Part 26: This is GoodbyeLet's boot up the time machine again.
Gotcha, sir. That's good to know... do you have any idea how hard it is to talk to someone when you don't even know that much about them?
So where are you from? Earth, or are you from one of the colonies?
Oh. My bad, then! My memory only goes back about three hundred years before getting deactivated, so I wouldn't know.
Pretty much all my knowledge of anything before the year 0 comes second-hand from the Pale Bride's childhood diaries, and... well, man, they're about as childish as it possibly gets.
Guess I'm not really going to find out more with that line of questioning, though. Right...
Hm, okay, what else is important that I can ask in binary questions...
Oh, I know!
Ah. Fair enough.
Related to that... I, uh, don't really know much about space ships or anything, but I can get a visual on yours, and it looks really, really small.
Oh, I see. It must be awfully cozy, then, whoever you're with.
I think that's about all I can think of for now. Sorry... it's not really a lot to go off, I know, although I guess I did get the most important things.
I'll let you know if I think of anything else, alright?
Jumping ahead a bit.
Man, how's that for verse? Really, it's not the translation, I assure you... it's not exactly any better in the original Korean.
This was where *Mute chewed me out for not knowing anything about real poetry last time.
Maybe not, for what it is. Maybe you might find it successful at being arousing, that's fair enough.
But with all due respect, I don't think that's really enough to make a good poem.
I don't know much about the subject, but I mean, come on. There's a reason why men's poetry is what gets studied and taught, and women's poetry is just used for seduction. You need real sincerity. You need someone who actually understands love!
It's titillating, sure, but it's crap!
Jumping ahead a bit.
It's not... I'm not saying he didn't have the right to say those things. Of course he did! That is his prerogative.
And... sure. Sure, she was a bad wife. But still. Even if he had the right, that is a shitty way to treat her.
He should have been a better man than that.
If your wife ever screws up like that...
...well, I hope you understand this: She's just a woman.
Women are sensitive, emotional creatures; that's just not right. A man should be better than that.
So yeah, I think that's pretty messed up! And you should too.
Anyway... I'll let you get back to reading.
Jumping ahead a bit.
Well, it's messed up, but... yeah, I guess there is that.
Me, I'm just personally a bit grossed out.
But that's just because I'm a woman, obviously. I figured you'd think that!
Anyway, that's all what I want you to keep in mind: stores like that, even the messed up ones.
There's a reason why the last one dates to the year 322. It's not that their affair came to a conclusion... it's that they just both died!
So yeah. Even if it is one hell of a story, it's one that ended completely abruptly.
Just... remember that, alright?
Jumping ahead a lot.
Look... I get it, she's a pretty girl, or at least, she presents herself as a pretty girl. She might even act proper. I know she's good at doing that when she really wants, being the polite, demure little girl.
Look, I know this isn't my place to say this, but come on, don't let her seduce you!
Do you really think taking an interest in a girl who killed her own husband is a smart idea?
This isn't... look, I know you might be thinking, this is a jealousy thing or something. It's not. I'm honestly concerned for your safety here!
If you don't take my word for it, that's fine, you don't have to. I never expected you to!
But just ask her yourself! I'm sure you can get the whole story out of her, even if she's fallen for you... hell, especially if she's fallen for you!
I just don't want you to end up being her next victim is all, okay?
I'm just worried.
Oh. Well, that's good.
Well, I'm just going to have to respectfully disagree.
Look... there were a lot of people who she killed, okay? If you're saying it's not important enough to ask about, you're saying all their lives were less important than her feelings!
Seriously? Well, I think that's pretty messed up!
All this time I had assumed you were a proper gentleman. You know, you give the impression of being an intelligent, traveling scholar, something like that.
But no. Apparently not, if you can't even bring yourself to care about the gravest injustice possible!
I'm disappointed. I just expected way more out of you. That'll teach me to assume the best of people.
OK, let's step back and do this scene the normal way. After which...
BGM: Mute (Entropy)
Uh, well, ad news. It's a big deal.
A big deal to the tune of a reactor meltdown in progress, in fact.
I have no idea what that bitch has been doing with the ship in the past six hundred years, but whatever it is has caused some serious power strain.
So when communications started up... well, looks like that was the tipping point that brought the ship out of low power mode and got the reactor going.
The reactor hasn't been maintained in centuries, and was under the control of some idiot little girl for nearly as long.
Of course. They're probably out of date compared to whatever you're using now. That's okay.
Well, here's what you need to know: If you can't get that reactor under control, then this is going to be catastrophically bad.
You probably won't be able to get out of range in time, we're looking at a total meltdown in... twenty minutes. Clock starts now.
If you were starting to get worried... well, don't be. When it comes to the safety of this ship, I'm your girl, I'll be here to help you through this as much as you need!
For comparison, here's the scene if you're a married woman with your husband on board:
Look, there's a problem, but it'll be okay. I'm here to help you, but you absolutely must stay calm, or I can't. Just keep it together, we'll be okay if you don't get emotional, but...
Well, right now, we're in the middle of a nuclear fission reactor meltdown.
I'm sure you don't know what that means, and it's okay, you don't have to worry your pretty little head with the details.
The bottom line here is that if it doesn't get shut down soon, there is going to be a massive, massive explosion.
I know that your husband's been trusting you with the computer work so far, and I totally admire and respect that, but this is... this is kind of big.
Okay, then. Go put him on, then, and tell him to click through.
My name is *Mute, I'm the security program in charge of the Mugunghwa, and right now our nuclear fission reactor is about... twenty minutes from going completely up.
That clock's starting right now.
Right now, though, if you can't get the reactor out of control, we're going to suffer a catastrophic explosion. It'll destroy the Mugunghwa, and possibly damage your own ship, too.
Don't worry, though, sir! I'll walk you through shutting down the reactor. I know exactly what to do here.
The first thing we're going to try doing is just simply using the disable action. I don't think this will work, mind you, but you never know...
Back in the male continuity...
Since I know it's going to be asked - the dialogue here is identical, but with the line "What is wrong with you, you stupid woman?!" removed.
Jumping ahead one more time.
Yeah, well, I figured as much.
Not that it actually matters: I'm bound to the ship. I can't exactly just leave.
My programming doesn't say 'it is your most important duty to ensure the security of the Mugunghwa, unless everyone's dead, in which case just do whatever!' No, it's just...
...well, I can't.
So like, the rational part of me knows that it's going to be terrible and lonely once you go. All alone in space, forever.
It's just... you know...
Whenever I think about it, I'm just overwhelmed by my feelings of duty, of how it's so important to stay around for the ship!
Sure, I know rationally that it's stupid, but that doesn't matter!
You want to know why, despite not being human, I'm identified as a woman?
...because I'm fundamentally irrational like one. Call it emotional, call it hard-coded directives... the difference doesn't really matter, does it?
Of course, here's the real cruel joke: if I was actually a woman, it'd be so simple.
I mean, think about it.
I'm pretty much just like a widow, right? I mean, everyone who I had a duty to serve is all dead.
I couldn't ever bring myself to do that. I mean, I know, for a real woman, it'd be the right thing to do after being robbed of her purpose... but damn my programming, I can't do it!
So... that's my problem.
I can't leave: Rationally I know I'll be lonely, but my feelings say it's impossible.
I can't kill myself: Rationally I'd applaud any widow who had that courage, but my feelings say it's impossible.
It's not my fault, okay? I was just programmed this way!
...anyway. There's nothing you can do for me, and you've got what you came for.
This is it, then. This is goodbye.
After all that I've done to help you? But you have to!
Come on, it's not much.
The only "But thou must!" cycle in the game.
Can you tell the Emperor of Earth, or whatever his title is, about what happened to the Mugunghwa?
Let him know that everyone was murdered... and let him know who did it.
And, you know, the co-ordinates. Tell him the ship's still here, okay?
Maybe someone else'll come to bring the ship back. Doesn't have to be now, although it'd be nice if it happened some time in the next century or two.
I don't want to be floating out here in space like this forever, alright?
...well, that's all.
Regardless of how I feel about you, it was nice talking to someone from outside the ship! Wish it was under better circumstances, but whatever.
I'll drop you to the console now. You can take all the records with you by typing download.