The Let's Play Archive

Zero Time Dilemma


Part 30: Pop Off

Part 30: Pop Off

Close vote but we're going to get back to Q-Team now. It's been awhile. Other than seeing them all horribly die last update.

Time for a new fragment - this time it's Q-Team in the Pod Room.

Some extra nodes but otherwise a pretty simple fragment structure.

Music: Portentousness 2nd Mix

Starting the fragment at 18:00, again, huh?

Something like that was written on the map.


Well, even if you ask me...

Does that mean you don't know...?

I won't forgive him... I won't... Mira... Mira is my angel...

This scene is another one that has a different feel if it's played first, instead of after the Study.

Eric turns, looking at something.

Sure, let's check the door.

Eric yells and takes a running start.

Open! Open!

How can I be calm?!

Mira might be stuck all alone somewhere, crying her heart out!

I am positive that is not what she's doing.

He's still ramming himself into the door this whole time.

Eric, you need to stay calm in moments like these.

Please, Eric...

I know...

Mira... The person most important to me...

When I think about how she must be suffering right now...

Music: Nostalgic Scenery

I don't want you or Mira to be hurt at all...

I don't have any memories...

I know to you and the others I look suspicious for a person you just met, but to me, how I am right now, everyone here is all I have. Because of that, I consider all of you very important to me!

I don't want to hate anyone, I want to like you!

Never really thought about it from his perspective before. The only two people he really knows are Eric and Mira. That is really sad.

They hold this pose for a few seconds, then Eric takes a few steps forward.

Hey, um, I'm...sorry about before. Yelling at you, I mean.

Like you said, we gotta stay calm, right?


Come on, let's find a way out of here quick.

Will you help me to do that?

Yeah! Of course!

Question: Was Eric always an intolerable asshole, or is that just what Mira's made of him? Guess we'll some more of what he's like without Mira around, here.

All right, let's find a way out of here.

Music: Pod Room

This room is one of the most difficult in the game. Not only is the room hard to interact with, but it has several puzzles that can be frustrating to figure out. You'll see. Let's take a look around the room first.

Dammit! ZERO! Open this door... I said OPEN IT!

It's locked, like I thought. There IS a keyhole though...

So the door's locked. What's that next to the door, though?

There's a button on the other side of the glass.

Maybe it's the fire alarm... or a self-destruct button? Ha's not, right?

How about this weird display?

Three green lines are on the screen.

What does that mean? Some kind of code?

I don't know... We don't have enough information.

Not much on this wall. There's something on the floor, though.

That one's a little vague.

There's something further down the wall.

Hey, there's a hole here. Stick your hand in, okay?

What, and try to get the gear? I don't really think my arm's long enough...

Aw come on, your hand's small. Just do it. Maybe you can reach it.

O-Okay, if you say so... Urg...urrrrrgh! My arm's stuck!

Ugh, no good, huh... And what are you doing... You're a total klutz. There's no way you could've reached it anyway. I was just joking, get it?

You're so mean! You were the one who told me to do it! Arg, just help me get my arm out!

Guess the new positive-attitude Eric lasted for all of three minutes.

We can't get at it like this... Damn.

This setup looks like one of those puzzles that you rotate around to move the gear. But it's stuck in the wall, instead.

Well the note we got had a red circle in it, so let's look at the red circle on the floor. There's a matching one on the ceiling, too.

Red circle... Oh wait, that paper we just found has a red circle on it, too.

What about it? It's just a coincidence.

I don't think so. It has to mean something...

There is a another pair of circles on the other side.

Hey, how long are you going to stare at that? We don't have time for this!

No, hold on... The word "strike" was written in the middle of the circle, right? Doesn't that seem like it's saying we have to hit the red circle?

Hit the... Oh, I see now.

Let's go look at the other end of the room.

Clicking zooms in, but we can't move the camera around in this mode. What's that weird picture on the right?

It's making my neck hurt. Maybe Zero's got a hobby? Can't say I get his sense of art.

Two grownups and two babies... Are they parents? Maybe it's just a decoration.

This just screams suspicious. It's not a "touch and you die" trap, is it?

Whaaat? I already touched it! ...At least it doesn't look like anything happened.

Just what is this thing...? Does it mean something?

Some kind of weird number puzzle thing. We're more interested in the case just to the left of it, though.

Another zoom-in.

Hey, it's a hammer! We could break down the door with this...

No, I don't think so... But it's probably useful for something else.

The case is locked at the top and bottom. Clicking on one of the locks, brings up...

Hmm... I see. I think you should do this one.

Huh? Why?

Uh, we'll divide up the roles. This is too easy for me, so I'll take care of what comes later.

...If you say so. Okay, I'll try it.

As far as sliding block puzzles go, this one is barely even worth showing. Move the two pieces on the left into their respective niches, and then the big block can slide down. I don't even have to speed it up:

Woo hoo! It's open!

Ah, yeah...I guess...

I guess I'll leave it to you then. I'd do it myself, but since I'm nice, I'll let you try.

Uh... isn't it just that you don't want to do it...

There's another one on the top.

It's somehow even easier than the last one. Slide the top piece to the right, and then slide the bottom piece up. I won't even bother to show it.

Oh, you got it? I could've done it faster.

Yay! The cover can open now!

Yeah! Let's get that hammer!

Click on the unlocked case to open it and grab the hammer.

Now I can smash things with this!

It'd be great if it could break down the door...

Well, let's try it then.

Big empty wall here, too.

W-Wait, Eric! If you break it, we might get stuck in here forever!

You're right... Damn! I need to find Mira, fast!

It's like he's going through withdrawal or something.

Well if we can't smash the door, how about the glass case next to it?

What if we try breaking this glass with the hammer?

Doesn't hurt to try. Just make sure you don't break the button.

I know, I know. Okay, here I go...!

There's a thud sound.

O-Ow, that hurts... My hands have gone numb...

And the glass... Nope, not even a crack.

Am I not strong enough, or is this hammer bad... DAMN!

Anyway, that's the whole room. All we have is a hammer and these red circles are starting to look a lot like nails.

IF we hit this spot with the hammer, maybe...

Oh man, that was scary... Looks like hitting the red marks rotates the room.

But what's the point of all this?

Well then. All I see are more targets.

How would I know? I only hit it because the note said so. I'm just the one in charge of all the hitting!

The entire room becomes a puzzle here. It can be a pain to figure out but if you keep banging on the red circles enough, you'll get there.

With the floor piece sticking out, let's slam this part of the room back down.


Now the first part of the room is back, but the second segment is tilted. Can we keep going?


Huh? Nothing's happening. How about we try the other marks.

Yeah, we have to knock out this other floor segment first.

Here I go!

Hey, is this really okay? What if we're not supposed to hit some of the red circles...

Wh-What?! Don't say that after I started hitting them!

You flailed the hammer around before I could say anything. It's fine. Let's just keep going.

The screen shakes a bit each time and then a piece of the room moves, but there's no other animation, since we're in puzzle room mode.

Hitting the left floor circle just moves the first room segment. So I change my mind and go move it from the other side instead. Eric has a random exclamation each time.

That direction moved two room segments. Let's keep going.

Can't see the floor circle anymore, but that's why there are more on the ceiling. Is there something in a case back behind the second room segment?

A couple more rotations, and the third room segment starts moving, too. We can almost reach that case now.

Now the case is accessible, and there also seems to be something underneath the big number puzzle in the back.

The puzzle on the side of the wall has rotated halfway around, and is now upside down. The gear has moved accordingly. If we flipped the room back over, we could probably get it out.

Eric thinks everything is a nail now.

Whoa whoa whoa! Wait, stop! It's reinforced glass. Let's find a way to get it out that's not so...physical.

My hands have really gone numb...

The part's in a different spot... Hey, I think we can reach it now.

Not me.

Guh, fine, I'll do it... Nnnnnng! Damn, just a bit more...

What are you saying? You weren't even close. And you were taking it seriously...

What?! What, no, I'm just kidding around... It was a joke.

This case looks a lot like the one that held the hammer.

Gah! It's impossible... Damn, what's the glass made of anyway?

Looks like a couple more puzzles here. What else do we have here?

They're on the monitor too, right? Maybe it means something.

I don't know... It could just be a pattern on the wall.

Okay, now let's look at the other case under the number puzzle.

I guess that won't work. Ow, my hand's gone numb again...

Let's take the hammer out of Eric's hands for a little while.

There's a serrated hole and piece of paper here. What's the hole for?

We need to remove the cover to study it. Let's take care of the locks on both sides.

This is the left lock. Okay, let's get this open.

I'll work on some cool lines to say when Mira and I are reunited...

I-I see... Okay, you work on that. I'll concentrate on this over here.

Yay, more sliding block puzzles.

Mildly more complicated with a circular piece, but still just three pieces. Here's the solution at double speed:

Pretty quick even with messing up once.

Yay, it's open! The left lock is done!


Eric...? Are you ignoring me? ..Fine, I'll do it.

Four pieces this time, but again not at all difficult.

Yes! The right side is done!

With the locks both undone, let's open the case.

Yeah! The cover opened!

Great! Now we can examine that serrated hole.

And this picture is... Is that a Zero doll...?

This clue makes more sense if you read it as "Become Zero" instead. Like, the number zero.

I think something can go in here. Is there anything like this shape?

I think I saw something somewhere...

Me, too, but it's still trapped in the wall for now. The hints get more explicit the second time:

Hey Eric, doesn't this look like a hole for a screw?

A screw? I doubt there's a screwdriver big enough to... Wait, or was there...?

Oh, that could maybe just fit!

We need to get the big thing out of the other case, first, anyway.

A tool for something? It's really big, so it could be for construction?

I see. Might be useful then. Let's get these two locks off.

Okay, let's try the bottom lock first.

This is like that game...what was it? The one where you get the car out of the parking lot.

Oh, I know that game, too! ...Why do I know that?

Maybe you played it somewhere before? Whatever, let's just get this off.

Where... Hmm...I can't remember...

Well, this one's a bit more complicated. The goal here is to get those two small vertical blocks on the same side, so that the horizontal blocks can stack up on the other side. Here's the solution at double speed again:

Yes! It's unlocked! I knew you could do it.

You're so unreliable, Eric...

Again, we have to clear out the middle. We want to get the two L-shaped blocks on the bottom, underneath the vertical blocks. Double-speed solution:

I flailed around a bit in the middle there but got it eventually. What's interesting is that the solution isn't unique - I didn't get the L-shaped block on the right to the bottom, but it worked anyway.

Yay! It's open! He he, that was easy!

I got both locks open! Now we can open the cover.

All right! Let's get that driver thingie!

Okay, let's get the case open then.

It's a large driver...? What can we use this for?

The tip is pointed. We can't use it unless we attach something to it.

I tried attaching the hammer for kicks but nothing happened. Oh well.

As you might've guessed, we have to keep rotating the room around until this gear puzzle is back on the other side.

Six or even more clicks managed it.

The gear thing is now resting by the door for easy access.

Finally! We can reach it! Ha ha! I knew I was just the man for the job!

I...feel tired suddenly.


Let's combine it with the driver thing.

Activate! Form of...large driver!

...Such a kid. What? I wasn't thinking of doing it...

All right, let's stick this weird thing in the weird hole, then.

Oh, I think the driver can fit in this hole. Could you help me, Eric?

Aha, there it goes... A perfect fit! Good job. How let's see if we can move it.

Here's where the "Become Me" clue comes in. We want to get the center number to zero. We can rotate each circle to get a new number into the bracketed position at the top. If a red number enters the bracket, it gets added to the center number. If a blue number enters the bracket, it gets subtracted from the center number. Here's the first ring at double speed:

You can kind of get there by just messing around on the first ring. Once we get to zero, the ring closes off and we start over with the next ring. Again at double speed:

Really the key is to get the center number to a multiple of the difference between two adjacent numbers, so you can just go back and forth and work the total down to zero. Here's the outer ring, again at double speed:

Sometimes you can just stumble on the solution by accident.

Yay! It worked! And now...

Something comes out of the floor. It looks like it has the same kind of "screw hole" as the last puzzle, so let's try the same solution!

The monitor with the three green lines way back at the beginning is the hint here. We want to get the three green lines from each room segment to line up. Here's me messing around with it at quadruple speed:

I'm sure there's some logic to this based on which direction you rotate and where the offset floor segments hit the other room segments, but I really just messed around until I got it.

The green lines on the floor all match up!

Oh! It must be because we matched everything.

H-Hey...look over there! That... Don't tell me that's...!

I've got a bad feeling about this...


Get this case open at all cost! Unlock the locks on each side! You got it?!

The portrait over here is right-side up now. Can't really make much out on it still, though.


...Eric? What is it? Is there something about this painting?

Ah, no, it's nothing...

But you're acting a little weird right now. You're...smiling...

What? I said it's nothing, okay? Didn't you hear me, you stupid brat?

S-Sorry! I really am sorry, so please don't make that face!

We don't really know much about Eric yet, other than that he worked at an ice cream shop and has followed Mira around like a lost puppy ever since he met her. Maybe we'll find out more here?

Also, there was a secret door behind a portrait in the Pod Room, that we saw in the "Q-Team Executed" update last time. But we can't get at it here.

All right, back to the shotgun. Left lock first...

Ugh... This puzzle's pretty hard.

I'm sure you can do it! It's easy for you, right? Open it and let's get the shotgun!

Easy, you say... Ugh, fine, I'll do it.

This puzzle is a fair bit harder than the others. Nine pieces and lots of different and unusual shapes. The goal here is to get the three blocks with multiple corners together in one set on the bottom. I used a guide to help with this one because even at quadruple speed it would've been way too long for an animation otherwise:

Yes! It worked!

All right, good job! I knew you could do it!

Calm down, Eric. These kinds of puzzles get harder the more tense you are.

I know. Of course I know that... I am calm. Really. I've done it so many times already...

YOU did? ...I did all the puzzles.

Not quite as hard as the last one, despite there being ten pieces this time, because the shapes are a bit more friendly. This time we want to get the two big rectangular blocks on the same side (top or bottom). I used a guide to help again, but here's the solution at quadruple speed:

Yay! I did it!

Ha ha. HA HA HA! Well done! Now I'm closer to getting the gun!

The case automatically opens here.

Heh heh heh... Now... Now the shotgun is mine!

We have to actually click on the shotgun to get it, though.

Ahh, Eric! I know you're happy, but don't swing it around like that!

You look like the person who dies first in a zombie movie...

Don't say things like that!

For some reason breaking the glass around this button seems like a nice, safe idea...

Huh?! Wait-- Aaaaah!

Th-That was scary... You didn't even think about the ricochet...

The only things I can trust right now are myself and this big gun.

Well, nothing left to do but press the button...

I'm just glad the button is safe... So now what? Are we going to push it?

Who knows what it does, but we can't stand around doing nothing, right? I have to find Mira. She could be in a whole lot more trouble than us.

Well, those are the pods, I suppose.

Th-This is...



Mira... Mira...

A slow pan from Mira's feet to hear head while Eric sobs, then falls to his knees. What are those marks on her neck?

More sobbing from Eric for several seconds here.

Wh-What... this?

There was something in Mira's mouth?

An...electronic key?

No words from Eric yet.

There are...marks on her neck...

Mira must've been...strangled...

Uh-oh, here come the crazy eyes. Also, flashback time!

[Unknown Child:] It...hurts...

[Young Eric:] Stop it, Daddy! If you keep going, Chris'll... He'll...

[Unknown Man:] Shut up!

There's the sound of multiple blows being thrown here. Punches or something similar.

Young Eric is grunting and panting, then crying. There's a splash.

[Young Eric:] Chris...

Here comes trouble.

Uh-oh. Wait a minute...

Hey...Eric. Look...

Music: Anxiousness 2nd Mix

Yup, that's Junpei's head in the freezer again. But this fragment started at 18:00, and Q-Team was going through the Study at that time, in the same timeline as the Pantry. Weren't they?


Uhh, I think we've seen this before, too. Here's the rest of the scene at 4x speed:

And Akane's down for the count again. Wait, hold on. When we were in the Study, we saw the "Carlos's Decision" scene, where Carlos killed himself. Now, instead, we're in the Pod Room, and watching the "Carlos's Sin" scene, where Carlos kills Akane? How?

We've seen the rest of this scene. Carlos straightens, drops the axe, and backs away.

Q-Team can't hear any voices here, we just get the video on the screen.


Carlos just killed Akane...

Then he must've killed Junpei too...

Seems like a good time for computer lady to chime in.

Here's the cover shot for the fragment. Did you recognize Mira's body in the corner, way back at the beginning of this update?

[Computer Lady:] That is all.

We've seen some of these before, but we know a little more about them this time. JUNE is for Akane, and was her nickname when she was playing the second Nonary Game with Junpei. JUMP refers to Junpei's nickname in that game, Jumpy. VIRGIN is for Mira - the only body part she was ever interested in was "hearts", I suppose. BLUE is for Diana for the bluebird pendant she carries. RED is for Phi for her natural hair color, which we saw a couple updates ago. And MILK is for Sigma, whose last name is Klim, or "milk" backwards (it's a VLR reference).

Six... Six people are dead...

Unlike in the Study fragment, Mira starts off this one already dead, so we get straight to six X-Passes as soon as we're done with the room.

the rest will gain all of the passwords, and will be able to open the X-Door.

Flashback to Zero explaining the rules of the game, back in the Execution fragment.

Yes... We can...get out...

Carlos is probably weak from loss of blood, I bet we can beat him to the door. Wait, did you just express a positive attitude about Mira's death?

What was that...?

And you...!

Not sure how that would be possible, but okay, let's talk about this scenario. Could he really have overpowered and strangled Mira on his own?


The reason D-Team died is probably because of the vote at 13:30.

You and Carlos knew that'd happen, and then Carlos took care of Junpei and Akane while you killed Mira here.

I know Eric's not really in the mood to listen, but you're going to need a bit stronger defense than that. Like, how you've never seen Carlos and had no way of "teaming up" with him.

That brings the number dead to six.

Music: Strain 2nd Mix

Eric got shocked out if it earlier by the Pantry scene, but he's gone full crazy eyes again.

W-Wai..t... It...hurts...

You killed Mira! You killed her! You killed her!



Congratulations Eric, you just lost the small amount of sympathy you gained for your sad flashback.

A white flash and a bang, and somehow Eric is thrown back against the wall.

Maybe the helmet zapped him? Come to think of it, the same thing happened when Q-Team was executed.

Quick, let's escape! Forget about the fact that Eric still has a shotgun...

Just slide in that electronic key...

And voila! The door is unlocked. There's a click and everything.

Run for the X-Door!

The passwords... The X-Passes are--

Hey. What're you doing?

Uh-oh, outta time!

The screen flashes white, as the shotgun is fired.

Huh? What happened?

Oh, that's no good. No one's getting out of this ward, now.


Music: Trepidation 2nd Mix

The shotgun is cocked.

The expended shell is ejected.

W-Wait, Eric!

I could never do some--!

That's all I'm giving you.

Do we even know the truth at this point?

I mean, we can guess that Zero did it somehow, but is that enough?

Now, tell me. Who killed Mira...?

Music: Moral Dilemma (Annihilation 3rd Mix)

Uhhhh, more text entry. And there's a timer! I'll do this one a little differently. We can either come up with an answer, or let the timer run out. If you want to answer, give your best guess in the thread and I'll try it out! Who killed Mira?

Here's the status screen. Just us and Carlos left. At least for now. We're still not seeing a portrait for Q, though.