The Let's Play Archive

Zero Time Dilemma


Part 82: Final Decision

Part 82: Final Decision

Looks like the gang's all back together for the finale.

I'm sure everything will make sense soon.

A couple of grunts, and a TV is tossed at the wall.

We know what happens next.

Still a neat effect, though.

Music: Transient Tranquility

I knew it...

Here's our first look at the true map of the shelter.

Looks like the memories we regained are true after all.

The three wards were all in the same place... Then...

Queue lots of running.

Really, lots of it.

We still cut to the ceiling while the characters arrange themselves.


Akane, Junpei...

And Mira and Eric...

And you're...Sean, right?

Sean nods. I suppose here is where I'm supposed to act all shocked by everyone showing up somehow. Shouldn't C-Team and Q-Team still be asleep? In fact, we supposedly saw them get knocked out at the end of each of their own Force Quit fragments...

Carlos, what happened...

Proof of friendship.

Junpei chuckles.

downloaded all of them.


Junpei, Akane, and Phi weren't actually around for the major reveals about the combined wards, the staggered schedule, and Delta. Are they accessing other people's memories, not just their own?

Then you're like us...

But why...

Eric and I are different.

Yeah. We didn't gain memories from other histories...

No, we're the same as Carlos and the others.

Um, maybe I'll start from the beginning?

First, so I could run the program in the Force Quit Box, I accessed the central control computer.

Then I briefly turned off the communication network. That way I stopped the surveillance cameras from sending any data to Zero. I didn't want Zero to catch on to what we were doing.

So the cameras going out weren't an unintentional side effect, but a planned move.

Before the injection, we each slipped one between our wrist and bracelet.]

How did they get to the Transporter Room? The camouflage in the Lounge was still intact up until a few minutes ago. I guess Sean could've forced it to change to Ward D's configuration via the computer or something?

As further proof, at the end of Q-Team's Force Quit fragment, you can see that they're each hiding their left wrists:

I'm not sure why they had to hide it; maybe the card from the Transporter Room would've been visible?

But what about you, Sean...

Being injected does nothing to me.


Then my memories from the previous ninety minutes were deleted. I didn't want that to happen so,

You remember me saying I accessed the computer? Well, I hacked my own system too.

If his memories were deleted at the end of each fragment, did he morphogenetically recover them from the recycle bin or something? Or somehow access them before they were deleted in the other timelines? My head hurts.

Well, I guess that explains Q-Team.

Yeah, let's see how they explain Carlos's psychotic break.


I was only pretending to do it!

It was rather convincing to me the first time around. I was totally confused as to why the superhero of the game had suddenly turned all dark.

Carlos used that moment to whisper in my ear...

He said to go to the Transporter Room and grab the cards in there...

During this shot in C-Team's Force Quit fragment, there's a suspicious gap in dialogue and other noises from these two during it. That's the only real hint that something's going on there.

Also, how did Akane make it over to the Transporter Room? She would've still thought the wards were separate at the time. Did Carlos just tell her to go force open a door that looked like a wall or something?

So Junpei and I stayed behind to get Zero's undivided attention.

Junpei sighs in disgust.

We met Akane in the Lounge.

We hid from the cameras and each got a card from her.

This scene was a little more obvious about something funny going on. Honestly I like the idea that, now that the player knows that the "camera" is Zero's viewpoint, the game can have the characters actively hide information from the player by hiding it from Zero. But the whole "we magically got into the Transporter Room somehow" part ruins it for me. Anyway, you can also see that C-Team was hiding their bracelets at the end of their Force Quit fragment:

Also, were C-Team and Q-Team just playing possum while the dark-Sean copies put them all into the pods? And they just let themselves out and wandered back into the Lounge at the right time? This whole plot doesn't really hang together.

Everyone knows what all happened in the other histories, right?

These two nod.

Even you, Mira and Eric?

Why what...?

Suddenly, the sound of the shotgun being cocked.

You want to know?

Music: Divulgation 2nd Mix

No one wondered where he was the whole time? Especially when they all stopped hiding and ran out into the Lounge?

Anyway Mr. Pasty-Face is back.


Or maybe it's actually Zero...

You are free to call me by my given name. Which is Delta.

Diana makes a rather disgusted sound. No one can disappoint like one's children, I suppose.

There's no need to look so threatening.

Not sure the other teams ever actually learned that fact before now.

It doesn't matter. I shall answer your question.

Carlos, Akane, Junpei...

Diana, Phi, and Sigma...

I'm not sure we've ever seen Diana SHIFT, actually, but makes sense.

Did you arrive at this history by following a normal flow of time?

No, we mostly followed along on Carlos's wild SHIFTing adventure.

No, of course you didn't.

You jumped in from another history using your SHIFT abilities...

You have been SHIFTing back and forth many, many times.

From one point in spacetime to another.

You boldly took chances... Much like jumping from one tree branch to another...

I believe the implication here is that the characters' consciousnesses actually follow the same path that the player takes through the game. Each time we're starting a new fragment, we're actually SHIFTing from where we left off. At least, the team leader is - not every team member is alive in every fragment, after all. That's the real meaning of the highlighted character for each team on the Team Select screen - that's whose consciousness we're following.

Perhaps as a result of the medicine. Or as one of the side effects of SHIFTing. Regardless, your memories have been kept firmly intact.

Thus Akane's reference to "downloading" their memories from the other timelines. Though all Akane should have remembered of most of her journey is getting an axe to the neck and stumbling out of the shelter and into the VLR timeline.

It is simply that the six of you regained the memories of those times. One small trigger, and the levee preventing you from remembering collapsed.

I don't know if it's an effect of this run being my second playthrough, but I feel like Delta's over-explaining everything here really weakens what are ostensibly the final moments of the game.

Sean is a similar case. However, his thought center is located within the Quantum Computer, so I suppose it's slightly different from you...

Surprise! Delta isn't actually a SHIFTer. He's set this all up with some basic decision-tree logic. Much like the automated setup of the AI running the game in VLR.

Welcome to the final twist of the game. Though it was hinted at pretty heavily in the Mask End.

Fade to black for the next scene...

Music: Anxiousness 2nd Mix

Step away from that device, Phi.

Yeah, as some of you guessed, all that trickery in the Force Quit fragments was pointless. Could've just grabbed the cards and flipped off the camera while using them, for all Delta cared.

More specifically, the world branching that occurs as a result...

That SHIFTers exist...

By reading the minds of those who can access the morphogenetic field, Delta has become something of an oracle. So his claim in the Biolab of predicting the future wasn't entirely false.

When a person does something significant, it's difficult to boil the reason down to one word. Their motives are often very complex.

Ah, yes, complex motives...

To fulfill several objectives, it was necessary to trap all of you in here.

It is so you give birth to Phi and myself, Diana.

Music: Blue Bird Lamentation 2nd Mix

Phi is...

Wait, their children...?!

November 16, 2029 - Phi and I were born in this shelter.

This was another history, of course.

Delta goes back via transporter and ends up in every timeline. Carlos goes back via transporter and only shows up in the VLR timeline. Is there an extra Carlos just hanging out with Maria in the other timelines or something?

Phi also went back via transporter and is hanging out in all the timelines.

Shortly after, the atomic data that makes up our bodies was transported to April 1904.

The transporter was located in a German research facility at that time. Our bodies reconstructed and regenerated in the export pods at that facility.

He doesn't look a day over 110 if you ask me.

A German researcher sent her to 2008. Records indicate that she was part of an experiment.

and then forward again to 2008...

It's implied that this old couple is really the Phi from 1904 and her partner. Some people think that the other person is actually Delta, which is ridiculous - clearly Phi would have recognized him in Dcom if that were so?

A handful of hints / foreshadowing on this topic:

Anyway, Delta nods at Phi's statement.

We've gone off topic.

And when I say that, I am including all of the other histories.

If I hadn't trapped the group of you here, then Phi and I would've never been born in our current forms.

Sean, you should already know. About epigenetics...

Music: Clarification 2nd Mix

which switches are activated within genetic code. Reproductive cells are the same.

What do you mean...?

he caused an epigenetic change within their reproductive cells.

I think that's why their children were born with unique powers...

Delta's Mind Hack might be unique, but isn't Phi just a SHIFTer like most of the rest of the room?

This is the reason I have my mind hacking abilities.

Phi was affected as well. You were born a SHIFTer...

[When a curious hate oozes calamity.]

And rearranging the letters gives you?

Not exactly the same impact as C-Team's anagram's direct reveal of the tenth player, but whatever.

Would materialize exactly the way we are.

Okay, so I get why you had to have Diana and Sigma go through life or death decisions.

But the rest of us had nothing to do with--

Delta nods, again.

Music: Strain 2nd Mix

A scream of rage.

Phi's developed some acrobatic powers I guess.

Delta is sent flying.

Eric's got his favorite toy back.

Phi's at least breathing hard after that exertion.

C-Team is literally stunned speechless.

Kids, don't fight...

It's over.

Most durable 124-year-old I've ever heard of.

Phi tosses the brooch over.

Put it in. Your blue bird, too...

Apparently "blue bird" is also an acceptable answer for the Force Quit Box. Do you think Delta kept the blue bird the whole time?

Diana nods.

And takes off for the box.

Two clicks as the items snap into place.

It's ready!

The chimes return, announcing the computer lady.

Sirens go off, tinting the room red.

[Computer Lady:] Ten minutes...until explosion.

Ten minutes until what now?

Music: Consternation 2nd Mix

Looks like we're going with the Akane method of getting out of here.

Some evil villain laughter from Delta.

This shelter will soon explode. You've worked so hard, only to turn on this facility's self-destruct mechanism.

Once the Force Quit program has been activated, there is no possible way for you to reverse it.

First, I suggest checking behind the bar counter.


Why would you...

What the hell?

Gab... Gab's been...

Yes. With the shotgun you're holding.


I never expected to hear that coming from you, Sean.

So what's the other thing...?

You had two things to tell us...

Reading other people's thoughts isn't the only thing I can do with mind hacking. It only lasts a moment...but I am able to control someone's body as I wish.

Makes sense, at least from the name. Hacking isn't just about breaking in and looking around, after all.

Flash to white as the shotgun is fired.

Music: Trepidation 2nd Mix

The shotgun falls.

Eric looks as surprised as anyone.

You murdered her baby!

My finger just...

So, Mind Hack. Remember how when we went all rogue in the Execution and Decontamination Room fragments for C-Team and D-Team, and Carlos and Diana each looked at their hands like they weren't the ones that had moved them? I made a joke about it being us, the player, moving their hands for them. But I think it was really Delta via the Mind Hack. So by forcing them to make decisions that they wouldn't normally make, we are acting out Delta using Mind Hack on them to force them to do it. Just another way that the player is Delta in this game.

Also, we just saw in the Mask End a similar scene with Eric shooting Sean and Sigma and then himself, seemingly against his will. That, too, was Mind Hack in action.

So, let's begin...your final Decision Game...

You have two choices.

One. To stay here and wait to die..

The... The other is...

The other is...

Delta falls. I don't know why we had to look over at the basketball hoop, we already were looking away from Delta.


Thanks, Junpei. How many times now has the smart character died/passed out before telling us the right decision to make?

And fade to black...

Music: Dcom (The Beginning)

Thanks, computer lady. It's been a wild ride, we'll miss you.

Unless six people die, it's gonna stay closed.

I thought Sean could hack it open via the central control computer or whatever it's called? Still, we would have to get well clear of the shelter within five minutes, somehow. Maybe if we didn't waste half of our time listening to Delta's monologue we could've made it.


Kinda surprised Mira is staying as well-behaved as she is. I guess there are too many others around?

Another slow pan across the entire group. They really wanted to showcase that the whole group was finally together again, this shot is like the fifth time they've done it.

Which is?

This situation is a lot like the Power Room. Where Akane blew up the whole facility (and a still-living D-Team) just so C-Team could SHIFT out for no reason.

But Eric and I...

Don't worry, Akane and Junpei couldn't SHIFT either until Carlos magically brought them along.

Remember what I said? "Human consciousness may be a result of quantum effects in the brain."

What are the conditions...

Certain conditions, like being carried along by six other SHIFTers, I guess.

That's the condition that every SHIFTer needs anyway.

And the other one is--

To be in the vicinity of a group of SHIFTers.

I'm pretty sure Akane just made that up on the spot to get Eric and Mira to go along with this crazy plan. Again, in VLR, Akane was pretty clear that a strong SHIFTer would suppress the abilities of anyone weaker than them (in fact only Sigma and Phi could do it, even though Akane and Junpei were also there; kind of like here).

We'll resonate, and then Mira and Eric can...!

Sure, resonate, whatever.

That is a good question.

In fact, the only timeline where everyone is alive, is the current one. And going back into the same timeline doesn't really do a whole lot of good...

I guess there's no reason we all have to go to the same destination. Though it might be hard to carry Eric and Mira along that way. I'm okay with leaving them behind, anyway.


When we're all alive...?

Hmm, that is a tricky problem...

Oh, they're just going to straight up give it away. Turns out there is one branch in the current timeline where everyone stays alive, way back at the very beginning...

Music: Extreme Urgency (What Will You Decide?)

I'm not sure why the shocked reaction shots are here.

Thanks again, computer lady. Maybe we'll see you on the other side.

This moment is an odd time to get all preachy about the consciousness-swap thing. Sigma and Phi spent all of VLR sending other versions of themselves to their doom. And Carlos has murdered himself several times already here without any hesitation.

Seriously, even Junpei? Who's been an asshole rooting for everyone else to die all game?

Argh why do I find Mira the most relatable character here.

One time. They do the coin toss once and win... Don't you think that's unfair?

It's funny that Mira's line so closely mirrors Zero's tagline.

Thank goodness, save me from this nonsense, Phi!

If we assume that we here are the true versions, then the us in the other history are essentially strangers.

Sigma, you sent your younger self to play a brutal death game against his will, just so you'd have SHIFT powers yourself. Where is this crisis of conscience coming from?

Ahhh, I can't take this anymore. Let me know when they're done being stupid.

I mean, the only thing they did was win at a coin toss...

The only thing we did was lose a coin toss!

Even so, we've had to go through so much shit! We've been forced to put our lives on the line...!

Then why should we second-guess ourselves?

That's the last we'll ever hear from computer lady. Probably. Maybe.

Notice how Akane offers no opinion on the morality of SHIFTing. She really doesn't give a shit.

We have two choices.

We can stay here and wait for our deaths...

Or survive, by sacrificing our other selves in another history...

That's a pretty good summary, thanks Akane!

The final Decision Game...

Here we go...

The last set of heartbeats...

Music: Tough Decision (Make Your Choice)

I know it's been a long wait already, but we'll see what happens next time.


In the meantime, have a file! There's your evidence that young Phi was raised by old Phi!