The Let's Play Archive

Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward

by Fedule

Part 102: [continued]

VLR OST: [Clarification]

Listen in: [English/Japanese]

I'll try and keep it simple for you.

Hmm... Let's see...


I handed the box I'd been examining over to her. She set it down on the desk and opened the top.

Perfect. He's part of felidae too.

With that she grabbed the lion and tossed it unceremoniously into the box.
She also took a weight and an ink jar, and put them in next to the lion.

Listen in: [English/Japanese]


Remember that book in the crew quarters about Schrödinger's cat?
It relates to all this stuff I've been talking about.
Anyway, come look at the box.

What about looking for the--

This'll only take a minute. Now look.

I shrugged and peered into the box.

Well, there's a stuffed lion.

From now on that's a cat. A living cat. This is important. Got it?

Yeah, it's a cat meow.

Oh man... This again?

Sorry... I cat help it.

I find that hard to believe...
Ugh. Fine. Maybe I can just ignore it.

Fur what it's worth, I'm sorry...

A weight that's not even a paw-nd, and a jar of ink.

Right. Now, the weight is going to be radioactive material.
And the jar of ink is full of poisonous gas.

What?! I'm kitten out of here!

Idiot. It's not really full of gas. This is just hypothetical.
Imagine that it's full of gas.


So, what's the weight?

Radioactive material.

And the jar of ink?

It's full of poison gas.

Exactly. Good work.

If it's struck by any of the α particles the radioactive material admits, it'll break.
These particles are emitted randomly, but there is a fifty percent chance that one of them will come into contact with the jar over the course of an hour.
So let's close the lid...

Here's the question:
Is the cat inside the box alive or dead?
You can't open the box to check.

*knock knock*

And you can't hit the box.

*rattle rattle*

Obviously you can't shake it either.
It's also been soundproofed, so the cat could be howling up a storm in there and you'd never know.
Basically, you have no idea what's going on inside the box.

Do you remember what happens if the α particles hit the jar?

It breaks, gas fills the box, the cat inhales it, and death will whisker away.

And what if the jar doesn't break?

The cat lives to tell the tail.

Ha ha... And what are the chances of either of those things happening?

About fifty purrrrcent.

Uh-huh. So what's your answer?
Is the cat alive or dead?

I can't purrsibly know--

Then guess. It's not hard. Alive or dead?

Let's be an optimist.

Listen in: [English/Japanese]

Nope. You're wrong.

It's dead?

That's wrong too.

Then what's the right answer?

The answer is that it's in a state where it is neither dead nor alive.

...What? How does that make any sense?

We don't know if an atom is spinning upward or downward until we measure it.
Before it's measured, those two possibilities coexist.
But as soon as the measurement is taken, obviously only one possibility is the truth.

Since we can't know when they were emitted, or where, we only know the probability that they'll impact the jar.
Because we can't observe anything that's happening in the box, that becomes the entire system.
In other words, the box is like the atom: We don't know how the cat's life-or-death situation has resolved itself until we look at it.
Until we do, it's just a bunch of possibilities.
Do you get it?

...Then it's both alive and dead.

So let's open the lid...