The Let's Play Archive

Hatoful Boyfriend

by ChorpSaway

Part 103: Episode 95: Who Killed Lourde Goon?

This must be where the fire was, five years ago.
I feel like I can smell the soot just by looking at the walls here…
Nageki threw himself into the sea of fire here, to end the experiments.

I wonder what I would have done in his place… Would I have ended it all, like him, or--
You’re late, Mr. Kawara. I have grown tired of waiting.
The music stops.

The Dark Sorcerer, Wallenstein!

It wasn’t just Goon. You killed the headmaster, as well. If it weren’t for you, the boy who went outside wouldn’t have been…!
Why are you doing this!?
…Must I repeat myself? I told you before, I merely disassembled Miss Lourde after the fact. I did not kill her.
Do you think I care!?
Hmm… It would appear that you need some assistance.

Do not listen to the dark sorcerer’s words, Textoris Melodia Funus! He will lay a spell on you!
…Perhaps the peanut gallery could keep its thoughts to itself?

Suddenly, a large clattering sound came from the roof.

An iron grill drops behind me, like an evil wizard’s portcullis. I’m cut off!

Oh, dear. We appear to be shut in.
No… the dark spell…!
What are you doing!?
Nothing at all. I simply have no business with them. I was waiting for you, Mr. Kawara.
…Now, let us return to our conversation. Our conversation about the truth you seek.
You have done unbelievably cruel things, doctor. You were involved in the medical center here, too! Nothing you can say to me will change my mind.

I was employed at this facility from the beginning. No doubt you have already deduced that I was working on Operation Hatoful.
Operation Hatoful… The plan to wipe out humanity with the Charon Virus.
Precisely. Oh, it does make me so happy when students read ahead and come prepared for the lecture. You are exemplary. Hohoho.

However, strains of such lethality tend to be fragile themselves. Charon Virus was no exception.

In order to deliver it to the enemy, we would have had to send live carriers into their society, and allowed it to spread via airborne infection.
This proved troublesome. Charon Virus, in addition to being harmless to birds, is ill-equipped to establish itself in our bodies.
Fujishiro Nageki, the original host, had a rare genetic condition which resulted in a slightly compromised immune system. In his body alone was Charon able to safely reside.
Alas, he refused to cooperate.
You forced him to kill human prisoners… If it weren’t for your experiments, he never would have killed himself!

We expected that he would be glad at the chance to avenge himself on humanity, but… sadly, it was not so, and we lost our sample.
The project was put on indefinite hold with his death. But thankfully, we did not lose his corpse in its entirety.
I preserved his remains, and have kept them to this day… I have been waiting for a new carrier to arrive.
…It sounds like this was a very labor-intensive project. Wasn’t there a better way…?
Quite right. I digress a little, but there was a reason for our methods.

Compromise their immune system… They’d die!
Indeed. Even if the subject were able to become a carrier for the Charon Virus, if they died to some other infection it would all be for naught.
Which is why I was very careful with who I chose. I worked on the subject over time, slowly weakening his immune system. I suppose I should count myself lucky that I achieved my goal in only a year.

The music stops.

Full… marks…?

Goon… came to the infirmary…
To see… me…?
You have come this far. I am sure you can answer this.
What was it that you forgot?

The memory returned, slowly at first, but eventually I could remember everything about the day before.

“Are you okay, Ryouta?”
“Yeah… I’m fine now.”
“Mr. Nanaki said you were coming here, so I wanted to make sure you were all right…”
Goon is reaching towards me.
“Want to go home? I’ll walk you.”
Her hand stops.
Goon falls to her knees, clutching her chest.
“…Ryouta… I can’t breathe…”
Oh. She can’t breathe.
This is bad… My mother said to get home early.
Everything feels strange. Almost like it’s a dream.

And… then…
The experiment was a resounding success. Miss Lourde displayed the archetypal symptoms of a human infected with Charon Virus, and passed away.
Once the virus is inside a human body, it shuts down the respiratory system in a matter of minutes.
Technically speaking, it causes an overreaction of the immune system which leads to widespread apoptosis in the lungs, but more simply--

You’re lying! Goon and I were together since we were children…
Of course, I only administered the live virus to you yesterday. All the things I’ve done to you over the past year have been in preparation for it.

The doctor pulled something from behind his back.

The scarecrow’s head…?
Yes. Alas, the body is now useless, but… I shall tell you about Labor 9--the being you call the scarecrow.
It is one of the Laber-Model New Humans, developed by Dove Party researchers, but denounced as unethical.
We birds have advanced quickly, but our physical capabilities are still far behind those of the human race. These new creatures were… livestock, if you will, to compensate for that.
The Labor series was a great step forwards the beautiful ideal of coexistence with humans.
With a human’s head mounted inside an artificial body, they were durable and capable of difficult tasks.
…Of course, they never entered development, the project having been shut down early due to ethical complaints.
However, I carried on the Dove Party’s researchers’ will, and created this prototype. To be my sidekick.
We didn’t want too many other people snooping around and disrupting your investigation. So I had it patrol the building.
And now, the next question. What is inside the bag?
…A human’s head?
No, no, no! Close, but you have to be more specific!
I believe we had Miss Lourde’s head sent to your classroom, but… did you notice anything missing?

When I found her in the box, I was too shocked to be looking for clues. I may well have missed something…
He doesn’t mean…!

Goon’s brain!?

Miss Lourde did come to meet you quite frequently… Of course, having been placed in Labor 9, she has lost much of her personality.
Then she’s…

But her body is gone. All that’s left is her brain… Can we still call that alive?

Alive, or not alive… I don’t know anymore. Can you save her?
That is a difficult question. We tend to think of there being a definite border between life and death, but really it’s quite vague.
Her personality still remained in this world up until a few minutes ago. But…

Alas, Miss Lourde’s brain is no doubt irreversibly damaged. The wonders of modern medicine can do nothing for her now but sigh and shake their heads.
Yesterday her body, and today her mind. You are a far more twisted villain than I could ever hope to be, Mr. Kawara.

I killed Goon.
It was my fault all along.
Why did it have to happen this way?

This was all arranged for you. I had Labor 9, Mr. Sakazaki, and the headmaster help you along in your investigation.
You are but one step from the end now. You must remember one more thing… What was it that you and Miss Lourde told me, long ago?

He holds out his wing.
What lies beyond here?
Goon is gone. The one who killed her was here from the beginning.
I have nothing more to lose.
I slowly took his wing.

You are obedient, Mr. Kawara.
Wait, Textoris Melodia Funus! The Demon Spores are the thickest that way! You will not be able to return!
That’s right, the doctor is probably going to do something unspeakably horrible to you, Kawara. Come back!

The music stops.
An alarm begins to ring.

This presence… Mystic Phantom, the Avatar of Miasma!
You do take everything in stride, don’t you, Higure?