Part 88: Chapter 4 Daily Life, Part 4
When I got to the dressing room...
Toko was sitting alone on the bench, the laptop in front of her.
: ...Toko. Did you decide to come hear what Alter Ego has, too?
: I-I already heard it...with M-Master...
: With Master!
: You don't have to keep saying it... Anyway, so what are you doing right now?
: Shut up. Stop b-bothering me.
: Get out of the way. We have to talk to Alter Ego.
: N-No. I made Master a p-promise.
: A promise?
: Master told me to w-wait here, so that's what I'm d-doing.
: What are you, his dog!?
: If it's wh-what Master wants, I'd do anything h-he asks.
: You just love being mistreated...
: W-Well fine, if you really want me gone, by a-all means...
: Hey guys! What's goin' on!?
: Um...we'd like you to move.
: Sure thing! Just kneel before me and beg!
: First a mega masochist, now a super sadist!
: Um, Toko...? Seriously, I'm asking you nicely to let us use the laptop.
: Hm? HmmMMmMmmMmMMMmmMm~~?
: Didn't you hear what I said!? I told you to kneel and beg!
: Come on, Makoto! Give her the ol' one-two combo! One--drop to your knees! Two--beseech!
: Why are you acting like you're not part of this...?
I was as desperate as I felt. Finally, I did kneel down in front of her, and I said...
: Please, I'm begging you... Will you please let us use the laptop?
: Such an ultra miraculous feeling of happiness! All my pent-up anger at Master for abusing me is evaporating!
: So even *you* realize it's abuse...
: That should be enough, right? Hurry up and let us talk to Alter Ego.
: Everyone, come closer! I already told Byakuya, but... I was finally able to crack open all the files that were on this laptop! Sorry to have kept you all waiting!
: Just what I thought...
: Finally...the time has come...
: Nng...I'm starting to get kinda nervous...
I felt the same way. Resting on the keyboard, my hands had started to shake.
The single word was like a sharpened blade. Wounded, I moved to let her take over.
: Here we go...
Kyoko began typing, the words appearing as fast as I could read them.
> "Can you tell us what you found out?"
: Sure. I analyzed the files and extracted all the useful information I could find. And one particularly important fact I discovered was that a certain plan had been put into effect here.
> "To isolate the students of Hope's Peak Academy and create a communal life for them."
: That was the stated goal of the plan... But it was meant to be more than just a normal school life. The students were intended to live out the rest of their lives here.
: It's...exactly the situation we've found ourselves in.
: It's quite unthinkable, isn't it? And what's more, the one who came up with the plan was non other than the administrators of Hope's Peak themselves.
: What!? Wait, hold on! Then the reason we've been imprisoned here... It wasn't the work of some psycho freak or criminal organization or whatever...
: It was...the school itself?
: That doesn't make any sense! Why would they do that!?
: I don't think Alter Ego is finished. Perhaps we should hear the rest...
: It seems that the reason they devised this plan was because of what happened one year ago. This is how they described that event... They said it was the "biggest, most awful, most tragic event in human history."
: What does that mean...?
: Yeah, what kind of name is that for something!?
: Otherwise known as The Tragedy, it was apparently some sort of devastating occurrence. Because of The Tragedy, Hope's Peak Academy was forced to discontinue its role as a school and close down.
: I see. Things are finally starting to make sense... What this means is, one year ago, this thing--this tragedy--took place. And whatever it was, it forced Hope's Peak to shut down. From there, they decided to use the school as a kind of staging ground...
: They planned to sequester the students here, where they would live out the rest of their lives.
: But...why would the Hope's Peak administrators want to shut everyone in like that?
: And what could this "tragic event" have possibly been?
In a flash, Kyoko had typed their questions into the computer. And the answer we got was...
: Sorry...I don't know. If that information was ever on this computer, it's gone now... I'm totally useless... I'm sorry.
And that's all he said.
: Then...is this really the end? We get halfway through the answer, and that's it?
: It would appear so. Disappointing...
: Oh, wait! There's one other thing I forgot to mention. I think it might be important. I believe it has to do with the mastermind...
: The mastermind!?
Kyoko's fingers moved even faster than they had so far...
> "Did you figure out the mastermind's identity?"
: No...that I still don't know. But I *did* find a clue, I think. The one leading the Hope's Peak staff, the one who finalized the plan to isolate you was the Hope's Peak headmaster. So that same person may very well be the mastermind who planned all this out. And according to the files, the headmaster is a man in his late thirties. It seems possible, even likely, that he's somewhere in this school right now.
: The headmaster...is here in the school!?
: Then that's gotta be the mastermind! I mean, Monokuma's been calling himself the headmaster, right?
: Which makes the real headmaster that much more suspicious...
: But if we break down the door to his room, we're dead, right? So what are we supposed to do?
: I'll find a way...
: No matter what it takes...I will find the headmaster. No matter the cost...
: Kyoko? What's going on...?
: ...I can't explain why. I just...know that I have to find him.
She "has" to? Kyoko...what's going on with you? When she heard about the headmaster, her reaction was almost...violent.
: ...We should see if Alter Ego has any more information.
That seemed to be an attempt to regain her composure, and she started typing again.
> "Did you learn anything else?"
: I'm sorry... That's everything I found. All the information on this laptop seems to be pretty old, so that's all I can do from here. I'm really sorry...
: Then...it really is all over.
: Wait. Alter Ego seems to have more to say.
: Um, well... It's kind of a different topic, but...I was wondering about something.
: I haven't seen Celeste, Hifumi, or Taka since yesterday...
A heavy silence fell across the room. The only sound was the flat, precise clicking of keys as Kyoko typed.
> "They're all dead."
: I see... Certainly I knew that was a possibility, but...
: ...it really happened. ...
: Oh, sorry... There's no point in me getting depressed over things I can't do anything about...
: Well then, I guess that's it.
"That's it." A simple phrase that held so much meaning... She began typing again...
> "You've done your job. Thank you."
: I'm done? I guess I am, huh?
: Then...maybe I'll take a little rest. I'm kinda tired... Goodbye, everyone. See you later...
With that, the laptop entered sleep mode...
: So Alter Ego did everything he could...
: We won't have to talk to him all that much anymore.
: But...I feel kinda sorry for him.
: You feel sorry...? But "he's" just a computer program, right?
: I know, but still...he did everything he could for us, ya know?
: I mean, yeah, it did. But that's what a computer program is *designed* to do. You don't tell a computer "good job" every time you shut it down, do you?
: Well, no... But when we talked to Alter Ego, I guess I just...didn't see it that way.
: I know what you mean. I feel the same way.
: Hey, come on! It's just a program! You *can* tell the difference between a program and a friend, right?
: But you know...what's the difference between us and that program, really?
: I started thinking about how you would differentiate a person and an AI. Alter Ego isn't human, I know that. It's just a program running on a computer. But at the same time, I couldn't help but think of him as our friend.
: Yeah! He's no different from us! He's still our friend!
: I think...maybe I understand where you're coming from...
: Then there's no problem calling him a friend! After all, the more friends the merrier, right!?
: Check this out! Friendship has no survival value. Instead, it gives value to survival.
: So anyway...
: Don't "so anyway" that! It's a totally smart and cool thing that I quoted from I don't remember where!
: Anyway, there's nothing more Alter Ego can do to help us. As such, his role in this is over. Am I wrong about that?
: No, but...
♪ Music cuts out. ♪
: And frankly, I question the ease with which you decide who is and isn't your friend.
Do you really mean that...?
: The story's gotten off track. We should go over what Alter Ego said one more time.
: Yeah, good idea! What was the Hope's Peak staff thinking...?
: Why are they making us kill each other!?
: Alter Ego said that what happened one year ago is what started everything.
: Yeah, he said it was the biggest, most awful, most hopeless event in human history, right?
: It must have been a huge incident, whatever it was... But did something like that really happen a year ago?
: I don't remember anything happening that you could describe that way. What about you guys?
: I don't really watch the news, so...
: Sorry, nothing comes to mind.
: That event led to the closing of Hope's Peak. If nothing else, it must have had some kind of connection to this school.
: Maybe all the students here were killed or something!
: That kind of catastrophe would have been all over the news. At least one of us would remember that...
: Then...maybe they covered it up! That would explain why none of us knew that the school had been shut down!
: Totally covering up something like that... I suppose it's not totally impossible.
: What's wrong with our government!? Our taxes pay their salaries, they should be handling stuff like that!
: Maybe. But right now there's only one path open to us... We have to find the headmaster of Hope's Peak Academy. We have to find him, and make him tell us everything.
: As long as we can get our hands on him, I think...
Kyoko... When she said "headmaster" I got that feeling again...
: But even that is a problem not so easily solved.
: Yeah...you're right...
: Well, our business is done here, so for now we should get out of here.
: Oh yeah, good idea.
: Then I...
: Is it really that dusty...? Wait, I mean...!
: O-Oh no! I'm not w-waiting anymore!
: I'm n-not guarding it... Byakuya's gonna b-be so mad at me...!
: Let's avoid getting involved any further.
: Good call...