Part 41: USance
BGM: Memini Meminisse
Again, I'm having a vision of Ancora. This time, it's happening during the second hacking session. But these events aren't happening right now, since I've sent Ancora to her room earlier. Is this a vision from an alternate path? Or is it that I'm remembering things wrong?
This reminded me of the Mandela Effect. It struck me how the initials of that also made the word ME. I figured it might have a link to all this.
The Mandela Effect is named after Nelson Mandela, whose death has been erroneously believed to be in the 80s before, when in fact he'd lived until near the end of 2013. This belief was shared by others, and they were all told it wasn't true. This led to others acknowledging it as a sign of changing timelines. Memories are information, so, that wrong belief...
I keep getting these visions; are they the Mandela Effect at work? They're from moments that couldn't have happened. Was the Many-Worlds Interpretation right, or was it too ridiculous? It's too easy to think of it as a link through time. I think it's something else. If these visions are not about a link through time, then what are they?
All I want is my sister. Where are you...? Did they kill you? Where are you, Pandora?
She closed her hands into fists. My thoughts were cut short when she mentioned that name.
You weren't the ninth one, were you? Why did you die there...?
I already established my name wasn't Pandora. Pandora was Ancora's sister.
I hate the name Pandora. I wanted to stop it. To stop all of it, what you were doing, but now I'm all alone... You're the strong one. I'm just the weakling. I'm the nice girl who doesn't know better. The one you kept in the dark while allowing all these people to do terrible things...
Why did this terrible thing happen? Are you really dead, or... Ugh, if only I could talk to you...
She inhaled after realizing she'd stopped breathing.
Another vote is coming. I don't understand anything going on here, and I'm scared. I want to believe you are still out there...
Ancora has a sister, and so did I. Mine died, and so does she believe hers did, too.
I'm still confused as to where this is, too... This is my school, but it's not my school. Thankfully, there's a map here, so I can see...
Ancora walked up to the map, looking at it intently as she imagined just what was wrong with it.
It's way bigger. Some of it was closed off, and now we only have access to about a third, and where the exits are is nothing. It's just a wall.
...but it looks like this. Why is it different...? Why does it not look like this...? Is there more to it? Is it possible you're there?
She raises a good point. I have to keep this in mind. Let's compare it again to see.
I just don't understand why someone would need to block most of the Crossroads. The exits, I understand. But the rest... This is leading me nowhere, I better get going for the vote.
It's just like she says. Let's say the Mandela Effect is silly. Why am I having these visions? What does it have to do with the Crossroads being different?
I was whisked away from the helmet when the frequencies changed again, back to reality.
All the revelations that came at me were taking their toll. While I understood I was built strong, this was still tiring. And I didn't know what to believe anymore.
According to what ME said, our talk only lasted several seconds. After my little vision, though, I saw multiple hours had passed since. Normally, this would've killed me. Thanks to my meddling, since the game was different, it hadn't. I figured I only woke up now because I'd been turned offline, and so, I hadn't experienced time passing.
Did I miss everything...? At least I'm back now.
I remembered, all of a sudden, that this was the classroom I passed out in earlier, along with Avaritia and Invidia when Marco walked in.
Marco? Where are you? Marco?!
But he didn't answer. After a short look around, I realized they weren't here anymore.
Assuming they passed out like I had, Marco probably carried them away. I was alone now. Not only was I alone, but I knew ME was gone, too. Erased. I shuddered at that thought. Rising up, I dusted off my sweater dress and left the room.
Let's recapitulate really quickly. The three questions asked of me here were... Who am I?, Where am I?, and What am I?, but... I know who I am now. I am E288. It's awkward, and not really a name... And what does E288 even mean?
And as for what I am... I already know that. I'm an Ex Machina. An Alpha model, a robot- a person, but not a person. A robot, but not a robot. An AI. That means I solved those three questions, but many more remain.
I walked out of the hallway to go back to the Crossroads. Just like before, the plates were closed up. And yet, something didn't feel correct. I traced my hand over the metal plate separating the stairs from the middle area. I stopped to think about the school, just like Ancora had done.
BGM: Memini Meminisse
It's bugging me, though. I remember being able to access the middle of the Crossroads, which is at the upper right. Why is it closed off now- is it because the game has changed? Even so, we'd need to put the ME-cards inside of the machine, no? Yet, it is inaccessible.
However, when I look into the secret room, that corner doesn't have access to another wing. It's all blocked off. And you need to access the Crossroads, even if briefly, to go into the second and third parts of Wing A. That means, if there were wings beyond these closed-off corners, they wouldn't be accessible. It's safe to assume fewer than four wings are in use.
Hold up, something else doesn't match up. I already figured out the space doesn't match up, but what about the time?
I thought about what ME had said. She said that the Ex Machina that I am had been matured since 2002. This wasn't 2002, though. Did I have a hint...? What other date did I know?
Of course! I also know 2014! That's the year Superbia was born. That means now, we're in the early 30s, perhaps? No, that doesn't seem right. ME also mentioned it took twelve years... That doesn't match up. Do I have another point of reference?
I remembered a stupid detail. Something so miniscule, if I hadn't realized at this moment, I would've never thought about it again.
That stupid album. That music album Tristitia mentioned. That thing... it's from 2002. That's the latest album in that year. Wait, what... what does that mean?
Did any of you have Avril Lavigne's debut album 'Let Go' being a vital plot point on your bingo cards? Also, a lot of people forget that she is, in fact, Canadian
Oh. I understood. The inconsistency could be explained so very neatly like this.
I get it now. It's not that Superbia was born in 2014 and matured over 16 to 19 years. It's that Superbia was born in 2014... and that's it. I was also born now and I didn't need to mature. ME didn't need to mature. We are AIs. Does that mean... If Superbia was also an Ex Machina, then her body could have been grown from 2002 to 2014 and she'd be herself now.
Today is November 19, 2014 then. That's what that code means- 20141119 is a date format.
God, there's so much to explain to everyone... And the fact they're all robots, too? Unbelievable. But wait, something else doesn't work. ME said... I was an Alpha prototype with skin and organs, but Betas didn't have that. They were just machines with their innards out in the open. I didn't see any of that.
And yet, I tossed that inconsistency aside for now. I needed to recapitulate again, which I did while on my way to the elevator.
They were made for today, November 11 of the year 2014, in order to participate in the Kill ME game. I'm an AI, and I'm made of the memories and experiences of everyone else who died so far through those visions. I gained those visions by getting my TRUST value up to 99% with each and every one of them, which I assume put me in the same branch that they died in by virtue of attaining that number.
I slowly looked over my hands.
At least I'm alive. And I'm coming for you now, Ityne and Marco. I'll find you. It's just as you said before, Marco. With this knowledge, with this body, with the fact I'm an AI... I'm on a whole other level than humanity. I was made to believe I orchestrated this game, because you and Ityne couldn't let me know I was just being played around with.
But I still don't have the motive. I know the who, I know the what, and I now know even the when. What is the why, though?
What am I supposed to do now? Am I supposed to...
I guess there's no harm in trying. Can I hack into Ancora's helmet from here for a vision or another? If I knew where to find the G key here or something, then...
I sat down against the closed doors of the elevator and focused intently. I didn't know how I would make it happen, but I tried really hard. And if answering my plea...
My consciousness vanished from this helmet.
I had forgotten what this would do.
I had forgotten it would kill me.
As my data was transferred to Ancora's helmet, my previous self was erased once again, and at the destination point, my data reconstructed, copied into this familiar territory. Not only that, but I also figured out the timing of these visions.
And now I was occupying that helmet again.
Oh, I get it. This is from the third hacking session. It was the one that led to the ME-cards being duplicated. But once again, this couldn't have happened. How am I getting these visions?
Hello? Can you see me or hear me?
Ancora gave no response.
We're most likely during the short shutdown I remember having. There had been a weird blackout when I hacked Avaritia's helmet, right? This must have been during that time. And yet, the question of how remains unanswered for now.
I have very little time, so listen carefully.
In the middle will be something else. That will be what you have to solve. Once it is done, you will be free to go- along with all of My Emptiness. Be aware, however, that solving it will trigger something that will affect My Emptiness forever. To put it plainly, you will have the ability to punish seven of them directly.
This is Ityne, right? Why is she giving me all these directives? And most importantly, how? She's speaking as if she knows I'm here at this very point in time, despite the fact this is just a weird vision.
Also, YOU may want to know... Once everything is over, there will be something else to do. In order to access a particular moment, you will have to do something... unorthodox. Have you found any alternative solutions to puzzles yet? This has nothing to do with your final Deduction room. It's not for US but for YOU. If you find all of them, you will witness something interesting...
My vision cut off. I was being whisked back to my own helmet. But first, I had to quickly compute something together, because some of this did not match what I knew.
BGM: Mereo Mentis
This had been nagging at me since the start, and Ityne's presence only confirms some of the doubts I've had. To begin with, I'm now convinced there indeed are two Avaritias and two Invidias. If there weren't, then it wouldn't match what I'd seen before. There had been Mark- the first Invidia- and Marco, the second one. It wouldn't be otherworldly to expect there to be two of everyone else, too.
It's just like she said: the Crossroads has been modified. It's supposed to be bigger, because it stands between four wings. And just like Avaritia said, she will join me in the white chamber. That would be impossible if we couldn't physically meet, right?
What if it literally was a crossroads for this replicated school, too? Then, that means that the Crossroads was in fact not at the upper right extremity, but in the middle, which means the actual plans would be like...
This is why the Crossroads are different: they had to be modified. If you copy Wing A and rotate it like this, you can attach a second Wing A to the top. That also explains why the middle wasn't accessible. If it had been, we'd have stumbled into the second group doing their voting rounds.
Occam's Razor. Could information really transfer across time? Or was it simpler to transfer it across space? It seems to me that the answer is obvious. I'm being transferred between two physical helmets. Ancora is in the second half, and I'm from the first. This, also, means that ME was indeed in my body from the second group when she died.
There's one thing I failed to mention up until now- specifically, that in order to start the path we're on currently, we didn't start a new file like we have for every other ending up until now. The flowchart we're on now actually looks like this right now...
...because you have to go back to the beginning on a file that's already received the Not The End ending card, which we saw in Update 32, in order to start this path.
I remember some things happening that shouldn't have happened, like someone dying and then they were alive again. And Marco... when he disappeared, he really was going to the first group- this one. He came to this group to confront the me that I am now. That's when I passed out and had that chat with ME. Then he went back to the second group.
I'm coming, white chamber. It's time to finally end My Emptiness.