Part 9: Meet Michael Saito
In the car?
Smoking's prohibited throughout the colony.
You guys a bunch of health nuts? These barely give off any secondary smoke.
Look, you're not on Home. Smoking's a serious offense here. You can't become a lung donor either. It's a disgusting thing to do.
Who said I was gonna light it?
Since when did you ever smoke, anyway?
I'm not bothering anyone.
Pretty soon you won't even need to suck on it.
Yeah. Just you watch.
I always thought these last 3 lines were kinda confusing. Ed just means that he's going to get used to being/living on the colony, and he'll get used to not smoking.
Jonathan's cigarettes are a future sci-fi type known as "bent cigarettes". They use chemicals and specially shaped leaves, so you can spark ignition by bending the end. It kinda makes it unrealistic because while I think people would have enough problems with bringing a cigarette onto both a plane and a space colony, it's even crazier if you don't need matches or a lighter to light it.
But like I mentioned earlier, it's a conscious thematic choice, so let's just take ease in the fact that Jonathan can't take a drag, and that has to be the most goddamned maddening thing to have it in his mouth.
Seriously, I quit over a year ago and thinking about doing that makes me want to go out and smoke 1000 cigars right now. ... ... Ummmmm, hey let's move on!
No better place to start.
"Hey slowbeef, surely you have some cool ROMhacking stories about the outside of Tokugawa Pharmaceuticals!"
Oh! ...Yes!... ...*runs*
Let's head inside.
Entry of unauthorized personnel is strictly forbidden. What's your business here, gentlemen?
We're with BCP. We'd like to talk to you about an employee of yours called Kenzo Hojo.
The police? Oh, so that's it.
Meet Michael Saito. If you're unaware, this is awfully close to my real name - I'm also a Mike S. But it's not an Easter Egg, it's just a weird coincidence. In fact, it was so weird I thought that Marc had put it in as a nod. But yeah, for some reason this random-ass character gets not only a telop, not only a voice actor, but also a first and last name.
And I don't think it's too much of a spoiler to say that I don't know why. I guess Nobutoshi Canna got to voice all the weird one-off characters.
A surveillance camera?
Come on, we had to.
Ask About; Hojo
A man by the name of Kenzo Hojo does work here, correct?
Yes, Mr. Hojo is one of our employees. He's been here a number of years. A lot longer than me, anyway.
As it happens, we've been asked to look for him.
Is that so. Well, I'll try and help however I can.
We'd appreciate it.
The company had told us to keep quiet for the time being. You know. PR reasons.
If the media got wind of it they'd have a field day, huh?
To put it lightly. There's always someone waiting to take a shot at us.
So when did you last see him?
I guess it's been... 3 weeks now? He just stopped coming in one day. No one's heard from him since. It's been driving me crazy, believe it or not. You've got his family asking about him, meanwhile the company tells you not to say anything.
Ask About; Hojo's Address
Where does Hojo live?
The most exclusive area of Tokugawa Hills. You can't miss it. Huge place at the end.
Tokugawa Hills, huh? That's a high-priced residential area. A lot of Japanese live there.
I think that officially counts a puzzle, bringing our running total to... two? I dunno. Anyway, we can now go visit Hojo's Residence when we want to. After we're done investigating here, of course.
Ask About; Hojo's Disappearance
You have any idea what happened to Hojo?
Well, he was a real workaholic. Maybe all the stress finally got to him?He was holed up in here almost nonstop in the weeks before he disappeared. He could've gone back Home. A lot of Terrestrials do that.
You mean Return Syndrome? That's when someone who can't cope with living on Beyond anymore leaves their family and job behind and disappears to Home.
It happens a lot in our company, since we have so many Japanese employees. Japanese people can be like that.
Ask About; Hojo's Job
What does Hojo's job involve?
He's head of DDS development here, and also the sales rep for DDS products. The latter involves distributing information to hospitals and doctors about new drugs developed here.
Ask About; Hojo's Job (again)
Anyone else work with him?
Mr. Hojo ran just about the entire thing himself. Research, development and marketing. I heard he had several assistants before, but they all left.
He did it all himself?
Yeah, at least nowadays. Only a very select number of extremely intelligent people work here. But still.... It's like this.... Our company is very paranoid. Mr. Hojo's work in particular is highly classified, even within the company.
Here's an interesting one.
Ask About; Hojo's Behavior
How did Hojo seem before he disappeared? Anything unusual about him?
He'd just finished work on a new product. Everything went well, as far as I know.
Did he appear worried about anything?
If he was worried about anything, I'd say it would be his daughter more than his work.
Ask About; Hojo's Daughter
He said she was very ill, that she needed a bone marrow transplant - something like that. Her name's Karen. He said drugs couldn't cure her. Cruel irony for him.
Ask About; "DDS"
What's this "DDS" you mentioned?
It stands for "drug delivery system". DDS development looks at new ways to deliver drugs. Before, all drugs had to go through the process of absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion. That meant only a small amount of the drug ever reached the target area. You with me so far?
So, the goal of any DDS product is to ensure the necessary amount of a drug is present in the target area at all times.
You get all that?
They did this in the past through ribosomes or microspheres, in the case of cancer drugs, for instance, with their numerous side effects.
This guy's a walking encyclopedia.
There's more to ask about, but there's a room in back that we can't get into (off-limits) and a room marked D.D.S. which is probably pertinent.
That must be the DDS lab.
That's the DDS Room. That's where DDS R&D takes place. It's more or less Mr. Hojo's personal lab.
Sounds good to me.
Enter; DDS Lab
If it's okay with you, we'd like to take a look inside Hojo's lab. For our investigation. Please.
There might be some clues.
You guys are crazy!
Tell us something we don't know.
Better listen to him. He can be a real pain in the ass.
Look, we don't want any trouble here. We won't be long.
C'mon, shake a leg.
Fine. But only the DDS Room. And don't tell anyone about it. I'm a Beyond. If the company found out I'd get fired and blacklisted everywhere.
No one's gonna find out.
It's the room over there. I'll unlock the door.
Here it is. No one's touched anything since Mr. Hojo disappeared. You be sure and do the same.
He's got a 2D photo here.
That's unusual for a Japanese in the workplace.
So that's Hojo.... Doesn't look like the type who'd just leave everything and take off.
That's his wife next to him. He talked about her a lot.
This is the same photo Lorraine gave me.
As you can probably tell, Mr. Hojo was a jealous guy. He was very protective of his wife.
So the DDS line is here; it's the product line Hojo was working on to deliver drugs alternatively. Saito will explain them each if you examine the photos.
K-3 is a DDS that mimics contact lenses. It uses a transmucosal delivery system where the drug is absorbed through the ocular mucous membranes. It was the first product in our DDS line. It gathered a lot of attention at the time.
Yeah stunning that a product that let you take drugs through your fucking EYES would garner attention. These Beyonders!
K-5 is a DDS that takes the form of a patch. It uses a transdermal delivery system where the drug is absorbed through the skin.
Yeah, they're called nicotene patches, fuck you game made in 1990. Next!
K-6 is a DDS where the drug is absorbed through the buccal mucous membranes.
... *checks Google* ... What, like nicotene gum? God after that eye thing, Hojo's ideas really started to blow. Next one?
That one is a little different from the others. That's a massquito, a mosquito-type micromachine that we tried to use for administering injections. The medical establishment fiercely opposed it, however, so right now it's only used for drawing blood in certain cases.
Okay, that's one pretty cool. Last one?
What's this blank space for?
That's reserved for K-9. We haven't revealed it to the public yet. We're still gathering data at the moment.
That's Mr. Hojo's whiteboard.
Always wrote down his schedule there.
This his writing?
Yes, that's definitely Mr. Hojo's.
Hojo would've disappeared on the 15th.
The 15th.... Something's written down for that day. Is that Japaense under the 100?
Yes, that says "sets".
Okay, we got... "The 15th... K-9... 100 sets... BCCH".
A hospital we do business with.
What do you suppose this scribble at the bottom is?
Looks a bit like a pawprint.
Well, that's certainly odd. Why would a pawprint be on-
Back up. A hundred sets of K-9? I thought K-9 wasn't on the market yet? Why would this hospital be getting 100 sets of it?
Once a new product's been approved, we conduct studies until its release. Not to look for side effects, but to gather data for manufacturing and marketing purposes.
Still, 100 sets? Seems a bit much.
I think we're better off asking at the hospital.
Where do you make your samples?
At a factory here.
Can we take a look inside?
Our list of things to talk to about Saito seems to have stabilized at about 1000, which probably means we've done everything we need to do here.
Ask About; BCCH
"BCCH" stands for "Beyond Coast Central Hospital". It's the biggest hospital on Beyond, making it the biggest single market for us.
Yeah, I'm familiar with it myself.
Several of our employees work from there. We have a very close relationship. We get most of our product data from them.
The importance of our relationship with BCCH can't be understated. Least of all Mr. Hojo's work there.
I'd say we got what we came for. Shall we get going?
Remember, I never showed you around. I'm not kidding.
You can trust us. Thanks for your help.
Let's go find out what Hojo's people have to say.
At least we're not going in an ambulance.
But if what he said about DDSes is true... Might not have to worry about shots someday.
I wouldn't like that either.
Why else? Less time with all the lovely nurses.
That's our Jonathan.