The Let's Play Archive


by slowbeef

Part 12: Meet Karen Hojo

Wait till you see this place. It's one of the true symbols of Beyond. A real tourist hotspot. It always leaves an impression.

The thing's essentially built into the colony. It connects a set of its surfaces and windows.

This is the Tokugawa Building, also known as 'The Prop." I mentioned it before, but if LP'ing a Kojima game will do anything to you, it'll make you redundant - this is not something endemic to an O'Neill Cylinder.

One cool thing about The Prop, and any sufficiently tall structure on Beyond is that the... uh... "higher" (read, closer to the central axis) that you go, the less the centrifugal force - a.k.a artificial gravity - affects you. Get to the center, and you're essentially weightless.

BCCH has a tall tower as well, for its zero-G ward.

You ain't chickening out, are you?
I don't know anything about this place - or Tokugawa. Not anymore.
That's where I come in. That's why we're partners.
Glad you're here... partner.

In case nothing on screen indicates it, this is BCCH.

Gateway between Heaven and Earth.

Look; "Sky"

Beyond's the only place in the world where you look up and see something like this.

Well, Ed, I'm not sure "only place in the world" is exactly the right expression, but we get you.

Go Inside

Ready to see inside?

It's observations like this that makes you the best sidekick ever, Ed. I know that joke was low-hanging fruit, but it's far from the first time.

Actually, has anyone noticed Ed's been doing a lot of the questioning? I never really picked up on it before I had to type paste it out myself, but Jonathan throws in a wisecrack, grabs a boob every now and again, and suddenly, he's supposed to be some kinda private eye protagonist? You better buck up, Ingram. You're no Seed in my book.

One of the most famous ever built.

One of the most famous... lobbies ever built? What'd you do, read a trade magazine or something?

Look; Receptionist

There's a girl sitting there. She must be the receptionist. Why don't we go talk to her.



Welcome to the Tokugawa Building. May I help you?


We're with BCP. Mind if we ask you some questions?
The police? How may I help you?

Ask About; Tokugawa

Tell us about President Tokugawa.
The president came to Beyond as one of the Policenauts, later becoming head of the Tokugawa Group. He's also currently director of the International Space Promotion Agency. A very important man.

Ask About; Tokugawa's whereabouts

We'd like to speak with President Tokugawa. Where is he right now?
Do you have an appointment?
I wouldn't mind making an appointment with you.
It's rather sudden, so no, we don't.
I'm sorry, but in that case I'm afraid there's nothing I can do.

We can question her further about this, but Sadaoki's not in - he's off doing stuff for Beyond's 30th anniversary party (for now).

Ask About; Hojo

We'd like to know about a man called Kenzo Hojo.
He's an employee with Tokugawa Pharmaceuticals. We need to know when he was last here.
A Mr. Hojo? Sorry, I don't know him. Do you know his employee ID number?
No, but we have a picture of him.

...Wait, I'm sorry. We're solving a puzzle? Oh. Shit! Well, lemme look in my inventory here, what could I have...

Show; Hojo Photo

This man is Kenzo Hojo. Do you recognize him?
He doesn't look familiar, no, but I couldn't be sure.

No, never mind. It wasn't a puzzle after all. Okay, look, we can learn some seemingly innocuous shit about the Prop, but there's one question that actually helps us out.

Ask About; The building's facilities

The building's air conditioning, heating, lighting, disaster control system and employee management system are all run by computer.
Maybe Hojo's entry was automatically recorded?

Huh, wait. Maybe there's something to that.

Ask About; Hojo

I'm sorry, but I truly don't know anyone by that name. He may have been here before, but if he was, he didn't leave a lasting impression.
What about records of any visits?
Yes, I would be able to check those.

...We ... We have to specify what to do next? For God's sake.

Ask About; Hojo's Visit

Here's what we need to know. On the afternoon of the 15th, a Kenzo Hojo is supposed to have been here.
Just a moment. As you can understand, we get quite a number of visitors. I'll check the visitor log.

All persons entering and leaving have their arrival and departure times recorded. Let's see... Here we go. It has a Kenzo Hojo arriving at 4 PM on the 15th. He went straight up to the president's office.
Sadaoki had to have been here too, I'd assume.
When did he leave?
He left at... Huh? That's strange. It doesn't say. There's no record of his departure. According to this, Mr. Hojo is still inside the building.
What about another exit?
There are several emergency exits, but it would still be difficult to bypass the system.
So Hojo drops off the face of the earth right here.
Either he's being held somewhere inside, or he left without going through the system.
Lorraine was right. The whole thing stinks. If they really don't know anything, why not be more concerned?
You can say that again.
I've never seen anything like this before.

This is about all we can do for now, so let's go to the place Jonathan's secretly been dreading.

Move; Exit

Drive; Hojo's House

Ready to do this?
Hojo's house...
What's wrong?
Something doesn't feel right. Maybe I shouldn't be doing this.
Jonathan, we're already in this now. It's too late for that.
We have to do this.
I know. Lorraine's house....

I guess we'll be talking to their daughter, Karen. Karen's a famous news anchor with BBC. Karen Hojo. You've heard of her, right?
Was that her I saw before? She's the spitting image of Lorraine. Lorraine's daughter...
Remember, Jonathan. It's been 30 years. I know it only feels like three to you, but try to understand how it is for everyone else.

Go Inside

You ready? I'll ring the doorbell.

Who is it?
We're with BCP. May we speak with you a minute?
The police? Just a moment. May I see your badge? Hold it up to the camera.
This okay?


Oh come on, Jon, seriously?

I mean... Karen?

And you are? Jonathan Ingram...? It's you, isn't it!
Umm, yes...?

Why can't you just stay out of our lives? You've already caused us enough pain! Please!
That's not what I'm here to do, Karen. Lorraine... I mean, your mother asked me for my help on Home. I'm just trying to find your father.
Yeah, and look what happened right after she met up with you. Why? Why is this happening to us? It's you, it's always you! Jonathan Ingram. As far as I'm concerned, you're the one who killed my mother! I don't want your help! I'll look for my father myself. Just go!
Karen, you've got Jonathan all wrong.
And you are?

You know, I used to know your mother too. Jonathan would never want to intentionally hurt any of you. He and I go way back. I've seen for myself how he feels about your mother.
I know how she felt.

Always carried your photo with her. Nothing my father said made any difference. I felt so sorry for him. She just couldn't let go. They were always fighting about it. I had to watch all that growing up. I've despised you my entire life.
I'm sorry. I had no idea.
Karen, I can't say I know how you must feel. But you can't blame Jonathan. He'd been lost in space until 3 years ago.
Karen, listen to me. You and your father could be involved in something bigger than you realize. I wanna help the both of you any way I can.
You have to believe him, Karen.
You win. Come on. We can talk inside.

Check this place out.

Fortunately, it didn't take a lot of convincing to get Karen over her lifelong hatred of us. Fancy that. I guess let's start by playing with her dead father's stuff.

Look; TV

It's a wall-mounted HDTV. It's got a chaos system too. You can set the hue to change according to your emotions. Like if you're laughing or crying.
I remember things heading this way in the 20th, when they brought out washing machines and ovens with neural networks and fuzzy logic and so on.
You're welcome to turn on the TV.

Turn On; TV

Welcome to News Order. A demonstration was held by repatriatists today in the run-up to Beyond Coast's anniversary, where an estimated 10,000 people gathered at the Tokugawa Building. Scuffles between demonstrators and police did occur, but no injuries were reported. BCP is urging citizens to remain vigilant through the anniversary against possible terrorism.

Was that pre-recorded?
No, it's CG. They use a computer to create an exact duplicate of me.

So everyone thank advancements in computer graphics and the solution of the whole "uncanny valley" thing, because now newscasters don't need to utilize their bereavement time. ...Or their sick leave...

Turn On; TV

As the world stops to mark Beyond Coast's 30th anniversary, the colony continues to show signs of deterioration. The degradation of its mirrors is particularly advanced, with officials fearing their gathering power will soon begin to decline. The International Space Promotion Agency says it is studying a possible 10-year plan for replacing all of the colony's parts.

I'm gonna try looking closer next time.

Sadly, that's all the new News Orders we can unlock for now. Doing it again shows us the VR Porn story from earlier. So...

Ask About; Her parents

This can't be an easy thing to talk about, but it is necessary for our investigation. What can you tell us about your parents?
My father is a Terrestrial who immigrated to Beyond shortly after it was completed.
Your mother told me they met at Tokugawa's festival for Japanese people.
Yes, that's correct. He met my mother at the Tokugawa Group's Nihonjin Matsuri. It's a festival for Japanese people here. He said Mom was inconsolable after your accident.
He devoted himself to her. They married 6 months later.

Ask About; Her parents (again)

Mom couldn't forget you. The stronger Dad's love got, the more his jealousy grew. That's when their relationship turned sour. Mom still kept all the pictures she had of you. One day, Dad found them... and burned every last one. She had no pictures of you left after that.

Asking about Hojo's job once doesn't net us any new info. After that, though...

Did he say anything you think might help us?
Well, one time - I can't remember when exactly - he broke down in tears, saying he wanted to quit Tokugawa. He said, "They tricked me. I hate my fucking job!"
Holy mackerel.
That was it. That was all he said. He never mentioned it again. He never swore, which made it even more unusual.

There's nothing notable to us regarding Hojo's behavior (that is, nothing that we don't expect; he was acting a little unusual, and getting emotional easily).

Ask About; Hojo's Hobbies

What are your father's hobbies?
Hobbies? Well, he likes listening to CDs.
Yes, he has a lot of CDs he got when he was younger. Unusual, I know.
I understand how that is. We come from the same time.
That's his only hobby per se. He doesn't have any friends.
So would he spend his days off here?
He was almost never home, since he and Mom didn't get along. Their relationship made him into a workaholic. Whenever he was home, he would spend his time listening to music by himself.

Asking about Saito or Ishida doesn't work - Hojo kept to himself.

Ask About; Lorraine

About your mother...
I held a makeshift funeral for her. She didn't have many friends. It was just me there. I don't think we'll get her body back.
What's happened to her body?
It's still on Home. I'd settle for just her ashes. Unfortunately, I can't see them allowing a body to be brought into the colony. My father would be devastated if he knew.
And her things?
No luck with them either.
I see. I'm sorry to hear that.
Your mother asked me to look out for you.
She... said that?

Ask About; Her illness

Your mother was worried about an illness she said you have. Would you... mind telling me about it?
I have aplastic anemia. The hematopoietic stem cells in my bone marrow, the ones that create new blood, have become damaged and I can't produce blood cells properly. I can become anemic, or get hemorrhages, or be more susceptible to infection.

You can keep going with it and learn that it was most likely caused by exposure to cosmic radiation. While there are treatment options, Karen will need a bone marrow transplant at some point. Hojo talked her into immunosuppressive drug therapy... but it's not doing much. Hojo did, somehow, manage to get Karen moved up on the transplant list.

Asking about Hojo's disappearance doesn't help too much, but we do learn...

Did he mention anything in particular before he went missing.
Actually, yeah. The word "Plato", several times. I don't know what he meant by it.

Show; Lorraine Photo

I brought this photo with me, Karen.

It's been awhile since we've had a video, so see a sappy scene if you like, and get some of Karen's music action for the heck of it.

I want you to decide what to do with it.
What? Why?
I can... feel your mother's spirit here on Beyond. This is where it belongs. I shouldn't have it.

And with that, we use an inventory item. Note: Jonathan will do this automatically when you leave, if the player neglects to.

There's a snow globe thing on the table.

Look; Globe

What's this?

"CELESS" stands for "Closed Ecological Life Support System". You don't need to give it any food or oxygen. It's totally self-sufficient.
Like this model, if the colony's balance were disturbed it would become unable to support life.

Yes, yes, very symbolic. (**** video covered up to here)

Look; Shelves

These are the CD shelves. This is Dad's hobby. Listening to music is probably his favorite thing in the world, besides work.
CDs are an antique media nowadays.
Right, but Dad doesn't like the quality you get with optical discs.

... Wait, Karen-?

Before we go there, though, these CD shelves are apparently a technological achievement. Seriously! Policenauts is a 2-disc game, but somehow, the entire soundtrack is here. You can click on the individual discs and listen to all the tracks from the game, no matter which disc you're on. You can Look or Listen to the discs, the former giving you the artist name and track title (multiple audio teams composed the soundtrack), the latter... well, actually playing the track.

Bottom middle shelf, leftmost disc. That white one, leaning over. What's going on there?

Look; White Disc

Hey, this one doesn't have a title.
It's a blank CD case. Maybe it's from a private collection of his?

Huh. I'm sure this is not at all pertinent to anything, so...

Play; White Disc

You mind if we put this on?
No, not at all.

It starts playing, but it's just weird sounds - not really music.

What's with this one? There's no music.
Weird. It's just... noise.


Welp, no big deal!


Move; Hojo's Room

Does your father have a room he uses for himself?
A room? I suppose his study.
Wow, he has a study?
May we take a look inside?
Sure. Follow me.

This is my father's Japanese study.

Hey, what's that on the desk? Is it ... our first inventory item of the game? Can we actually solve a puzzle soon???

Look; Card

What's this card?

It looks like Dad's ID card. I think that was a spare he made. He always was a careful person.

This was a slightly tricky graphic to edit, because it was a little "noisy" to begin with; if you're wondering what we changed, Policenauts was pretty consistent with making it "Hojyo" instead of "Hojo."

Would you mind if we borrowed this, Karen?
No, go ahead, but please don't let his work find out about it. They'd be furious if they knew he'd done something like that.

Look; Chart on Wall

Those are Japanese family crests.

Karen will explain all of these, but for some reason or another, Hojo had this chart of Japanese family crests. Top row, left to right, we have Saito, Tokugawa, Maeda, Ishida. Bottom row, it's Asai, Kobayakawa, Hojo, and Sasaki. There's detailed explanations for each one, of course.

That shrine in the back is a butsudan. Karen will again lament not being able to retrieve Lorraine's body if you examine it. This also prompts some pennance from Jonathan.

I'm responsible for your mother's death. She came to me for help... but I turned her away. I shouldn't have done that.
I'm sure she was happy she got to see you again, though. You can take some comfort in that.

Well, this has gotten awkward, so let's get the hell out of here.


Move; Leave

You've been a very big help, Karen.
I'm sorry about everything, Karen.
I have to know the truth. Promise me something, will you? I want you to tell me whatever you learn about my father. I don't care how bad it is. I'll pay you whatever Mom was supposed to.
Okay. We promise. But this isn't about money. Your mother asked me to do this. This is for her... and me.

Jonathan, I... I was out of line earlier. I apologize.
Karen, given what happened to your mother, you could be in danger too. Don't hesitate to call the police if you see anything suspicious. I can send someone over.
Take care, Karen.
Oh, Jonathan?
About your cigarette....
I don't know what's wrong with him either. I hope he hasn't offended you.
No, it's just that... Mom never mentioned you smoke.
He stays here long enough and he'll be an ex-smoker.
Yeah. Well, bye.
Bye, Karen.

She'll come around eventually.
I hope so.

We've now exhausted all our leads, so it's back to the Prop and coming up, the end of Act 1! (And things start finally happening in Act 2.)