karma (2)]
Such violence... Junpei began to wonder if she was not the Devil itself.
With an uncomfortable smile, June spoke up.
This is a [Mercury symbol]. The thorn symbolizes the wings on Hermes's staff.
If we can't get this thing to work, these elevators aren't going anywhere.
In other words, we need a [key card] with the [Mercury symbol] on it.
They gave up on the elevator and returned to the stairs.
A hallway stretched out to the left.
They weren't sure how many, but certainly enough to be discouraging.
Damnit. If we try and search all these, the sun's gonna go down before we've done half of 'em.
I think the sun already set...
That's even worse!
Well, we can come back to this hallway later. Let's check the hallway on the other side, shall we?
Frustration and fear building, they walked back to the stairs.
To their right was a small hallway. Quickly, they headed into it.
It was approximately the same size as the alcove in front of the stairs. The hallway led toward the stern, and at its end was a set of double doors.
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 an unlocked door, he threw it open.
Junpei didn't know what to make of what he saw.
He simply stood, unable to speak. The others simply stared, open-mouthed.
After a few long moments, Santa managed to speak.
Wha...what the hell is this...
A massive room stretched out in front of them--more a cavern than a room. Its vastness was oppressive, and it bore down on the 4 companions.
They were simple things, little more than pipe and thin mattresses.
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 .
...And the right-most door had an .
There could be no doubt--they were [numbered doors].
Unlike before, it is possible for one of these doors to be used with our current set up. Santa, June and Lotus could head through Door 8 while Junpei's stuck twiddling his thumbs.
Well, that would be possible were it not for one giant issue: Protagonist Protection Powers (disclaimer: may stop working at inopportune moments, contact your physician before applying).
Let's take a look at the doors.
Yes, that sounds like a good plan.
Junpei headed toward the doors, weaving his way between the beds. He started with door , on the left, and moved to the right until he reached door .
Well, of course. If it was that easy to open these doors, what would be the point of the Nonary Game? We have to activate the RED, or the numbered doors won't...
Look. The display on the RED... There's nothing on it.
Don't you remember? The RED at the central staircase? If no one was inside, it said [VACANT]...
But this one...
I wonder if it's broken?
Only one way to find out.
As they soon discovered, it wasn't only the RED for door  that was behaving strangely. The RED on door  also refused to respond and door  was similarly silent. None of them would respond.
What did it mean?
Haha. I knew it. They're broken.
No... That's impossible. You really think Zero, who prepared all of this, would make such a stupid, simple mistake?
It was at that moment that they heard a voice from behind them.
They spun around to see--
[Music: Riddle and Puzzle]
...But it was more than just Snake.
Ace, Clover, and Seven quickly filed into the room as well.
Although they were glad to see one another, it wasn't terribly surprising that they had. If it had been the other party who'd opened the gate in front of the kitchen, it wasn't unreasonable that they'd bump into one another eventually.
The rest of Snake's team, however, did look rather surprised.
How did you guys...
How did you end up here?
This next bit should sound very familiar.
They talked about the rooms they'd been through, and how they'd ended up in the same place. Of course, none of it was very useful information, but that hardly mattered. They were happy to simply see one another again.
Although the level of cheer varied greatly from person to person, each one of them was wearing some manner of smile.
Almost as though they had already forgotten about the death of the 9th Man...
He felt sorry for the 9th Man, but more than anything Junpei was just happy to be alive.
His part finished, Ace fell silent.
For a moment, Junpei was silent, in thought. Then he spoke.
Okay, lemme see if I've got all this straight.
When you guys got here, the bases for the REDs were already gone.
And you looked all over this room, but you couldn't find anything.
So you figured...
So you went and had a look?
And while you were looking around, you heard voices?
So you followed the voices and came back here.
Junpei examined the 3 REDs again, just in case.
On the bottom of each was a long, thin gap.
It looked like a slot for...something. Probably something electronic.
If the RED is inactive... We can't keep going.
Well, what about that hallway over there? Isn't there anywhere else we can go?
No, there isn't.
Hospital rooms? That's what's behind all those doors?
Yes. There are a number of individual rooms, in addition to this large one.
There was a door at the end of the hallway, but it was locked.
There was an astrological symbol engraved near the keyhole, however.
Not again... Those goddamn things are everywhere...
I wonder what they all mean?
For a moment, everyone was silent, deep in thought.
I mean... I thought this was a cruise ship, but I can't imagine a cruise ship would have a hospital like this.
Of all people it was Seven who answered, and with calm confidence.
Well, I figure it's probably a hospital ship.
Junpei looked confused. So did everyone else.
What is this "Gigantic"...?
Seven knit his brows for a moment, then began to explain.
And I'm gonna cut it off right here. Seven's explanation is word-for-word identical to the last time we saw it, so I'm going to skip to just after Lotus asks for any actual evidence.
Only, of course, since we never got to speak with Seven in the cabin Junpei doesn't know about his amnesia yet...
He decided to revise his attitude for the next question.
Wait... Was I the only one...that didn't know?
Oh...yeah, I guess I didn't tell you, huh. I told the rest of 'em before we ran into you on the stairs.
Then, almost as if to save Junpei from further embarrassment...
...A bell began to ring from far away. It sounded as though it was the clock at the main stairway.
The next bit is also completely identical to what we've seen so far (though there's the occasional sentence that says the same thing but worded slightly differently). We search for the missing parts, flail around for an hour, get nowhere...
Snake vanishes, and we have to search for him now.
[Music: Extreme Extrication]
We don't really have to bother with any of these, since we can end this event immediately if we wanted to. Just to get it out of the way, though, we'll go to the 3 optional ones again but do things slightly differently this time.
All right! Sounds good.
They took off up the stairs at a run.
We know Clover's there, so we'll skip to the one important bit:
We tried to be nice and console her last time, but she just got mad at us for it. So we'll leave her be this time.
He leaned over and whispered quietly to June.
Maybe we should leave her alone.
Yes... I think you're right.
They turned, and walked quietly down the stairs.
Clover had driven home the misery of their situation, but Junpei told himself that getting depressed would get him nowhere but depressed. For Clover's sake, they had to find Snake, and fast.
He did his best to push away the misery and depression, and forced a smile.
So, where do you think we should go next?
We're in the area, so...
Let's go take a look.
They turned, and headed off down the hallway to their right at a jog.
Same deal as before.
Only this time, we're going to flatout refuse to even hear her suggestion.
No, that's all right. Let's go, June.
Junpei tugged June's arm, and lead her quickly back toward the stairs.
No, I've got a pretty good idea what her "proposal" would've been. We should be looking for Snake.
Well, where should we go next.
Next on our stop tour of skipping as much content as we can, is the giant hallway!
Ace is still busy doing his own thing.
I think he's got this area covered, though, so let's slip off before he notices us.
I don't mind.
The only place left to go, is back to the large hospital room.
Why don't we go back to the big hospital room?
Okay. Let's go then.
They turned, and headed back toward the large hospital room.
Of course, with Santa we're going to do something a bit different.
Namely, we're going to speak to him.
Of course, when it comes to picking a suspect for who fixed the RED this time we're going to be more reasonable about it. We fingered Zero last time, only to get shot down so maybe we can hit closer to the mark by picking...
Maybe he got back here before any of us. He found the parts somewhere, put 'em back, and then went through one of the numbered doors...
No, that's not possible.
There's no way a single person could get through there by themselves.
Y-Yeah... Uh, I guess you're right...
And, of course, at this point Santa puts forth his theory of how things went down.
We kinda agreed with him, I guess, at least.
But, there's no point in doing anything else now.
Lotus suggests leaving someone behind, because it's the only solution, again.
This time, we already know that she's right. There's no possible combination that gets everyone through the doors we have in front of us.
When Seven spoke, his voice was strained.
Yup, we already know how it goes from here. Ace elects to stay behind, drugs himself...
Passes out, so we can't take him with us which leads us to our choice.
Much like before, Lotus chooses to go through Door 8, Seven chooses to go through Door 7. The only issue is which one does Junpei chose?
Oh, and one minor difference from before: Door 3 is not an option this time!