The Let's Play Archive

Zero Time Dilemma


Part 4: Execution: Q

Part 4: Execution: Q

Looks like we'll meet Q-Team first. All new characters on this team.

The little picture preview is all we get to see about the fragment before diving in. In this case, Q-Team is looking at the computer screen, prompting them for which team to execute. We only know that much because the last update told us so.

We'll have to play through all three teams before anything else is unlocked. So C-Team will be next, followed by D-Team.

The fragment structure here is about as simple as it gets. A scene, a decision, and two choices. We'll see more complicated ones as we go along.

Yes, let's.

Music: CQD Ward BGM 1

The first thing we see, is a shot of each room in Ward Q as the team explores their area. Prep for what, I wonder?

A decontamination room makes sense if you believe the story about this area being some kind of bomb or fallout shelter.

Uhh, okay?



This is weird...

There should be another room around here somewhere.

Let me see it.


Mira snatches the map out of Eric's hands here.


I'll show off the files for each update at the end. Basically you can now look at this map whenever you want from the menu.

I think the Prep Room is the little one next to the Decontamination Room. So I guess it's prepping for decontamination. And the unmarked room on the left is apparently the one they can't find the entrance to?

Pay no attention to the weird shots of Mira's butt or boobs. That's Mira's line up there, by the way.

The Lounge, as you might have guessed, is the big area where everyone started.

There's some graffiti on the wall. In red paint, or maybe blood. VLR had several of these as well.

What is this?

[Let's inhibit the virus!]

The subtitle has brackets to indicate that Mira is reading, I guess.

Maybe someone's gonna remove or control some kind of virus?

Virus? What virus?

Was there a virus as a plot point in one of the prior games?

Mira responds with a shrug.

Time check! We're halfway through our 90-minute allotment.

Even if C-Team voted for D-Team, and D-Team did the reverse, if we refuse, then we get two votes against us automatically...

It would, if we didn't know how Zero II tied into two other versions of this game. But remember, no one in this group was a part of either previous game.

I get it! You're right!

I bet that means you're part of the whole surprise!

I can't.


You'll break my neck!

This group needs to go to a team-building seminar or something.

The game shows us the ceiling again, a sure sign that an animation was cut.

Damn. It's really on there...

Wait. I see something on the side of this thing.

What the hell...

Isn't it a password input?

Does that mean the helmet comes off with the right numbers?

So in the previous games, the player would often stumble into these plot locks. When you come across one of these, you're basically stuck and can't proceed without the right information. Said information is typically on a different branch of the timeline. We'll get a preview of two of them in this update.

Ah! Hey!

Really...who are you?

A flashback of some kind, a bit grainy or hazy.

I don't remember. I woke up, and I was here...

Music: CQD Ward BGM 2

A fade to black and then we cut to some time later, with the team relaxing at the bar. I think we've had a breakthrough!


Eric's tone is sharp and angry-sounding still.

These aren't real choices, we'll just do them all in order.

Oh come on. Stop playing.

I told you I don't...

I don't know.

If this isn't a joke, then things are really serious.

Just quiet contemplation here.

Zero said... "it's a game"...

So then he's a psychopath.

That's what I've been saying. I'm sure he's just misunderstood though.

This Zero guy is probably off somewhere enjoying seeing us freak out...


The victim's name was Virginia Bailey, age 28.

The chest was ripped open and the heart entirely removed.

It happened again on May 22, 2026.

The body of a male was found in a trash can near a residence in Sacramento.

The victim's name was Jeffery Foret, age 37.

His body was just like Virginia's, with the heart completely gouged out.

During the whole speech, the camera just keeps slowly zooming in.

H-Hey, w-wait a minute.

Doesn't amnesia leave memorized facts not connected to your identity intact? Still kind of weird information to have on-hand, though.

I don't know why...but I knew.

Next question: Where are we?

Weren't you listening to Zero earlier?

Imagine most of Eric's lines with a healthy amount of derision.

I know that, but where exactly?


We're finally going to get an explanation of what "Dcom" is. Though some readers with memories from VLR have already guessed.

So, it's an experiment to see if we could survive on Mars?

Uh huh.

We all lived together in that compound for five days.

C-Team and D-Team were there too.

Oh, and there was a dog. It was incredibly old. I think his name was Gab...

You weren't there.

Psychological data mostly.

It was a closed environment for a group of people for an extended period of time. So how would that mess with the subjects mentally? That was what they were trying to investigate.

Yeah, the Mars experiment referenced in VLR was less about Mars and more about locking a bunch of people up together in isolation for an extended period. That actually makes more sense, in the context of something clearly having gone off the rails with it here. And there being a group of people here who don't appear to have any business going into space.

Hmm. Tough question.


Well, maybe not entirely...

Final question: What is your relationship?



This guy is totally on the hook.

Well we're not NOT, but...!

Well that was enlightening, thanks for clearing that up for us.

Musc: Sinisterness Phase 3

With all questions asked, if not answered, we fade to the next scene. What's with the box?

You know, I've been trying to figure something out for a while.

Maybe it's a gift from Zero?

So what, you think there's assorted teas inside?

Hey! What the hell! Stop! What if it's some kind of bomb?!

Hmm, I don't think it is...

I think this is upside down. So...this would be the front...

[Force Quit Box]?

Guess it stops something?

Look, there's also a keyboard.

Looks like you're supposed to input a code of some kind...

And if we get it right?

Then "something" will be forced to end?

But, what?

Your life?

Another look at the ceiling, with a clanging sound in the background.

Music: Initiation (Preamble)

Sure let's all run over there.

Gab? How did you...

You came through the vent?

Just do it will you.

Maybe that's why he has it on his head.

Hey, check this out.

No, we're not checking out another gratuitous shot of Mira.

There's something inside the case.

Is that a coaster?

"Hello. Carlos here. C-Team is voting for D-Team, so D-Team should vote for Q-Team, and Q-Team for C-Team."

Don't you get it? They're saying to spread the votes.

If each team ends up with one vote each...

Okay, now we have a plan. Let's do it!

I know it's been awhile, but the whole point of this fragment, after getting some background on Q-Team, was to vote on a team to execute.

Oh, that's a good point.

You're right. The position of this vent does imply it only connects to Ward C.

I doubt Gab's made his way to Ward D yet.

The arrow on the upper-left is Gab's path between Ward C and Ward Q.

I'll get a pen and cheese!

There was some at the bar, right?

The screen fades to black again while we hear a marker writing in the background. Clearly too complicated to show. But we can see the new addition.

That should do it...

I didn't skip anything, the coaster is just magically back in the tube now.

The game literally faded to black again so it could return with the cap closed and skip another animation. Maybe I need a "skipped animation" counter instead.

What exactly are you doing?

He's been a real A+ contributor to this update.

Suddenly we're in the Prep Room, on the other side of the ward.

Another fade, another clank, and the grill of the vent is removed.

Oh, I get it.

If Ward C and Ward Q have connected vents--

Then Q and D are probably connected as well.

Note the new arrow on the bottom of the diagram.

Yup. We just need to take the cheese and...

I wonder if they threw in the line about Gab being really old to cover for the fact that no dog in history has ever moved like that. Also I've never heard of dogs liking cheese, is that a thing?

It's all on you, Gab.

Think it'll work...?

I'm sure it will.

Music: Dcom (The Beginning)

Five minutes until the deadline.

I wonder if Gab made it to Ward D or not.

Even if he did, who knows if Diana will vote the way it says in the note.

I don't even want to consider the alternative.

Which is...?

That the whole letter from C-Team is a trap.


They could've written it, but maybe Carlos is planning to vote for Q-Team instead.

H-Hey, wait a minute now...

You said it.

What? But...

This whole scenario is kind of like a three-way prisoner's dilemma problem. If everyone cooperates, no one dies. If only one team goes against the plan, they gain an advantage in that another team will die, and they'll be safe. But if two teams go against the plan, they could be putting themselves in jeopardy. (And yet if all three teams betray, they're all safe again.)

VLR made heavy use of the prisoner's dilemma problem, in its more traditional form.

A chime sounds and an electronic voice is broadcast to the room. A female computer voice, not Zero's.

What? No, dummy.

A heartbeat thumps in the background again.

Yes, it's finally time!

Music: Tough Decision (Make Your Choice)

Well, you heard the arguments. Every other decision I've asked of you has really led down the same road. This one will really determine what we unlock next. Choose who to execute.


By the way, here's the menu. "File" shows us the files we've collected so far, like the map and the coaster note. Like so:

"Flow" can bring you to the fragment flow chart (where you just the detailed diagram for this fragment, including which nodes you've lit up so far), the global flow chart (where you see all the fragments and how they fit together), or the team select screen (in case you can't handle making this decision right now).

"Memo" is a way to store notes to yourself. It was more effective with a stylus on the 3DS. I'm playing the Steam version so my notes are better off in Notepad. Plus I'm literally recording everything already.

"Save" is pretty self-explanatory. "Log" shows all the dialogue from the current fragment, though the current time.

"Options" gives you some standard options for music volume and such.

"Status" is a little different.

Here you get the known status of every one of the players. Right now they're just represented by first initial, since we have almost no information on anyone. I'll check it out every now and then and show off any changes.