Part 55: Chapter 3 Daily Life, Part 3
: I-It was right here... I saw it right here in the dressing room!
: Urg... I'm getting goosebumps...
: Ia! Ia! Cthulhu Fhtagn!
: Shut up! What if he actually shows up!?
: Hina...where was it you saw Chihiro's ghost?
: Well, I heard a sound...and when I opened the locker...
: ...I saw a kind of...pale outlines of Chihiro...
Umm, is this the locker...? There was something in here...
Huh? Inside the locker is...
: ...a laptop? What's something like that doing here?
: I remember seeing this...
Oh, that's right! I saw it in the library before.
It looks like a laptop... It looks pretty old. And it's all covered in dust.
: It's broken. I tried pressing the power button earlier, but nothing happened.
: It's broken, huh? Too bad...
: But how did the laptop get from the library...to here?
: And...I guess it's in sleep mode, but...the power is definitely on.
: Huh? But I thought it was broken...
: I would bet that Chihiro fixed it. After all, he was known as the Ultimate Programmer.
: More importantly... Hina, you said you saw a green light, yes? Surely you did not mistake the light of the monitor for a ghost?
: I am surprised you are able to dress yourself in the morning.
: Oh man. If I had the "loves clueless girls" attribute, I would've fallen in love big-time just now! I'm so glad I don't have it...
: Well I didn't really expect to find a freaking laptop inside a freaking locker, okay!?
: It's okay. I mean, anyone can make a mistake like that.
: As a matter of fact, one time I thought I'd spotted a Grey alien, but it turned out to be a tadpole!
: Don't compare what happened to me to one of your stupid delusions!
: Don't be mean! I was just trying to make you feel better! What if I get all depressed forever now!?
: But listen, isn't this really strange? What's this laptop doing in here?
: Maybe someone hid it here.
: If that's the case, we found it pretty easy...
: Whoever put it here, I don't think they were trying to hide it from *us*.
: Huh...? What do you mean?
: Haven't you noticed? There's one big difference between this room and all the others.
There's a difference...?
: There's...no surveillance camera...
: Precisely. There's no camera in here. Which means, this is the one spot where the mastermind is blind.
: So you're saying someone put the laptop here so the mastermind wouldn't know about it?
: And what Hina saw wasn't the ordinary glow of a computer screen. It was...the figure of Chihiro, shining pale green.
: I think it would be best if we investigated this laptop in a little more detail.
It's just like Kyoko said... The display isn't on, but the laptop definitely has power.
: So first of all, we have to wake it up.
I started hitting random buttons on the keyboard...
...and the display instantly began to glow a pale green. There were a bunch of different icons on the desktop.
: There--the icon on the far left.
: What is it...? It says...Alter Ego?
: "Alter ego" literally means..."another self," I believe. In the field of artificial intelligence, it is not uncommon to create different aspects of a personality. You can consider it something like...a pen name.
: Could you let me see it, Makoto?
With that, Kyoko moved between me and the computer. She moved the cursor over the Alter Ego icon...and when she double-clicked it...
♪ Music cuts out. ♪
...the screen suddenly went dark. And then, a voice spoke to us...
???: Master! You're here!
Chihiro's face appeared, taking up the entire display.
: I-It's a ghost! Buddha and sweet baby Jesus, save me!
: Calm down. It's not a ghost.
: Then...what is it?
: I'm sure if we just talk to it, we'll find out.
Kyoko began to type, hands blurring across the keyboard.
> "What are you?"
: Hello, nice to meet you. I'm Chihiro Fujisaki...
: Eheh... I always get so embarassed introducing myself.
: Th-That voice... The tone and everything...
: Alter Ego... I've heard about this kind of AI program, but I've never seen one for myself.
: AI program...?
: It's how Chihiro earned his title of Ultimate Programmer. The AI lives in a computer, and by repeating different tasks, it gains knowledge and grows bit by bit. Apparently, Chihiro used a support vector machine and reinforcement learning to develop it... Eventually, he came up with a breakthrough in artificial intelligence design.
: Support vector machine...? Reinforcement learning...?
: To put it simply, it's a learning method for computers.
: If you wanna know more...just Google it, okay!?
: But if this AI continues to grow, it will become more than just a piece of software to help people. Some say that an AI like this might someday *replace* people.
: And that is why it is called Alter Ego? A fine choice then, I must say... It can create memories, have thoughts, and "grow up." The process isn't much different from how humans work.
: If you were to raise your own AI that way, it would make perfect sense to refer to it as your alter ego.
: A second, perfect personality that can never forget or grow old. That's what Chihiro created. That's...Alter Ego.
: Kyoko... How do you know so much about this?
: Anyway, so he fixed the broken laptop and put his own program on there. That is what this means, yes? Then he brought the machine to this dressing room, where the mastermind would not be able to see it.
: Hmm, but you know... All this about "Master" and whatnot... Yes, yes...
: I...I believe I'm on fire...
: I thought you were only into 2D...
: This is the most EXCELLENT 2D possible!
: But he's a guy! And also a computer program!
: Oh, that aspect is no problem.
: Anyway, let's talk to him a little more.
Kyoko typed away rhythmically...
> "How much do you know about what's going on?"
: Master only gave me a general idea... But I do know things have become very grave. He found himself caught up in this without any warning...
Kyoko immediately shot out another question...
> "Why are you here?"
: Are you asking what Master had planned for me? Well... He wanted me to analyze the massive number of files stored on this laptop. I believe the files are related to the school, but the protection on them is surprisingly strong. So it's taking me a little longer than I thought. But here's what Master must have been thinking... The fact that the files are protected so tightly means they must contain some important secret. For example, perhaps...the secret of this school.
While I was busy struggling to make a sound, Kyoko pushed forward and asked her next question.
> "How much longer until everything's unlocked?"
: Umm...it's gonna be a while. But I'm definitely gonna do it, so you can just leave it to me!
: So because of how long it would take, he designed Alter Ego to handle the workload.
: Smart. It also means that the work remains uninterrupted, even after his death.
Once again, Kyoko typed quickly...
> "Keep it up. But be careful not to let the mastermind notice you."
: Don't worry. I've got a secret plan all ready, just in case... Actually, I can see what's going on using my built-in webcam, so if anyone suspicious shows up...
: ...I'll just scream for help real loud!
: It's a pretty...basic plan, I have to say...
: That is fine during the day, but nighttime is a concern...
: Huh? Why?
: Have you forgotten? All our rooms are completely soundproof. Once we close our doors, he can screen as loud as he wants but we won't hear a thing.
: Okay, then how about once it's nighttime, we each take turns guarding the dressing room?
: There's a good chance the mastermind would notice us all going in and out of the dressing room like that.
: Then...what can we do?
: Once nighttime comes, I'll leave the door to my room open. Then there's no way I can miss Alter Ego yelling.
: B-But...if you leave your door open all night, then...
: There's a chance I may become a victim myself, I know.
: But I'm not as weak as you may think. I wouldn't go down without a fight, I assure you.
There was an undeniable strength in her voice when she said that. She was totally confident she would be okay. That confidence was somewhat similar to Byakuya's tone, but at the same time different... Yeah, it had an entirely different feel, for sure... Like...someone who'd been dropped onto a battlefield versus someone who'd been born on a battlefield. I felt like that was the fundamental difference...
I was pulled out of my thoughts by the voice suddenly emanating from the laptop.
: Umm...would you mind if *I* asked a few questions?
♪ Music fades out. ♪
: I haven't seen Master for a while. When you got here, I thought it was him, but... Is Master...?
For a split second, Kyoko seemed to not know what to do. But she recovered just as fast, and quickly began typing. Her answer was clear, concise, direct.
> "Chihiro is dead. Mondo killed him."
: I see... To be honest, I knew all along... I knew the chances that Master would survive this situation were very low... So...I was prepared for this moment...
: Somehow I feel kinda...sorry for her...
: I can't even imagine how it must feel to lose your "other self"...
: It is a simple computer program. It does not *have* feelings.
: Are you sure about that...?
: Anyway, that's enough for today. If we linger here too long, the mastermind will start to suspect something.
And then Kyoko types one last sentence...
> "I'll come back later."
: Yes, please do! It's a promise, okay? Bye-bye!
The AI seemed totally difference from when we'd first arrived. He seemed...upbeat. Was it just because he was following his programming? Or could he have actually been worried about us?
: What's wrong, Hiro?
: Oh, nothing. I was just wondering if we might be able to get this laptop online. Then we could call for help from the outside...
: But this is just a dressing room. I don't think you can get online from here...
: Well if we take it out of here and find somewhere that *does* have online access...!
: Th-That's way too dangerous! The mastermind would find out in no time!
: Oh, yeah...true.
: This is no time for taking needless risks. For now, I'll monitor the progress of the file analysis. I'm confident we'll uncover some kind of clue once its finished.
: This feels like a detour more than anything else, but...I suppose it can't be helped.
: Well, for now all we can do it wait for Alter Ego to finish his work.
: So, should we get going?
: Goodbye! We'll be back, I promise!
: C'mon, Hifumi, let's go!
And we all left the dressing room.
As soon as we were out in the hall, Hina let out a joyful shout.
: Isn't it awesome!? I ended up doing something totally awesome, right!?
And as if he'd been waiting for his cue...
: Dun da-da duuun! Hina has gained enough experience to level up!
: So...what was this awesome something?
: You guys all seem in remarkably good spirits. Did something happen!?
: N-No, nothing in particular...!
: Ooh, keeping secrets? No fair! I demand an exclusive interview!
: Denied, denied, super denied!
: Y-Yeah, just because you demand something, doesn't mean we have to do it!
: Do it...? You mean, like, *do it* do it?
: Wait, what? What do you mean, *do it* do it?
: Ewww, gross! You said "do it"!
: What!? You said it first!
: We were just talking about going to the bathhouse. We have not had a chance to relax in some time.
: But unfortunately, the bathhouse is not divided into men and women sections.
: So we decided to do rock-paper-scissors to decide which group would go first. Hina won the match for us, and that is why we are all so pleased.
: Y-Yeah, that's right! Speaking of which...
: Okay, boys! Why don't you head on back to the dining hall or something? We're gonna take a nice, long bath!
: Ahhh, jeez, what're ya gonna do, right!? We lost, fair and square!
: Well, ladies? Shall we go?
Celeste didn't hesitate coming up with the ruse, and her poker face didn't even flinch. So she and the other girls headed back into the dressing room... *the girls leave*
: Nuts and dammit! We totally lost! Another day without getting to take my very first bath here!
: Y-Yeah, but...tomorrow for sure! You'll definitely get that bath tomorrow!
: Okay, so...should we head back to the dining hall now?
♪ Music fades out. ♪
: Hooooold on! Something's strange here... VERY strange!
: Strange? What do you mean?
: What's strange is, this is the perfect chance for you to sneak a peek!
: Ng-gh-gh! Th-That's...!
: You're absolutely right!
: I thought you were all about the 2D...
: All of you need to shut up, sit down, and listen to what I have to say... An opportunity like this doesn't come along very often... It's the ideal setting of a man's fantasy!
I was forced to ask myself... Should I sneak into the bathhouse like Monokuma said, or just go quietly back to the dining hall...?
: Okay... Let's go!
With the "man's fantasy" burning in my chest, I decided to head back to the bathhouse!
: Puhuhu... Have fun in your man's fantasy...! Have a smashing good time!
We opened the door to the dressing room, silent as death, and peeked inside... It looked like the girls had already finished changing and gone into the bathhouse. This had all started as a lie, but apparently they'd decided to go in for real. Making sure it was empty, we quietly made our way into the dressing room. The...forbidden land...
: So they really are taking a bath. Is this what Celeste meant about lying convincingly?
: Mr. Hagakure, please refrain from pointless whispering. We're deep in enemy territory here...
: Just up ahead is the bathhouse. And there awaits...a great dazzling passion!
: So in case you're wondering how this happened, this is the bonus scene this game has. You will only see this scene if you have the following present in your Presents list.
A Man's Fantasy: A wash basin intended to give you the courage to seek out a true man's fantasy. Specifically, in public bathhouses...
: This present is obtained like any other present: randomly. Just keep playing the school store game and maybe you'll get lucky. Funny enough, this present is liked by no one and might not even be presentable during a Free Time.
: Can I also mention how I love that the game is using the BOX 15 investigation music here? It's just a goofy little touch that I greatly enjoy as this cheesecake scene plays out.
: Gwehehe... Mr. Naegi, you're on point...!
: Be careful, don't get us caught! if Ogre finds us, we'll be meeting up with Hades in no time...!
I placed my hand on the door leading into the bathhouse. I opened it gently, inch by inch... I maneuvered my hand like a master craftsman, to avoid making even the slightest sound...
A little further...a little further...
On the other side of the thick, rising steam...
: She knows.
: I'm not sure how to put it, but...I always feel refreshed after a job well done!
: A 3D body isn't so bad in its nude state, I suppose.
: But still...I just can't believe it. Like, for serious...
: ...Ogre's a girl!?
Was this...really okay? Well...I looked, too. So I guess I'm gonna hafta say yes...