Part 1: Visiting Ms. TakaoCutscene: A dream
: You're late... You're way late, Francois Hawke! You haven't forgotten that we're going to visit Ms. Takao, have you? Hurry up and get over to Yoyogi Park. You're wasting my quality time!
>It's from your classmate. Enter his name.
*: Eh, good enough.
: Oh yeah, you better make sure you look nice for her. How about the jacket you bought the other day... Y'know, the one with a demon graphic on it? You're just the mood maker. Don't forget that.
That's typical Isamu right there, calling me to tell me I'm late, then telling me what to wear. But I let it slide one more time, even if only because it's gonna be spectacular to see his face when Ms. Takao strikes him down in one blow.
*: As for the jacket with a demon graphic...
That's right: Shin Megami Tensei games are canonically part of the Shin Megami Tensei universe.
Anyway, just to make him wait even longer, I'm gonna have a drink.
>You see a vending machine! You have enough change to buy a drink. Will you buy something?
Does Atlus make the raddest games?
>The drink that came out isn't any of the ones listed. You obtained a Mysterious Drink.
>The vending machine is sold out.
Well, hmm, okay then. It must be one of those special prize cans that you get for getting to the bottom of a vending machine, and that's definitely not some BS I made up just now. I'll, uh, drink it later.
: No, but it's the same general direction from here.
: After the incident, we've had a lot of lookee-loos, but not so many customers. Man, I've had a lot of free time on my hands...
: That's weird, I thought this place would be packed. What's going on exactly?
: I had a long night and woke up like half an hour ago, if you don't count the nap I took in the train. Seriously, what's the haps?
: Hmmm... How should I put this? Yesterday, there was a riot at Yoyogi Park. If you want the details, you can check the giant screen. A buncha people were killed. You could hear the sirens wailing all night long.
: Holy crap, it sounds pretty bad. I guess I should pay more attention to the news... but I know I'm not gonna.
: I'm sorry about that... I shouldn't be talking on the job, even if I'm not busy.
: Eh, no sweat, I'm wasting time on purpose anyway. How's the wife?
He gives me a look. Alright then, better get a move on. This empty station is beginning to give me the heebie-jeebies anyway.
Whoa dang, shoulda checked the smog alert too.
Music: Large Map ~ Real Universe
*: Well, isn't this both familiar and new at the same time! We're the little blue token, as usual. The green ones are NPCs with a few lines, but no portrait.
Interestingly, the green tokens are turning back and forth, while our blue one is rotating counter-clockwise. In ages past this would mean we're Chaos-aligned while everyone else is Neutral... but the Law/Chaos alignement axis is no longer a Thing. So it's probably just a visual distinction or something.
If we take a good look at Yoyogi Park, there's a big square construction site in the middle, and it's kind of not supposed to be there. Hmm! Let's check out the western entrance before we talk to anyone else.
Oh, hmm, alright then. Let's get our chat on, then.
Young officer: We ask for your cooperation.
Shabby man: It's a dream where da world becomes round...
: You don't say.
Shabby man: By gum! I means ter say... Da world IS round, but it got round-er, ya see!?
: Still not seeing it, sorry.
Shabby man: I think it's a prophetic dream, but no one believes me... By gum!
Reporter: I feel that the demonstrators' actions were out of line... But, even I can't forgive Cybers Communication for destroying the park for their own profits!
>The reporter's impassionned speech continues.
So, ecoterrorism then? I don't know if I'd start a riot about that sort of thing myself, but I have to admit it's kind of an eyesore already.
Young man: Oh, you mean that thing they're showing on TV?
: Why, was there more than one big riot that ended up with a bunch of dead people yesterday?
Young man: It doesn't seem real to me! I feel like this riot happened in another world or something... Well, I don't really have anything to do with it anyway.
: Right, good call, let's keep our heads down.
: Why hel-lo.
High school girl: You said you were going to visit Ms. Takao today, right?
: I don't remember telling anyone. But clearly Isamu couldn't keep quiet.
High school girl: Just because she's beautiful, don't go doing weird things to her, okay!?
: Wait, do I have a reputation for doing weird things to beautiful women? ...hey, come back!
She's gone. Aw, man, what.
Ah, here's that good old jumbotron. Lessee...
>The news is showing on the giant video display...
Newscaster: The demonstration got out of hand, and there have been several deaths and injuries reported. Also, Hikawa, the top executive of Cybers Communication, is still missing.
*: During my first test run, I encountered this and immediately thought, "oh sweet, a SMT1 reference!"
Then my brain clicked, and I thought "holy crap! it's not a reference to SMT1, it's a reference to my Let's Play of SMT1, where I consciously refused to use the widely-accepted canon names and chose to name my party members after Akira characters!"
Then my brain clicked again, and I got creeped out, and I decided to think about something else very quickly.
>The news continues...
Ugly high school girl: ...Don'tcha think that Hikawa guy's cool?
Even uglier high school girl: As if! He's got all those bad rumors about him floating around!
Ugly high school girl: Oh, gawd! That's what makes him so cool!
*: I didn't make up those names, that's what the game calls them. Yikes.
Woman: Did you hear about the riot?! Three people died, right??? Eeek! I'm so scared!!
Man: You're such a scaredy-cat! C'mon, baby, every night we start our own 'riot of love'!
Woman: You're such a pervert! But, I love that about you!! *giggle*
Oh Lordy, get me outta here.
: Man, I hear you. So tragic to see all these abuses of punctuation.
Police officer: There were even fatalities, yet it's like a carnival here.
: Wait, what? Someone died of exclamation mark overdose?
Police officer: Just a while back, a long-haired man walked in.
: Oh, you were talking about... Oh! Oh.
Young man: He had a giant sword on his back, and looked dangerous! But, I swear I've seen him somewhere before... Hmmm...
: From that description, it could be anyone.
: Why are you telling me? Do you think I'm holding?
Old man: The hospital up ahead hasn't been open for a while. What's goin' on?
: I... okay, that is strange.
I hope they still allow visitors, or this'll have been a huge waste of time.
Tourist girl: What's up with everyone here? Everyone's so dang crabby, even after the riot!
: I have to assume dead protestors will have that effect, yes.
Tourist girl: By the way... Do you wanna have a good time with me???
: Yes, but not as much as I'm looking forward to seeing the exact moment when my friend's heart shatters into a million pieces. Sorry!
: I'm loitering, basically.
High school boy: ...Did you hear the rumor about Yoyogi Park?
: News, yes, but rumors, no. Whatchagot?
High school boy: I heard, on the night of the riot, a demon was spotted at Yoyogi Park. It was a terrible demon that killed all those people!
: That's crazy. You're crazy.
High school boy: Well... it's just a rumor.
*: That's everyone talked to. But there's also an eastern entrance to Yoyogi Park. Let's try our luck.
Well, that's different.
Man: I won't be able to get a single picture of the scene... Just my luck.
*: Well hey, if it isn't Definitely Not Johnny Depp!
: I figured I'd come have a look like everyone else. Can we see anything from here?
: "The clash between a well-known company and a civic organization results in deaths"...
: ...that it was a struggle between two opposing cults.
*: Man, the subtle body language is amazing here. I don't remember it showing so clearly on the old CRT TV I had back then.
>Your cell phone started to ring.
: ...Huh? Isn't that your phone ringing?
: Oh, hello!
Classmate: *sigh* I finally got a hold of you. What have you been doing all this time?
>Please enter your classmate's name.
*: Also good enough.
: I could see if it was Isamu, but you're never late. Did something happen?
: Not really, sorry, I'm just making a grim tourist of myself.
: Where are you now?
: In Yoyogi Park, near where those riots occured.
: Yoyogi Park? Well, since you didn't show up on time, Isamu and I left without you. ...We're almost there. So yeah, I'm sorry, but can you come directly to the hospital?
: Yeah, sure, sounds like a plan.
: You know which hospital it is?
: The one in Shinjuku, right?
: ...Yeah, Shinjuku Medical Center. Just go east from Shinjuku Station, and you can't miss it.
*: It's easy to miss, but the man is slightly startled and turns his head towards us at the mention of Shinjuku Medical Center. Dude has great hearing.
: I know the place, I think I saw it a minute ago.
: Oh well.
: Huh, you have a much better reason to go than Isamu does. I'll be right there, don't worry.
: Thanks, I'm not planning on staying there long. Okay then, see you later.
>Chiaki hung up.
: Aren't you the curious type?
: ......That's where I'm headed, too. What a coincidence.
: Eh wot?
: You don't know what happened here, right?
: Not really, no.
: Then, you probably don't know what kind of place that hospital is, either. The report on the Gaea cult and the Scripture of Miroku... It's an interesting read.
>You obtained an issue of Ayakashi Monthly.
: That place is different. ...Heheh. False info is pretty common in the occult industry. If it does turn out to be wrong, just laugh it off, okay?
: I definitely will.
: Well, I'd better get going. My name's Hijiri. If we ever meet again, let me know what you thought about my article.
And he leaves. I'm tempted to start reading, but if I'm going to see the place with my own eyes, why bother? Let's get a move on.
And there's the hospital. Two entrances, eh?
"The entrance to the annex is closed. Please use the entrance to the main building."
Huh, I have to assume that old man back there can't read. Let's use the other way in, then.
Nicer than I expected, for an evil occult demon hospital.
: I really wasn't that far, it's like two blocks.
*: Note the concerned eyebrows. Dang!
: From what I hear, it gets stranger.
: Look, even the reception desk is empty. Isn't it creepy here? I don't like it...
: Yeah, it's, uh, got an atmosphere.
: He hasn't come back yet, though. He'd better not be off fooling around.
: I met a reporter at the park, and he gave it to me.
: You got it from a stranger? Come on, you should know better than that.
: He had some candy too, but I already ate it.
: What!? It's an occult magazine! Why would you bring something like THAT here!?
: It was that or littering!
: ...... Well, I guess it might help me kill some time.
: Eh, might as well.
: If we can't find Ms. Takao, then I don't wanna stay here another minute. He should be on the second floor, where the patients' rooms are. I'll wait here. ...Oh yeah, let me borrow this magazine.
: Sure. Heck, keep it, my treat.
*: Just like that, we're set loose. Let's explorin'!
Music: Shinjuku Hygienic Hospital
Ah, there's an elevator just at the end of the lobby. How conveniently hospital-like.
*: The hospital is largely empty, and most of the doors are locked and barred. We might as well go straight to the second floor.
The place really is barren. It's not outright frightening, but it's abnormal for sure.
*: This part of the building is roughly U-shaped; as we enter the eastern wing, we catch a glimpse of someone on the west side. Curiously enough, if we had gone west first, we'd be seeing someone on the east side. You literally cannot get it right the first time.
We have a good view of the parking lot from here. As a nice touch, cars of various colors randomly pass on the street back there. And notably, there is exactly one car parked here. (That is actually a neat detail but I'm not at liberty to mention why yet.)
In any case, let's check out the west side.
Well, there's Isamu alright. I'd know that belt buckle anywhere.
: Normally I'd say it was for fun, but considering how this place feels, that'd be a dick move.
: You come here late, you cause trouble... Geez.
: I'm pretty sure you're just jumpy. I know I am.
: Ah, forget it.
: I'm getting a freaky vibe from this place. I'm actually kind of worried.
: This place better not be contaminated by some deadly virus...
: Oh well.
: I know the value of a good "oh well", but in these circumstances it feels a mite flippant.
: I'll go back and see how Chiaki is doing. She's probably all mad at me 'cuz I've been gone so long... *sigh* It's hard to please a girl with her upbringing.
: Ha, like I've ever seen you try.
: See ya in a bit, Francois. I really hope that this is nothing we should be worried about...
It's about time he left, the tacky rays coming from that belt buckle are overwhelming.
*: We take the stairs back down, just because.
At least Chiaki is still where I've left her.
: Don't look too excited!
: Um, Francois... You know that special report at the beginning of the magazine? Well, it says some things that are a little disturbing.
: Nice bunch of fellas, once you get to know them.
: They're right here in Japan. Anyway, they believe in this book of prophecy called the Scripture of Miroku.
: and these people are actually trying to make that happen. The reporter was unable to learn what is meant by "chaos"... It could be worldwide terrorism or some other tragedy. But...
: I even checked the men's room.
: If that's your idea of trying to please well-bred ladies, I can see why you think it's so hard.
: We're in the middle of a conversation, so please save the details for later. Now, where were we? ...Oh yeah, read this part. "A hospital on the east side of Shinjuku is closely linked to their plan..."
: You know, this could be the hospital that they're referring to.
: Things like they experiment on patients, and how a psychic got scared and ran outta here... There was also one about the hospital being under the influence of some cult...
: I haven't heard those things before. Maybe we shouldn't have come...
: There's definitely something wrong with this hospital.
: I'm worried about Ms. Takao.
: Yeah, this whole cult business is sounding less ridiculous every second.
: Hey, let's look around some more. If we don't find anything, then at least we'll know that there's nothing bad here.
: Aight, good idea.
: It looks like you can access the annex from the second floor. I'll go take a look.
>You obtained an ID Card.
: ...You're not scared, are you?
: O-Of course not! I'm sure she's not down there, that's why I'm having Francois go!
: What time is it?
*: Dude, it's been over four years, on another forum, no one knows what you're talking about. Can we just get through the intro without any more interruptions from the peanut gallery? Please?
: All Francois needs to do is confirm that Ms. Takao isn't in the basement. It's my duty to see her in person. If something does happen, Francois, just run like hell! Alright?
: Yyyyeah, I'll do that.
: *sigh* I can't believe him sometimes. But now, I'm worried about Ms. Takao. We should make sure she's okay.
*: And we have control again.
The basement, eh? Can't be much spookier than the rest of the place. It's just, like, there's no windows, right? No biggie.
Err. Okay. A prison gate. And someone spilled cranberry juice on the floor. I'm sure that's normal.
>You used the ID Card.
It worked. Glee.
On one hand, it would have been nice to run into Ms. Takao down here already. On the other hand, considering the general environment, it's kind of a relief that there's nobody at all.
Let's wander in an operation room. What's the worst that could happen? Someone might even come in to yell at me and I'd have the chance to ask one half of one question in the three seconds it'd take for them to kick me out.
Okay, I'm beginning to think there might be something to those cult rumors.
Yeah, that's not cranberry juice. Holy crap, could this be Ms. Takao's...? I gotta keep looking.
Here's Room A02 this time.
>Will you enter the room?
I'm going to regret this.
WHAT the SHIT just HAPPENED.
Was that a demon? Was that the demon who killed the protestors yesterday?
Rooftop. Rooftop. Elevator, then rooftop.
*: One car in the parking lot. I presume either Hikawa and Yuko came here together, or Hikawa came in alone some time ago and Yuko just arrived.
Where did these two come from? Are they with Hikawa?
: I see. My, my... But, we're busy at the moment. Let's come back later.
Is there going to be one thing that'll have happened since I set foot in this hospital that'll have made any sense?
Anyway, elevator. But... I want to check on Chiaki. First floor.
Aw hell. No, no, no, wait, nothing is fucked, Ms. Takao must have got here first, she must have sent her to the rooftop too. Let's go and find out what the hell is going on.
Cutscene: A rounder world