The Let's Play Archive

Zero Time Dilemma


Part 67: The Stranded Pair

Part 67: The Stranded Pair

Apparently the voters realize something's up with the rest of the Transporter Room fragment, otherwise I can't imagine why we'd start there instead of seeing where the copies of Sigma and Diana ended up. I put up a video for this update, since the screenshots and text don't really do the music and voice-acting justice here.

As you can probably tell from the three nodes below, we have a lot of scenes ahead of us here.

Music: CQD Ward BGM 2

We've just completed the transport process.

All is quiet in the room now.

The lids open on the input pods.

Diana and Sigma both get out of the pods here.

They look around, apparently confused.

What in the world is going on...

We went into the input pods, and now we came right back out of the same ones.

But not the export pods...

Let me think about this for a minute, okay?

This pair doesn't have Phi around to point out the obvious to them.

Thinking is apparently to be done elsewhere.

Well they didn't actually walk very far away, did they?

Yeah yeah... I get it now...

The transporter isn't one that simply teleports various objects...

I remember one time with my grandma years ago. The first time she sent me a fax, she said, "The paper came back, Sigma. Maybe it didn't go through successfully."

Just like how the fax doesn't send the actual paper, we too...

Sigma nods.

But there's one thing I don't get.

Why is this "me"...the one that stays...

If our data did end up transferring correctly, it wouldn't have been a surprise to see we were in the transfer point world. So why are we

More importantly, we are we watching them be still here?

Sorry, I know how strange this sounds...

Diana shakes her head.

It's clearly an esoteric conundrum. Even after thinking extensively on it, I'm not sure I'd figure it out.

We've run out of cards in our deck.

And we fade to black. There is a lock after this scene, but we blew right by it. Opening the lock requires seeing Phi burn in the incinerator in the Trash Disposal Room, seeing Akane get the mask in Control and escape, and seeing Q-Team find the Yellow Door in the Pod Room. Easy to hit if you're doing this fragment early, because that last scene also requires all of the unlocks needed to get C-Team into the Power Room.

Anyway, the next scene is called "The Despair of Two," and you'll see why soon enough.

Music: Solitary Snail

Sigma. It's after 02:30.

There's no more reason to make us sleep.

Akane will come back...right?

If she doesn't, then we'll be stuck here...

You know, I guess Gab is stuck here with them. That's even more of a downer.

Um, Sigma... Do you want to try again?

Try what...?

We did everything we could, but it's still as dead as a doornail.

So, what should we do for now...?

I checked out the counter at the bar. Seems like we're good on food for a while.

That long?

My calculations are based on half a can a day.

Of course. There's no way I could abandon him.

No, but Akane could, apparently.

We'll figure things out when we wake up.

You know, have we seen anything resembling a dormitory or a bedroom in here? Where was anyone expected to sleep in this shelter? Closest thing is maybe the Pod Room or the Healing Room?

Music: Glacial Solitude

As we've seen, there's more than one way out of this shelter than the X-Door.

What is it...?

Does something seem different about this now?

Like what?

Zero's one step ahead of us on this one, though, and has disarmed the bomb that was used to escape in the ending leading to VLR.


Just do it.

We cut away and return to find Diana in the incinerator.

I knew you'd be in here.

But when I'm here, I feel like there's a chance I could remember...

Missing Lip Animations: 53

For some reason, I can see her face when I come here.

Hey, that's Phi's brooch! Why do you have it...

I don't know... It was in my pocket for some reason...

Phi's safe, right...?

I truly wish that's true...

A white flash as something bangs against the door.

Looks like Diana threw the TV at it?

I know you're hiding somewhere just watching us!

Just regular water from the Locker Room. Definitely not acid.

How long is someone supposed to hold out under these circumstances? Locked in with a long timer before starving to death, with no hope of escape or rescue?

Fade to black, and later we're elsewhere...

Music: Nostalgic Scenery

I wonder how long it's been now...

It's so peaceful...

I guess it's a good thing D-Team got the ward with the Healing Room?


Does that sound weird?

There's no war here. No violent murders, no rapes, no innocent children being abducted.

Not anymore, anyway.

That's why it's peaceful.

Look at all this amazing food I ate at this gorgeous restaurant... I got tired of seeing it...


Do you know Maeterlinck's "The Blue Bird"? This is a music box using it as a motif.

Sigma's look is all, "I may have heard of that somewhere."

So, what about it is the same?

They travelled all across the world in search of it... This feels similar...

In this shelter?


In the original work, the blue bird escapes the cage and flies away.

"Happiness will slip through your fingers the moment you believe you have it." It's implying that the process of dreaming is true happiness.


You won't disappear, will you...?

I wonder if that face is Sigma trying to SHIFT out of here.


Another fade to black to transition to another scene.


I don't know if you've been paying attention to the background music links that I keep putting in, but they do a really good job of setting the mood for the scene. You can kind of anticipate what's coming sometimes just by which track starts playing.

Not gonna eat it?

Diana knocks the can away and it falls to the ground.

Hey! What are you doing?!

Diana stands up and balls up her fists.


What in the world is Akane doing?!

I guess today was the day that Diana finally gave up on Akane.

I'm sure she still had the bracelet on when she left here... If so, then there's a chance that Zero injected her again so she'd for--

Akane... Akane betrayed us...

She murdered Carlos and Junpei, and abandoned us, just to escape on her own. Maybe Carlos voted for Q-Team because she manipualted him into doing it...

Half a month ago, you were happy, saying it was peaceful--

Key words there are "half a month ago", Sigma.

Not a single thing! That's why I'm annoyed!

Yesterday, today, it's all the same! The same scenery! The same can! I feel like I'm losing my mind!

Time for some Diana backstory, finally. I think she's the last one that we've heard almost nothing about.

She was the head nurse... She was the one to suggest I join this experiment.

You had another reason for signing up for the experiment, didn't you?

That's a great sharp "how did you know that" look from Diana here.

But why do you know that...?

When you were married, your husband often resorted to beating you. He was an alcoholic, and recently unemployed.

When the two of you dated, he came across as serious and kind. But no longer.

and would laugh while he kicked and punched you. For no reason. That was his true face.

Of course you left him.

But even after the divorce, he persisted in following you around.

You were having lunch with a coworker of yours. He showed up out of the blue, screaming his head off, and flipped the table.

Every time he went off on you, he'd always end with, "I love you. I love you so much, Diana..." and weep.

His pain called out to you, and you'd always find yourself caving in. In order to cut all contact with him, you figured the only way it'd work would be to seclude yourself.

I wonder if Sigma realizes that his "I know things about you because I'm from the future" act is even creepier in the context of this conversation.

"I heard about a job at an experiment facility called Dcom." So you--

Why do you know...

A slap, that we don't get to see, and the music stops.

Diana's open hand curls into a fist, here.

Slow fade to black for the next scene.

Music: Aftermath (Decontamination Room)

We know some of Diana's history now. And now she's trapped in the shelter with someone who knows way too much about her, somehow.

Diana's voice is slurred and...dark, somehow.

You're the super weird one here!

Serious alcoholic considerations aside, shouldn't all this liquor be part of their calorie rationing? Could be watered down as much as needed, right?

How can you be so calm about all of this?!

I have some experience with this kind of thing.

Give it back!

Diana swings her arms wildly while Sigma easily holds the bottle away from her.

Diana lunges at Sigma, and there's the sound of glass breaking...

Hey, look what you did!

He's looking, all right...

Hey, stop!

The camera bounces a couple times as there are a few collisions.

Diana cackles wildly.

Like I'd actually lick that?

Hey... Sleep with me?

Come on! Hurry!

That's pretty close to the same look that Sigma had when he learned that Phi was dead.

You don't have the balls. Coward.

Then how about...

There's a sound here. I assume it's movement-related since we're staring at the ceiling again.

Guess it was Diana standing up?

Please...kill me.

What are you saying...

Flash to white again, as there's another slap. The music stops again as well.

Just cut it out!

Diana runs away.

Wait! Where are you going?!

The screen fades to black and stays here for almost ten seconds this time.

Music: Blue Bird Lamentation 2nd Mix

She sinks to her knees, sobbing.

A cut away as Sigma walks towards Diana.

I'm sorry... It's all my fault. Forgive me, Diana...

I could see how you felt. I knew you were crying out for help. But not once did I offer a hand. I couldn't.

You said the shelter was peaceful. That happiness could be found here. I knew you were putting on a brave face. In reality, the one who believed what you said...was me.

It's just like you said. I'm not brave. I'm a coward and a wimp. Deep down inside, I was scared of change. I didn't want to lose you... Like that time... Like that blue bird...

I... I--

Quick fade to black to cover for another transition.

I hope there's a way to clean that input pod.

A whirring sound as the cover slides closed.

The music is perfectly timed for this scene, by the way. I assume it was written for this scene in particular, and re-used elsewhere. It hits the crescendo right during Sigma's speech, then fades back to music box tones here as we fade to black.

Music: Nostalgic Scenery

I have a dream.

You want to go to the moon, right?

Even your name, Diana, comes from the goddess of the moon.

Why you know so much about me..

So I know almost everything about you.


I'm talking about the future.

It's a different one...

If you continue on the path, you'll only reach the end of the right toes. You'll never go to the left ones.


You believe me?

I think it rather makes the dream better...

No music yet.

I...need to tell you something. Sigma...

No more words, just another fade transition.

It's now been ten and a half months since we used the Transporter. Food supply must be out, or close to it. And something else is happening...

Music: Reminiscence

A baby is crying.

You did amazing, Diana! It's a healthy boy!

W-Wait, hold on, something... I think...I think there's another...

Fade to black again, and now we're back in the Lounge.

Cute... They're so cute...


Who'd have thought you'd have fraternal twins. You didn't realize?

Well, I did have a hunch. But I couldn't be sure...

Given that they were both on starvation diets, it's a bit of a stretch to think that she could grow and birth twins naturally like that without any complications, but let's ignore that for now.

Thank you.

I mean, they've been wearing the same outfits every day for the last 10+ months, and right after giving birth Diana's back in that shirt and sweater combo. There's lots you can pick at here, if you really wanted to.

Sigma's still heavily-muscled because a new character model just wouldn't make sense, but his eyes do seem a bit shadowed.

You gave me your food. As soon as you knew I was pregnant...

You know how people claim "unconditional love"? I hated that phrase. I thought it was a lie. I thought, there's no way something like that exists.

I'm a selfish bastard. Every time I help someone, in the back of my mind I'm expecting recompense. Whether it be gratitude, praise, or for a higher power to approve of me.

But now I know. There really is such a thing as unconditional love in this world.

There's no doubt in my mind that I'd give my life for them. Not for gratitude, or praise. I don't believe in God, so it's not for God either.

I need nothing in return. I don't care if I fade away. I just want them to be safe...

And to survive... That's all I ask.

Diana nods here for some reason.

They stand up.

Gab, listen to me. You know that biscuit I just gave you?

There's nothing else left.

Thanks for everything. We've gone through so much pain. You always listened to me when I vented to you. You've saved me many times... So thank you.

Follow me.

Music: Confession 2nd Mix

The transporter's turned on.

I came by earlier and noticed it. It appears to be completely charged.

I'm transporting these two.


Don't worry. Transporting them doesn't mean they'll disappear. Their original bodies stay behind after they're scanned.

If we simply do nothing...

You understand...?

Another nod.

I'm sure you remember, but it'll take another 10 months to recharge.

So you're saying this would be the last time we can use it, then?

Sigma nods.

Which means we can't stay with them...

I know.

Flashback to Zero's original explanation:

Two or more people cannot go into a single pod.

I bet Sigma's original plan was to send Diana with the child. And now they can't do that, since there are two children.

Where do we send them?

Not the future, it's too dangerous.

Who knows when the next time is that the transporter is not stowed away in this death trap, after all.

Then the past...?

There's no point to send them to the near future. Sometime before Zero obtains this device-- They'll have to go before the year 2009...

I think Sigma was supposed to say "near past" there instead.

Footsteps, then a sound of motion.

Did you think of a name?

Remember? We promised, I'd name him if it was a boy, and you would if it was a girl.

So I thought, why don't I name our son "Δ"...

And then to connect that "D" to a Greek letter...

Delta...? I like it.

I want to use the one that means the most to me...

Is it...

I'd like to name our daughter after her...

Phi... I think it's perfect. It's a wonderful name.

Oh, hold on just a minute.

It wouldn't be right if someone changed them, would it?

Sounds of the marker writing...


Phi's brooch.

You're sending it with her...?


The blue bird music box...

Are you ready...?

Another silent nod from Diana.

I was pretty emotional during this scene when I first watched it years ago. Between being a parent now, and knowing the wider context of hit me even harder this time.

Some version of these babies are being sent off alone, to who knows where, as their only chance to survive.

Just try not to think too much about the versions that are left behind...

Anyway, same sound effects as before.

And they're off.

Music: Interminable Dilemma (Credits)

And with that, we've finally reached another ending.

D-END:2, or the Twins End.

That's the last of this fragment, as well.

Still two more "side endings" to find before we reach the final one.

We still have to see what becomes of the Diana and Sigma that get transported before we're allowed back into the rest of the game. This update has gone on long enough, though, so that'll be next time.

I'll leave off with the full name of the final scenes. We went from "The Stranded Pair", to "The Despair of Two", to "The Hope of Two".