Part 29: Bang Bang Soda PopThe people have spoken! Kila dies!
Well that's being a little presumptuous, game.
Hey if Max keeps tying up idiots for Rabies to kill, he wouldn't complain.
Acheron and Inumi -- you're free to talk. But you know the rules. I won't hesitate to kill you all.
Let's get things moving, shall we? Up to the conference room you go...
Wouldn't want to keep him waiting...
I quickly exchange glances with Acheron and Inumi.
Oh right, I forgot. This means we have to save Rook.
The FACE OF PURE TERROR (while the character is still playfully sticking his tongue out)
Running towards the bomb so we can all be free from this nightmare!
Reluctantly, mind you.
We could use Inumi as a battering ram?
They've been locked from the other side! I don't think I can break them in!
He kicks them several more times. They don't budge.
Oh, silly me. I forgot to mention the bomb has a timer. You have five minutes to disarm Rook's bomb.
Grr--Wait here, I'm going to see Singe. He has to know how we can get through!
He starts to run away, but Inumi interjects.
Acheron -- stop! Didn't you pay attention to the rules!?
We have to stick together as a group. But you ran upstairs by yourself...!
And no one else is allowed to intervene. But you want to go see Singe!?
Which means Acheron absolutely should run up the stairs.
...Of course. I apologize. I'm used to thinking on my feet. Not used to working with restrictions. You'll have to forgive me, Inumi.
He quickly draws his pistol, having no other option.
NO ACHERON YOU HAVE SO LITTLE TO LIVE FOR
We do as instructed. Inumi stares on in awe.
But he doesn't fire right away. He readjusts his aim calmly and carefully. Like he's trying to find that one perfect shot.
He fires once, then kicks the door. Nothing happens.
He fires again, then kicks the door. Nothing happens.
He takes a deep breath, before adjusting his aim again.
He fires for a third time, and kicks the door. It opens slightly -- and he beams with pride. My ears ring loudly, even though they were covered.
What deity with a collection of clipart put you in charge?
I look back at Inumi, before following his order. When I get to him, he points at my feet.
I need your help. Listen carefully. Heel first. To the side of the lock. That's the weakest part of a door.
Kick it with me, on the count of three. But follow those instructions precisely.
Hey now, dying builds character.
He turns and faces the door. I do the same.
I bring my foot crashing into the door. Pain shoots up my leg, but the door opens more. I lose my balance, my shin on fire with pain.
We have it now! Just one more time!
I push past the pain, and assume the stance once more.
I like how Inumi's mental age keeps dropping the longer we're around him.
Yep, that's an Armstrong-brand Irish Firecracker. Used to be able to buy five of those for a buck. Ah, those were the days.
However, I lock gazes with him first. His eyes are red, and wet. Was he crying?
You better be thankful your only redeeming trait is "not being Kila."
I honestly don't know how to respond. I look down to inspect the bomb. They were right about having five minutes...I let Acheron know that the timer is counting down.
Let me see.
He comes and stands beside me. Inumi waits near the doorway, leaving this in our hands.
You heard the man! EVERYONE PANIC!
He takes deep breaths as he examines the bomb.
Wait...A nine digit numerical keypad. As well as a button for the number zero. Too many combinations to just guess...
This is impossible. We were set up!
He tries to remove the bomb, but it starts beeping. He winces in fright, and quickly leave it be.
You'd think Max would at least give Singe the honors of pushing the detonator.
Acheron gulps and nods.
Besides, you -do- know the code. I'll give you a couple hints.
It's a number that the three of you know. Surely you've heard it somewhere before. And to top it off -- it's four digits.
That could be anything. I don't appreciate these games!
It's not too difficult, Acheron. You're good at solving "problems". This one was no different.
How many attempts do we get? Before it detonates on its own...
Oh Max, you're just a hoot.
Radio silence? They're talking over the fucking PA system!
Three minutes left. What could it be? Think Acheron, think!
I try to think as well, but I draw blanks. I start to worry that this game is rigged, too.
Acheron, Inumi and myself all know this number? It's four digits as well. What could it be...? Or did they mean Acheron, Rook and myself? There's variations to the term "three of us".
They should've been more specific! It's almost like they're doing this on purpose!
I trace my steps back to when I first met Acheron. If we heard it today, we would have heard it as a group. We took the limo here together, got escorted inside...
So if you haven't already figured it out, the combination's 8250. This might have been a good time for the player to actually have some interaction and be able to, I dunno, enter in the numbers themselves, but since this is Klace we're talking about, we're instead treated to the three stooges just bumbling around.
We were all together then! That makes the most sense. Could it have been something said during the briefing? But I don't recall any numbers mentioned at that time. I stop and think -- replaying the conference in my head.
Two minutes remaining...Acheron quickly leaps forward and enters some numbers.
But they're incorrect...He growls and punches the floor.
"Almost certain" isn't a phrase you use when dealing with a bomb.
Rook is panting heavily, his eyes watering again. He looks terrified. I feel so sorry for him...He stares at me, his body as still as a corpse. Perhaps he's terrified he may set the bomb off.
I should mention that this is the only time in the entire game where the date is brought up. With Klace being born in 2020, this game apparently takes place in the mid-2040s, even though we've seen literally zero evidence of it.
That does make sense...We're all here as part of Klace's tour. It's definitely implied that we should know about him.
I look at Acheron -- he nods. I lean forward and look at the bomb. Hesitantly, I type the numbers 2-0-2-0 on the keyboard.
But it's not correct. Damn it!
Oh well! Nice knowin' ya Rook!
The timer decreases to the double digits. Is this how it ends...? Because we "forgot"?
Acheron starts breathing heavily, in a state of panic. Even if we gave up -- we couldn't flee now. We wouldn't be able to make it out of here in time!
Forty-five seconds...I replay my time in Tokyo over and over again. Like my life is flashing before my eyes. But I still can't remember any numbers!
We must be getting played. I don't believe it. They were cruel enough to give us hope before death? We were probably never meant to disarm this bomb. It's this thought that breaks me. I start to cry.
How does Rook qualify as a friend?
Twenty seconds. I close my eyelids tightly. Perhaps I'm too cowardly to stare death in the face. But my foremost thought is simple -- please don't hurt.
I hear Acheron, Inumi and Rook speak. Saying what I only presume is their final words. However, I have nothing to say. I simply wait it out. With the realization that I'll never save a single soul.
My eyes shoot open, and I look towards Inumi.
8-2-5-0! Enter it -- now!
Without even a single thought, I rise to action. I look at the keypad, and locate the numbers. As fast as I can -- I type 8-2-5-0.
The Hurt Locker this isn't.
SEEYA LATER, KILA!
Oh, I forgot to mention one important thing!
The voice on the loudspeaker starts laughing loudly. The warping effect on their voice sounding near demonic.
The codes to disarm this bomb? Actually set the other one off as well. I connected them using a subroutine.
Aw shucks Max, you shouldn't have.
My heart sinks to my stomach as I hear these words.
Remember that time Jesus ripped out Pontius Pilate's heart and just straight-up ate it?
Why are they doing this to me!?
I know I told Endymion and Konrad I could kill...But that was for the greater good. How could I possibly justify the death of Kila!?
Whatever you're thinking now is irrelevant. They're already dead. By your hand.
I did say it would be your fault. Don't you remember my little texts?
I suggest you rush to them now. To see if any bits and pieces are left. Or perhaps, if they miraculously survived.
I look at Acheron, Inumi and Rook. My heart is racing. This feeling of guilt is immense.
Let's go. We have to try...
Also cut about a one-inch deep hole in his chest, but let's ignore that.
We must not rush him into anything...He'll return to his senses on his own.
I nod. And we dash out of the room. We quickly head for the board room where Kila was. But Rook stays behind, letting these events settle in.
I would be a long time before he was okay again...
Huh, looks like the bomb make his head take off like a rocket. I think that's it stuck in the ceiling.
Aaaand that's his intestines wrapped around the chair like a broken Slinkie.
Ha ha, one of his eyeballs landed in that cup over there.
Undo the fact that some poor janitor's going to have to scrape Kila's liver off the windows?
RIP in peace Kila. Here's a shitty teddy bear to reflect your shitty life.
Hey Rabies, please don't make crazy promises.
And now the main character is starting to get supervillain on us.
I walk towards Inumi. His eyes still streaming tears. He looks up at me, trying to tell me something.
But he's crying too much to get it out. I place my hand on his shoulder. I tell him to take deep breaths, and guide him.
After a few moments he's sufficiently calm.
I know who did this to us...
What? How can he claim to know that?
I wouldn't call that math problem you asked Acheron an equation, for the same reason I don't really consider 2+2 to be one.
You mean where you demonstrated that you're even dumber than the assassins? Nope! Doesn't ring a bell!
I do, actually. I can't believe I overlooked it.
The woman who gave me that equation? She's the one who is doing all of this.
It make sense. But it's a woman. I didn't really expect that. But the numbers definitely did match. So there's really no other explanation.
I didn't know who she was at first. But when she arrived here earlier today? I saw her on the television. On the news.
Who could have ever of guessed that Maxine "Literally The Killer" Armstrong is Maxine Armstrong, the killer?
What!? I knew there was something off about her.
So...Maxine Armstrong is The Midnight Killer? She killed Klace? She killed Rocker? And she was given powers by the man in The Ark? I don't know what to think.
I try and piece this together in my mind. And the more I do -- the more it makes sense. She planted the weapons here as part of a plan...But then is Singe aware? And what about Acheron?
She's definitely been following me since I got here. First at the train station -- and then at the hotel. Plus, she has the codes to activate all the weapons. But there's still a few burning questions in my mind.
Why was she given powers from the main in The Ark? Was it all to teach me some sort of lesson? She kept telling me about these "rules". Things I'd experience in my efforts to save Terra.
The explanation is that Max really, really likes her job.
It can't be just for my sake. That would make me partly responsible. For the death of Klace and Rocker, too. No -- there must be some other factors at play.
I'm satisfied, now that the culprit is revealed.
I quickly turn around. Acheron has to know this! But as I start walking towards him, a pain assaults me. Like an arrow to the chest -- it stops me in my tracks.
No! I need to tell Acheron! And Singe, too! The fate of everybody here depends on it!
A part of me wants to think Klace just stole the Ark's name from the Bible, but I kinda know he's nowhere near that smart.
He lied to me! He gave powers to Maxine Armstrong? And she seems to know about my role in Terra as well. What else has he been lying about? What is he up to?
It gets harder to think clearly. My breath is short. I slide down the wall, collapsing on the floor. Why did he give her powers? Why did he make her kill? What is my true role? What did Kila have to die!? I'm sick of being his pawn. I'm sick of lies!
The absolute truth of the matter is that everyone in this game is either a terrible person, a stupid person, or completely irrelevant either way.