The Let's Play Archive

Zero Time Dilemma


Part 5: Execution C

Part 5: Execution C

Before we move on to C-Team, we have to resolve the vote from Q-Team. The thread wants to follow the plan.

So we vote for C-Team to be executed.

Music: Divulgation 2nd Mix

The same female computer voice as before.

Now we wait and see what exactly Carlos and Diana do.

If this plan doesn't work, then there are two outcomes that could happen.

Or we're the ones executed...

No. There's one more possibility.


Someone is definitely tricking us...!

The TVs come on, interrupting what I'm sure would've been a great conversation.

Sleep well, as the next game will begin when you awake.

One final thing. You've gone through with the vote exactly as I commanded.

You deserve a reward for obeying.

Pleasant dreams...

Hmm, maybe that should be the LP title instead.

Another ceiling shot as the bodies hit the floor.

And with that, we're unceremoniously dumped back to the Team Select screen.

Next up is C-Team.

Music: Extreme Extrication 2nd Mix

C-Team also takes a tour of their ward, which also has a Prep Room.

And this room.

This one's different. Some kind of control room for the facility?

C-Team's rooms are a little more mundane than Q-Team's.

So this is the last room...

Yes. We've checked everywhere we could...

The map of Ward C, with rooms labeled. I think C-Team has more rooms than Q-Team.

Random suit of armor in the rec room.

It's just as Zero said, huh?

Fifty minutes left until the vote deadline.

How can we not?!

Dcom's whole psychological test.

This fragment only obliquely mentions the Dcom backstory. Here's why.

What? Why?

Junpei's been through this all before. He knows it's not a joke, or just part of the experiment.

So that means he's actually willing to kill off a whole team?


But how...

So we'll be sleeping and then "BAM!"

There's a bunch of different ways.

Carlos is back in his thoughtful pose.

Why would you need to reach them?

What do you mean?

Remember what Zero said? "The group with two or more votes will lose."

Maybe C-Team could vote for D-Team, D-Team for Q-Team,

But how do we make sure they know to do it...

I have a good idea where this is going. But there's one key ingredient missing, still.

Music: Riddle and Puzzle 2nd Mix

A cut away, and we're back in the lounge.

Hey! Mira! Eric! Diana!

Phi? Sigma? Can you hear us?

It's not working...


That is a hell of a glare.

It's a 999 reference, Carlos, you wouldn't get it.

Junpei is clearly not about to try and explain that one.

Akane spots some writing on the wall, just like there was in Ward Q.

[Let the game end where I treat two.]

The phrase on the wall is different here. No mention of a virus.

What's this supposed to mean?

The game'll end...and something about two people? I guess the tough part is figuring out "treat".

If it's like "trick or treat" then maybe it means there's a reward or gift or something...

But it could also mean "treatment", which would imply being cared for.

Either way, it doesn't make sense.

Hey, anyone know what this thing could be?

A box...?

What's inside of it?

Maybe some kind of white smoke...

A Tamatebako?

You've heard of it, Carlos?

Urashima Taro, right? Japanese folklore. Something about jumping through time, I think?

Gee, how could that be relevant?

I'll save you the trip to Google. The Tamatebako is the name of the box. Urashima Taro was a fisherman who was invited to a sea palace, stayed there and partied for awhile, and was then given the box as a parting gift. With instructions to never open it. When he got home, he found his parents are died and he didn't recognize anyone left in the village. He then opened the box, a white puff of smoke came out, and he turned into an old man. Because many years had actually passed, and the box held the fisherman's old age inside.

No, I don't get it either.

This label says [Force Quit Box].

What's that?

Looks like there's a keyboard.

There's probably a password that goes there.

Then something ends if you punch it in?

But what, though?

Have you had enough shots of the box yet?

Wait, wait.

It seems like it wouldn't even have to be a box for that.

Didn't think it'd work...

A series of beeps followed by a longer buzzer right before this animation. I wonder what she tried?

One last look at the box.

Music: Sinisterness Phase 1

New scene, relaxing in the lounge again.

So... What now?

What can we do...


No. We still have some time.

Akane remains silent. Apparently her best idea was typing random letters on the box.

Junpei is equally stumped.

So now it's Carlos's turn to quiz his team members. Something I only just noticed on this recording - each team has a leader paired up with two others who share a past history from before Dcom. Kind of an interesting dynamic that way.

Who is Zero...

Then that means there has to have been a first one, right?

Yeah, there is.

You know him?!


I brought it up earlier.

It happened last year. Akane and I were trapped somewhere. The person responsible back then was named "Zero".

JUST! Please--!

They forgot to make Akane's lips move for this line.

Carlos is not convinced.

So why is Akane so insistent? Well, now seems like a good a time as any to talk about 999 in more detail. Junpei is the protagonist in that game. He wakes up locked in a room with a bracelet bearing the number "5". He makes it out of that room and runs into eight other players, each with a different numbered bracelet. One of those players is Akane, Junpei's childhood friend. The group of nine players is forced to play something called the Nonary Game by a masked villain going by the name of Zero.

The different numbered bracelets can be combined in various ways to unlock certain doors in the area. The player, through Junpei, has to choose which doors to go through when, creating a series of branching paths through the game. Eventually, Junpei discovers that there was a previous Nonary Game nine years earlier, and that the current Nonary Game was set up as revenge by Zero against those who conducted it.

The purpose of the original game was to induce high stress and danger levels that would somehow cause the participants - all young pairs of siblings - to transmit information through something called the morphogenetic field, ideally to their sibling. Basically magically transmitting data through time and space to other receptive individuals. One of the participants became stuck on the final puzzle, and facing imminent death via an incinerator, was able to connect with Junpei nine years in the future instead. This participant subtly guided Junpei through the puzzles of his own Nonary Game. When Junpei reached the end and was able to solve the final puzzle, he was also able to transmit the solution back through the connection to save the earlier participant.

The game was originally on the Nintendo DS, and there's a neat trick here where it's revealed that the transmitting child was communicating via the bottom screen the whole time, with Junpei's perspective on the top screen. During the final puzzle, with Junpei becoming the transmitter, the DS is flipped upside-down to reveal the connection. As far as mystery reveals go, this one was one of the best I've experienced.

Anyway, the child then set up Junpei's version of the Nonary Game to make sure that everything that had been foreseen would come to pass and avoid a temporal paradox. Became Zero, in other words.

Oh, and that child? It was Akane.

Sorry if you didn't already know all of that, but I did warn you.

Anyway, Akane escapes the second Nonary Game ahead of Junpei, and flees across the desert. Junpei chases after her, but the game ends before we find out more.

Both characters have appearances in VLR, that I'll go into more later. In VLR, Junpei is thought to have never found Akane. Yet here they both are, together a year after the events of 999.

Back to the current game. Next question: What is Zero's purpose?

Why is Zero doing this?

So it's true.

Do you know something, Akane?

Junpei doesn't know anything about the future that takes place in VLR. Akane, however, was working with Sigma, and has been told about what he's trying to prevent. But more on that when we meet D-Team.

So what Sigma said back then, up in Dcom, was...

I mean, it seems like an odd way to get someone's attention.

Yes. What Sigma the truth.

What causes it is unknown.

Sure, let's talk about this, entirely new topic.

Neither the nerves nor the brain have abnormalities, but somehow this disease causes you to stop reacting to a variety of stimuli.

Hey, hold up.

Shouldn't you know already?


A crisis.

Sounds like the kind of back story we won't get until update 20 or so.

Final question: What is your relationship?

Akane Kurashiki.

Junpei Tenmyouji.


And you both lived in Japan when you were kids.

So you're childhood friends...

Carlos seems well-informed. Was he listening to me talk about 999 earlier?

He mentioned it back in Dcom.

Oh. Sigma's quite the gossip.

We all lived in close quarters in that facility for five days. Information spreads fast.


You two signed up together, right?

No, we didn't...

Wait. You're telling me...

You guys just happened to bump into each other at Dcom?

It was inevitable.

Junpei's attitude was more positive in 999. The last year has turned him bitter.

Why did you subject yourself to this circus?

I didn't mention it before? I... Well, I kind of really need a lot of cash.

Five hundred thousand? Dollars? Yeah I'd sign up for that, too. Or maybe not, given how it's turned out so far....

Huh. Color me surprised.

A really good one...

Random shot of the bar for some reason.

You've faced off against danger, and saved a whole bunch of people. Sounds like a hero to me.

It doesn't seem to matter where I find myself,

That seems like a pretty blatant reference to the kind of morphogenetic field shenanigans I just discussed.

Well, the backstory is finally over. We fade to black, and then more clang noises. And it's 13:07, not much time left to get that vote in. Remember that?

Music: Initiation (Preamble)

I think Akane's still mad about Junpei giving her shit about being Zero.

More running, and a door opens. Who's it going to be?


Where did you come from...

Good thing we already had Q-Team's explanation of there being a dog along for the ride on the Mars experiment for some reason, or this scene might be confusing.

Does that mean it's connected to the surface?!

Hm, I don't think so.

So he came from another ward then?

But Ward Q is down that direction, right?

So Gab was just hanging out in there the whole time? We already know he didn't start in Ward Q.

Here's the map with the arrow again.

Let's cut off Junpei's arm!

Tension is rising, here.


Carlos ignores the banter and tries to get Q-Team's attention.

No answer, huh.

A couple seconds of just petting the dog.


There's Akane's serious-thinking face.

Does it by chance involve a coaster?

This here, this case. It holds medication, doesn't it?

A click off-screen, and now the case is empty.

It's empty...

Did that bastard Zero take the meds?

Way to focus, Junpei.

I still think this could work. We can use it.

He needs a pen and some cheese.

Running back to the bar.

A beer coaster and a pen?

I found them on the counter of the bar.

Oh right he needs the coaster, too.

There's something written on it.

Oh, uh, I did that.

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

Oh! You're going to put it in the case and have Gab go through the vent!

Cross your fingers he can get to Q-Team...

I've got a good feeling about this plan for some reason.

So we shouldn't?

The note is magically in the case again.

And there's the same cut-away-and-back to close the case.

Same goofy dog-walking animation.

What did you throw?

Cheese. Picked it up with the coaster. It was over there on the counter.

I confirmed with the thread that dogs do indeed love cheese.

May next time he comes back he'll be a hot dog.

Ha. Ha. Ha.

Ok Carlos's silent reaction is better.

It was a joke.

Music: Mischievousness (Consternation Remix)

Another fade, and this time there's only-

Five minutes left...

Yes I was getting to that.

Gab's not come back...

Let's just vote, Carlos!

They forgot to move Carlos's lips on this animation, too. I like to think it's just him mind-shouting at Junpei to shut the fuck up.

Let's look up at the ceiling again.

Now everyone's standing!

Hey there' thing we can do...

What is it?

You remember what you wrote on the Gabletter?

The what?

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

Just in case you needed a reminder.

So what?

Aaanndd Junpei's an asshole.

Granted, the whole thing is assuming our initial plan works,

Think about it for a second.

Six people have to die or we're never getting out of this bomb shelter. Those are the rules of the Decision Game according to Zero. Balancing the votes won't do us any good. We'll just end up falsely prolonging someone's death.

I mean, he's not wrong.

Akane is said, because, well, she did this to him.

Another chime, and the female computer voice speaks again. Or maybe it's the first time, again.

The heartbeat thumps.

It's that time again.

Music: Moral Dilemma (Annihilation 3rd Mix)

Follow the plan, or go with Junpei and betray? Choose who to execute.


The first file is the original Gabletter, before Q-Team's addition.

Of course, there's also the map of Ward C. But there are also two text files now. I may or may not have missed them last time.

'Decision Game Rules (1)' posted:

The X-Door in the Lounge is your only means to escape.

The X-Door can open only once, and is accessible for 30 seconds. After that, you're out of luck.

Six X-Passes must be inputted for the X-Door to open.

Every death reveals a single X-Pass.

That means 6 people must die for the X-Door to open.

'Decision Game Rules (2)' posted:

Active times for all teams max out at 90 minutes.

Once that time expires, your bracelet injects you with memory loss and sleeping drugs.

You will fall into a deep sleep and forget everything that happened in the previous 90 minutes.