Part 44: Lives in the Archives
content warning: extreme torture, finger trauma, eye trauma
[BGM: The Darkness]
One thing I've always liked about this VN is that its puzzles continue to have you doing really interesting things- from the order you fill out forms, to manipulating the order of fighting game inputs, and now Morse Code? The devs definitely pushed to get as much use out of their puzzle concept as they could, and we still have plenty more to experience.
In any case, this one's still a pretty easy solution- and they were even nice enough to give us a Morse Code table in the previous update! Because of how many moving pieces there are for this puzzle, I'm instead just going to type out each message in Morse Code here for easier reading. There's only one more Bad ending, which you get by putting in.... well, basically any combination that doesn't actually spell out a word or abbreviation, or isn't one that's relevant to the situation.
Hmm... I probably spelled it wrong.
Well, what the hell.
I wasn't really holding my breath. There was no way they could save me in time even if I could give them the right address.
I had given up all hope when the people outside shot the storage room door full of holes.
Strangely, I didn't die.
Every day, people came in and out of the dungeon in which they were holding me.
They tortured me in various and creative ways day after day, unleashing their profound hatred.
They pulled off my finger nails, cut off my fingers and toes, and dipped my hands and feet into salt water.
They burned me with a red hot iron poker, and poured boiling oil on me...
They had gouged out my eyes, so I could only tell them apart by their voices.
But they all kept asking me the same question.
Who do you work for?
I would never tell them.
I would take it to my grave. No, to my hell.
There's one more non-S outcome (which was Regallion's guess, for the record), and the solution to get it is [-..-.-...], or...
It was the name of the shopping center.
I wasn't really holding my breath. There was no way they could save me in time even if they really wanted to.
And even if they got here there were 10 floors in the center.
By the time they found me I would be long dead.
I was right.
In the end, I wasn't saved by this Zucco man.
Instead, I was filled full of holes behind the storage room door.
Strangely, I didn't die.
I cut out the rest of the letter bc it's the same torture description, and I think we've read it enough already, thanks. Anyway, surprise surprise, Xas wasn't the right answer! Now you may be asking, 'ok, so what's the answer for the S outcome?' Well, the answer is actually [-..-....-], which means...
X4 was short for Xas, 4th floor.
There was no time to send something more specific.
I didn't even know if they could read it.
Boom! The entire storage room shook.
I couldn't hear any people outside anymore, only the sizzling of burning flames.
I pushed away the mop that had just fallen on me and opened the metal door.
The entire floor appeared to have been bombed by a fighter jet.
The people there weren't able to escape from the attack; they were all lying on the ground, dead.
The sniper across the street was gone too.
I jumped off the ledge from the fourth floor and grabbed a hoodie in a nearby shopping stall.
Then I followed the safest path back to the Chungking Mansions.
I opened the door and the first thing I saw was an adult magazine.
You are breaking and entering.
No no no~ I'm just reading in my good friend's home.
I am not your good friend.
I had noticed the intrusion before I came in. Right now, the surprise visitor was sitting on my bed.
He was holding an adult magazine from three months ago, and he had a sarcastic smirk on his face.
Well, would you like to be my good friend then? Or, to be more precise, my associate.
No thanks. I intend to leave Hong Kong soon.
I missed Mexico so much. I missed Carlos so much.
He tossed me a phone.
I caught it and saw a list of names on the screen. Every name was followed by a photo and a series of digits.
I was the eighth name on the list, and the number after it looked massive.
One, two, three, four, five, six...
2 million dollars. Doesn't it look fantastic? Do you have any family? If so, it's time to cut them off.
I tossed the phone back to him.
I looked at him and sighed.
Why didn't you just kill me?
You still owe me for the RPG. It was really expensive, and two million is nowhere near enough to cover it.
Bullshit. Did anybody ever tell you that you are full of it?
Fine, fine. This is the real reason.
He rolled up his sleeve and I saw a tattoo on his muscular arm. It was a little rabbit, carrying a carrot.
It's actually a number. Can you tell what it is?
The folding ears of the rabbit, the carrot that was sticking out of the body, and the big feet...
It was a 3?
I believe you have something similar on you.
I involuntarily touched the tattoo on my upper stomach.
The dragon tattoo. I remembered exactly what it looked like.
It was also a number... 6.
I collected all of my important possessions and put them into a small suitcase.
I asked someone else to send all of the money I had to the orphanage, anonymously.
From here on I would never write another letter.
I had nothing in my wallet but a business card.
It had a simple design, but unusual contact information on it.
A few words were printed in bold on the thin white card.
Send your resume to 9999-8888-6666.
Yeah, sure, obviously the answer was Z4, I can't believe nobody got it! What an obvious solution it is in hindsight, huh?
[BGM: Lost Memories]
NEW MESSAGE: A Boy with a Baseball Cap
NEW MESSAGE: Unit 4: Gone
Unfortunately, Carlos's letter (and by proxy ???, Jimmy, and Li Wen) is still blocked- we have to keep going with Alicia's letters. Before we do so, though, let's take a quick detour to a hidden letter, to mix things up a little!
Let's start with one pretty early into the game... there was a pretty blatant path split for our friend Chang Gyeong-Min, our idiot rookie cop who hasn't realized yet that all cops suck. If you'll remember, in his very first letter, because he showed up late, in his Bad End he was assigned to the Archives instead.
What would happen if we switched to that ending?
Well, for starters, Carlos would never make it out of Mexico, so that just cuts off his entire letter chain. Carlos leaving Mexico and Chang becoming an actual police officer are causally linked- you can't have one outcome without the other. However...
NEW MESSAGE: Lives in the Archives
...we now get a different letter, from an Archivist Chang, instead. Let's go see what his life is like for a bit.
[BGM: Broken Dream 1]
Lives in the Archives
It was another beautiful day outside.
I took two lunch boxes out of the microwave in the second floor breakroom.
Then I went back to the basement.
At the end of the hallway there was a door with a yellowish sign that read Archives.
I pushed the door open and yelled, Nana, lunch is ready!
A woman with messy hair and dark circles under her eyes walked out from the inner room. She was almost my age but she was more senior than me here; my only coworker in this archive room.
I know I'm two months younger than you, but don't call me by my nickname, it's so embarrassing.
Nana put the boxes in her hands on the desk near the door, and took her lunch box from me.
She went back to her seat, picked up the tea pot, and poured two cups for the both of us.
A basement that must have its lights on, even in the morning.
Two boxes of homemade lunch.
Steam coming out of two cups of tea.
That was my everyday life ever since I had become a police officer.
It had nothing to do with justice, but it was peaceful.
The room suddenly went dark. The power was out.
Someone knocked on the door. It was Lieutenant Kim from Unit 3.
He said he wanted to check out the records and evidence for Case C-0795.
I went into the record room that was almost 200 square meters in size, walked to the second to last row and picked out the files.
Then I heard Nana's screaming.
Startled by Nana's screaming, I rushed out of the record room.
By the candlelight in the outer office I could see that there were three more people, besides me: Lieutenant Kim, Nana, and Min-Jun from Unit 4, who would often come and hang out with us here.
Min-Jun picked up something from the desk, dropped it on the floor, and then stomped on it with his foot.
He pulled out a napkin from his pocket, wrapped up the thing on the floor, and threw it in the trash can.
Thank you, Min-Jun. That was so scary.
What just happened?
I closed the door to the record room behind me, still confused.
It was a bug! I was just eating my lunch when I saw a bug inside my food. A huge one!
Eh? I have never seen any bugs in our basement, what kind of bug was it?
It was like a ball, with stripes around it and a hard shell. It was almost as big as my thumb. I didn't look too closely, but it was so gross!
Ah, I see! That was the fried silkworm cocoon I made this morning...
Later, Lieutenant Kim left with his files.
Min-Jun went into the armory across the hall from us.
Nana told me that if I ever put bugs in our food again she would stop talking to me.
She said she'd rather I brought those Chinese snacks called Haw Rolls.
Although she used to think those were made of rotten strawberries, she eventually got used to it.
Bugs, however, were absolutely non-negotiable.
The power was soon restored.
We were still talking about Chinese snacks at our desks,
when Nana smelled something burning.
When we finally found out what was happening the record room was already engulfed in flames.
Then I realized that when I had run out of the room because of Nana's scream, I had forgotten to take the candle out, too.
The fire was quickly put out. Nevertheless, the station had lost a sixth of the evidence for the open cases that were still being worked on.
I was, naturally, expelled.
Profiles have updated.