The Let's Play Archive

999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors

by Dragonatrix

Part 72: The past

[Music: Unary Game]

The boy in the uniform resumed his scramble up the rope.

"You son of a bitch! Get back here, you little shit!"

With a jerk, he tossed him into the duct behind him.

Seven quickly reeled in his rope, leaving a furious Hongou on the floor of the room, and crawled back into the duct.

"What experiment?" Seven wondered.

There was no point to going back to Seven's cell, so they continued down the duct in the other direction.

After 30 feet or so, another duct met theirs, heading down.

They nodded at one another, then turned and slid down the duct.

A short time later, they crawled out of the duct to find themselves in a narrow hallway.

There was a door on each side of it.

The one on the left was a normal double door.

"Then...that's where we were?"

"Yeah... Hongou might still be there. It looks like it's been shut off, though..."

"Wait, what?! If he's still in there--"

"Yeah, that's not good!"


Seven grunted.

"Fine, the other door! Go into the other door! Hurry!"

The children began to run, with Seven following close behind them.

"Run!" Seven shouted.

They didn't need to be told twice.

Up and up and up they went. Their feet pounded against the steps, and their arms churned the air.

Round and round and round they went, like a human tornado.

Akane? That was strange...

Seven didn't remember seeing that name in the list of children who'd gone missing...

"Hey! Akane!"

He cupped his hands around his mouth and yelled. There was no response.

"Maybe we out-ran her..."

Suddenly, the boy in the uniform stopped short.

"Well, we passed a couple big rooms on the way here. Maybe she took a rest on one of 'em?"

"No, that's impossible..."

The boy didn't even seem to hear him.

The boy in the jacket followed.

They ran all the way to the bottom floor, calling for her. Akane was nowhere to be found.

"Goddamnit! Where the hell did she go?!"

The boy in the uniform couldn't hide his frustration.

[Music: Silence]

The boy in the uniform threw open the door, and leapt into the hallway that faced the incinerator.

Seven and the boy in the jacket followed.

Seven couldn't believe what he saw.

[Music: Tinderbox]

"No, I don't want to! Let me go! Please, let go of me!"

She had planted her feet squarely on the floor, and was doing her best to get away, but Hongou was much larger than she was. She wasn't going to win.


They saw him land inside--

And then the door slammed shut, with the finality of a great steel guillotine.

He hit it with such force, Seven feared his knuckles would shatter from the impact.

"Akane! Akane! Are you okay?!"



Emergency incineration command has been acknowledged.


Emergency incineration command has been acknowledged.

"Yeah, we're here! Just hang on, all right! We're gonna figure out a way to save you!"

If she could have seen the bloodless face of the boy in the uniform, his words would have seemed like little more than a sick joke.

They could hear her muffled sobs from the other side of the door.

The boy in the uniform tightened his fists. His knuckles were a bloodless white. Seven could tell that he was holding back tears of his own.

[Music: Silence]

They waited. And waited. But Seven didn't continue.

Uh... What happened then...?

Junpei couldn't wait any longer. He had to know.

Seven looked at the floor.

You think I wanna remember that?

Seven shook his head.

But there was something Junpei had to know. Are you...sure?
Look, I don't wanna ask this either, but... There's...there's something I don't get...
So if you could just...tell me...

Seven stared straight ahead at nothing.

Yeah. I'm sure. There wasn't anything we could do... After a while, the countdown ended...


Seven and the boy in the jacket simply stood where they were, frozen. The boy in the uniform collapsed, falling to the floor in a jumble of limbs like a puppet whose strings had been cut.

A few more minutes passed.

The door opened.

Seven and the boy in the jacket followed, still too numb to speak.

The air shimmered with heat.

And in the middle of the room, beneath the waves of heat... There it lay.

Finally he reached it. The boy collapsed to his knees, his legs no longer able to support him.

[Sound Bite: Heartbeat]
You should really listen to this.

He desperately did not want to know the answer he feared he knew already, but he had to ask. He had to know for sure.

Um... Can I ask you one more thing?

What does it matter to you?
Just...just tell me, okay? Please...

Seven looked at Junpei curiously, and ran his tongue quickly over his dry lips.