Part 7: bypASs
BGM: Ambient Strain
The reason behind our abduction might become more apparent if I did that. I already could tie Marco to the university I attended before. Jasmine had never gone, but... Ray gave me the feeling that he belonged there. I couldn't, in good conscience, disregard a possible lead three of us might be sharing.
That difficult decision made, I stood up from my seat and approached Marco.
Hey, let's go have a chat with the volcano.
The volcano? Isn't that dangerous?
Only if it explodes on you.
Mind if we talk a bit? I'm trying to determine exactly what links us all here.
You're from the university too, right? As a teacher, I mean.
I looked at Marco, surprised.
What? I remember him, even if he doesn't remember me. He looks like one of the teachers I've had there.
Ray ran a hand through his dual-colored hair, slightly annoyed. But then again, this was his natural state of affairs, so nothing was too different than usual.
He stood up, stretched his legs and arms, and took off. We followed him to the couches in the other corner, opposite to the one Jasmine and G were occupying.
So what do you want to know? If I'm from the university too?
Actually, it's about...
Obviously, we have to choose one of the unrelated questions, to see what happens
About your drink, what even is it? Is it alcohol or something?
I was getting away from the topic, but perhaps if I brought up a familiar thing first, I would get him to open up more easily.
Oh, sorry, did I touch on something bad? We can just skip that, then. What I meant to ask about was if you had a link with the University of Montreal, yes.
Ray grumbled something at our insistence before he sighed, clearly giving up opposing our questioning.
Yeah, I'm employed by the university, and you were probably students from it then, right? I can tell you're both about the age all of these fucks graduate.
Okay okay, there's no point being too rude. We're all trapped here and we all want to make it out, so we just need information. Are we good?
I looked at Marco. He stared back at me and closed his eyes, letting his frown dissipate. This also seemed to calm down Ray. The man seemed more reactive than proactive when cornered like this.
So what exactly is it you want to know? Why I'm here? I don't have a damn clue myself. I'm stuck in here with a bunch of zoomers and a boomer.
The girl with disabilities, well... sucks for her, but she wouldn't be admitted. We don't have classes for blind and deaf people. That's if she's even both of those, which I don't believe in.
Man, like half of the cast at this point have dunked on this blind girl, who has done nothing to cause suspicion at any point, just because she's disabled Thanks guys!
The teens? They're teens. They don't belong in the university. They probably just graduated high school or something. Having fun with their boyfriends and doing fuck-all because they're too insecure about their futures.
As for the pinkette... I don't think I've seen... her before. ...No... I think I have...
I narrowed my eyes. What would he and Jasmine have in common?
Wasn't at the university, before you jump to conclusions. It was... elsewhere. I can't remember exactly. There was a... waiting room. I didn't recall before because my memories of that are a little muddy.
He gave us a dismissive wave. At least he was polite enough for that. Marco and I had remained quiet during most of his monologue. This information was, ultimately, somewhat interesting. Still, his hesitation at the end made it sound like he was embarrassed about it. I shrugged at Marco.
Well, maybe we'll know more later. I think I'm gonna group up with J so I can ask her about it.
Aw, man. You're gonna leave me with Ray?
Or one of the twins. Try to use that to also find out what they're all about, okay? Maybe they have a... parent from the university or something.
Marco wasn't too enthused by it, but he agreed. At the same moment, a yell caught my attention. It came from H, who had joined Jasmine and G on the couch during our discussion.
BGM: Accelerated Scuffle
What's going on here?
Mind your business, blandie, I'm gonna give this bitch a piece of my mind!
She lunged at Jasmine but Marco grabbed her to stop her from moving.
Let me go, nerdlord!
I took a glance at Jasmine, who looked completely lost in all of this. Her eyes were wide open in surprise.
H was gesticulating wildly, while G was a lot calmer, trying to make sense of the situation as much as we were. After a while, she snapped her fingers, as if she just got an idea.
Ah, I know what it is!
You don't know anything, sis!
In the end, H slammed her foot down on the ground, surprising Marco who let her go after a short moment of inattention. This time, it was my turn to snag her up so she wouldn't lunge on her.
Let me fucking go!
A joined us in the commotion.
It's okay, I can deal with this. H, please, let it go, and don't worry. Come over here...
She reached for H's arm. I let go of her and the moment I did, H's legs gave and she fell down to the ground. The girl was trembling all over.
BGM: Ascertaining Speech
Come over here. It's okay.
G repeated herself while helping H over. The two of them sat down on the far end of the other couch and we moved away to give them some privacy. I pulled Jasmine over by her wrist.
We should leave them alone for a bit.
That would be...for the best. She's just sensitive about some stuff ever since things... happened at school. We'll be ready to head back out shortly.
It's okay, H. There's none of that here.
We moved even further away until we could barely hear what they said anymore. Jasmine was looking at me, following absentmindedly as if she wasn't all there either.
What did you even say to her?
Like I said... something about getting out? I don't know... She must be whack in the head.
I scratched the side of my cheek a little, playing with my sideburn. What a trait to differentiate the twins...
BGM: Agoraphobic Sloth
That thought made me truly feel sad, but I couldn't take those on a date. I had to go with Jasmine so I could inquire about the event she might've shared with Ray.
So how are the teams going to work? I'm going with Jasmine this time, if I can shotgun that.
I'll take the punk.
He pointed at Marco. Strange, I thought he might've opposed my idea, but perhaps he didn't want to team up with Jasmine again. But to go to the length where he'd willingly pick Marco? Perhaps something I'd said shook him up to his core.
She's not... n-never mind.
Jasmine giggled at his ascertainment of the situation. Apparently, she found that line very funny. Great. My chances with her were probably at a round zero.
That's okay I guess.
He didn't look enthused about it. Our teams, ultimately, weren't very different than the first round's groups. Nothing was in place to force us to mix up, so the twins went together again.
Do we have our teams? If that is the case, let us go at once.
Obviously, A would go with E since, other than me, he was the only one who could communicate with her. I could've simply handed the bag to someone else though. But I did want to investigate her situation again later. For now, we all walked down the stairs in pairs.
I, too, was happy because that was the only person I really figured I could go on a real date with. E was nice, but also difficult to deal with. Marco and the other guys were out of the question since I didn't swing that way... And the twins? That's illegal! Never in a million years!
Thank you so much for appraising us about your romantic considerations, Simon The no homo is a great touch!
But why that name in the first place? It was embarrassing. It was almost as embarrassing as admitting to Jasmine all that I thought of her. I glanced at her again. Come to think of it, she was a little different now, beyond her peppier step.
She's a pretty nice person, but in here she took the lead a lot and she was unafraid of confrontation. Those were traits that she did show before, but not to this extent. Either she changed during these years, or Jasmine being away from me stopped me from extending my cowardice to her.
The train closed its doors... And finally, it took off. This time, we were heading in the direction we hadn't explored earlier. Very little words were exchanged comparatively to our earlier escapade.
I zoned out after a bit. Apparently, while I did so, the twins left at the first stop we had. I forced myself to wake back up from that moment after a while. Looking over the others, they were all naturally segregated in their teams of two.
I was very close to Jasmine, so I could tell something was a little different about her. She was a little nervous.
Do you want to leave at the next station...?
Oh, huh? Yeah, that sounds like a good plan.
BGM: Ambient Strain
I only questioned her after the train stopped, once we were outside of it. I figured what was making her nervous might have been something the others weren't meant to hear. We stepped into the lobby and the door did its magic.
I wondered what would happen if only one of us stepped inside of this place. Would the door still close? I chased that thought away since I needed to address Jasmine over what she might've found.
Anything specific on your mind, J?
BGM: Alarming Silence
I listened. For all I knew, it might've been incredibly important.
This place is kind of... you know...
It's weird, right? Did you figure out...
BGM: Agoraphobic Sloth
I looked at her, somewhat surprised. All of this for bathrooms.
Oh, um... I haven't seen any... I don't think? But maybe if you look around here...
She went up the stairs at my suggestion. I followed after her, but I was much slower. There wasn't the same kind of desire welling up in me. I was also still in shock from the sudden shift. I really thought she figured something out... but this...
BGM: Algorithm Simile
She stated the obvious once we entered the main room of this station. A lot of stuff was scattered around; stuff that I wasn't too familiar with. Dissection tables, pots containing stuff in formaldehyde, complex computers... even a microwave oven was here. All stuff that I wasn't too familiar with.
Except for the microwave oven.
Jasmine didn't look disgusted by any of the formaldehyde, but I couldn't stare at them any longer than a few seconds and only if necessary.
I really hope there are bathrooms here too...
I felt my stomach turn a bit at the contents of those pots.
What does the other one lead to?
That's... I think that's the exit hallway. That means the bathrooms are outside.
She left the room to wander the hallway outside, giving me a head start in the search.
I wasn't too happy about that since she left me alone with all of those disgusting things in the jars here... I chose not to look at those things until she came back.
BGM: Auxiliary Search
As always, first things first we gotta check the map!
The little detail of the bathroom being allllll the way at the very end of the hallway is really funny to me I'm gonna start with the computer on the desk.
I tried to turn on the computer, but nothing was working. No button did the trick. While there were many ways to turn on something, the only way that was available to me was the use of the power button. Maybe if I had been more suave... Well, I could always give it a shot.
What's a beautiful piece of electronics like you doing in a place like this?
I spoke directly at the computer screen. Obviously, nothing happened. It was a bad pick-up line anyway.
So...come here often?
Even worse. I was thankful Jasmine hadn't been here to witness this stupidity. No wonder the computer refused to talk to me.
Well, uh... let's look at the door on the far left.
That's the door Jasmine took when she went to find the bathrooms earlier. Suffice it to say, it led to a hallway and... you guessed it... the bathrooms. When I opened the door, it squeaked a little. The door hinge needed a good dose of oil to be serviceable again.
Come to think of it, door hinge... door hinge... Why was door hinge the only rhyme for the word orange? And was that true or was that some kind of urban legend? If only I was a master linguist, I could've known the answer to these questions.
Why be a master linguist when you can be a cunning linguist? Oh, that's a good one. Hey, J!
I called for her and she came by momentarily. Her trip to the bathroom was over.
I was thinking about oranges, and...
Oranges? Did you find weird food in here too?
No, it's about...
Oh, so the color then?
No, no, it's about the door hinge and the cunning linguist.
Crap, I'd told this whole thing out of order. Jasmine was nothing but confused at my words.
Um...n-never mind. It was just... a dumb thing. Nothing to do with an actual person.
Despite my failure in delivery, Jasmine was back and would now search this place alongside me.
So, there's different dialogue when you examine stuff once Jasmine has returned... and since the flowchart hasn't unlocked yet (and the game auto-saves when you return to menu), the fact I accidentally brought her back immediately also locks us out of any more of Simon's weirdo dialogue while she's out of the room If you guys reeeeally want I'll throw it in with the other stuff in the supplemental updates, but something tells me we aren't missing anything of value.
How goes the search on this side?
Jasmine had been staring into the microscope. She rose back up and offered me a shrug in these trying times.
I didn't think so either.
This thing won't turn on.
Um... it's not plugged in.
I cursed. How could I have fallen for the stupidest mistake? I leaned down under the desk and looked at the plug. Just as Jasmine said, it wasn't plugged in.
Do you see an outlet anywhere?
One over here!
She called from the corner. I had to twist my arm a bit to throw the plug that way but Jasmine managed to catch it. The computer booted up. Jasmine rose up and took a look at the screen.
No... n-no I didn't.
So I guess the puzzle for this room is finding that password. There's still some places we haven't checked, but I want to look at the big metal door first.
J, look at this. It's weird, isn't it? And the door doesn't even have a handle either. Can't open it.
I can't see with your head in the way. What's weird?
There's another room that looks like this one a little. It has a big tube in the middle...
Let me see.
That's very strange... and you say we can't open this door at all?
There's no handle. It clearly opens from this side too. It's just... not accessible for some reason. What do you think it is?
Maybe it's like, a bunker. You know? The door looks solid enough for that.
But why would someone want to make a bunker in a science laboratory above a metro?
She made a good point. I backed off from the door entirely following that exchange. It still nagged at me, though. I didn't know what its purpose was... or what was behind it.
I guess we should probably poke around the table in the middle of the room.
Look at all this stuff! J, what do you think all of this is for?
These? These are cooking utensils.
Huh? How do you...
Do you want me to bake a cake?
I didn't answer for several moments, too horrified to put my wits together.
I think... I think I'm good.
Is there, uh, a joke or reference here I'm missing??? There's no followup, so...
And over there was another science item too! So much science. Among the science, I saw something a little more familiar. It was a USB stick.
Finally, something I recognize and can use...
As for its purpose, I had no idea. At least, I had it now.
I'm obviously supposed to use it on the computer, but I haven't talked to Jasmine yet, so let's get that out of the way first.
Oh, I looked into some drawers over there. They contained knives of all kinds. It's kind of dangerous so I closed them back. Think we could do something to lock them up better?
If they didn't have locks, not sure what else we could do...
Maybe we could put something in front, or... just remove the knives.
Hmm... nah, I don't think we need to do that. After all, we'll probably be the only ones who will explore this place. Nobody will take one or anything.
Place your bets on whether this line will become ironic down the line!
Despite my words, she didn't look convinced. Oh well, I wasn't going to mess with the place just for that! What if we had a need for those knives later, too? We couldn't just get rid of them.
While we're at it, what's up with the switch on the wall?
That was one big-ass switch.
That's one big-ass switch.
Yeah, that's one big-ass switch, as opposed to two big-ass switches.
Better not touch it. It seems like it's connecting two things already. If we took it off, we might...
Jasmine flipped it down without even paying any mind to what I was suggesting not to do. I frowned and crossed my arms accusingly after replacing it how it was before. She shrugged at me.
Nothing happened, it's fine!
But one big-ass switch could cause one big-ass explosion if you don't do it right. Do you just press all the buttons you see when you enter a room?
See? Even you wouldn't... huh?
She left my surroundings, probably to go push more buttons and flip more switches. Damn it, Jasmine!
There's nothing else worth looking at now that we have the USB drive, so...
Wait, did you try Smiley's birthday too?
Do you know the date? Otherwise, we have 365 possible outcomes.
She didn't know it and neither did I. As I spoke, something happened on the screen. The USB stick I inserted triggered something to run despite the account not being accessed.
Hey, what's going on?
I just put this thing in the PC and it started doing it on its own. Really weird, if you ask me. Is Smiley playing a practical joke on us? Why would he give us a crack for his own password?
Hmm... maybe the goal is just not to see us fail? It's really odd though, I agree.
Two minutes passed. The password was still not found. Five minutes. I looked at Jasmine but I could see she had surrendered herself to the wait.
BGM: Ascertaining Speech
But you know...miracles aren't that uncommon by this definition. You know about Littlewood's Law, right?
Uh, no. That seems like something not many people would know.
It's just that under his definition, miracles are one special event to a normal million normal events. So basically, a miracle is one out of a million. And when I say miracle, I don't mean a magic trick or anything, just a special event.
I don't understand. What do you mean by not just one person?
If you put two people somewhere, then you only need 500,000 events to happen to each of them on average to account for one miracle... And then, three people would further divide it into thirds, and four, quarters. If you have one million people in the world, then the chances of seeing a miracle happen is much likelier. And how many of us are out there right now?
Doesn't that sound crazy? Since we're a few billion people, thousands of miracles are happening at the same time every day, and multiple times a day most likely!
So what you're suggesting is that the computer cracking the password is doing the same thing?
I mean, it's trying a lot of times, so clearly, its hinging on the Law of Truly Large Numbers, which says that with enough attempts, you'll eventually see something happen... And it's working so fast I wouldn't be surprised if it resolved the password situation in only a few more seconds!
She looked at the computer intently, but such a thing wouldn't make it work faster, obviously.
Well... All I'm trying to say to pass the time is that the more attempts you have at making something work, then the likelier that thing is going to work. Unless you try over and over doing the same thing and never changing anything, because that's... that's just insanity.
Yeah, yeah, I know that definition.
And just at that moment, the computer finished its solving.
BGM: Agoraphobic Sloth
I gazed at the screen, and upon it was the sequence to enter for the doors outside, most likely. It read: 2022220427. It looked like a date but it also had other numbers on it.
Well, that's a long code. Do you think it's that easy? Would it really give us the solution already? This feels like we were set up.
Yeah... we were here maybe fifteen minutes or something. Is that really all we have to do?
It worked! The door opened with a sliding noise. Assuming Jasmine entered it correctly on the other side, we could now use both sides of the station again. Since I had the side that went back to the lounge, I patiently waited for Jasmine to join me again.
It looked like it was fully welded in place... Maybe we have to come back later.
Jasmine shrugged, and we waited for the train to arrive. This room had been... strange.
There wasn't a puzzle here in the original version either, so instead, here is the answer to the book puzzle from the library (found at the end of Update 3):
Straight Answer: The answer is 5073.
Explanation: The goal is to figure out what the four question marks are. You have some of the shapes which already have their numbers provided, but you need to figure out the other shapes to be able to find the code. A means to Add, and S means to subtract, so by filling in the equations it gives you more of the shapes' matching numbers. After doing so, the only number not accounted for is nine, which corresponds with the circle, the only shape you can't solve for inherently. The black numbers denote what order the answer's digits should be in.