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MagusofStars
Mar 31, 2012




Mix. posted:

[sub]I know some people prefer to save routes with a lock on them for last if they can help it
No way. I prefer to burst through plot locks like the Kool-Aid Man.

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Jade Rider
May 11, 2007

All the pages have been censored except for "heck," and she misread that one.




Let's get the unlocked path done.

Leraika
Jun 14, 2015

slime time



Save the locked path for later.

Mix.
Jan 24, 2021

Huh? What?





Alright, per the vote we're gonna hit the locked route now! The third option that only shows up when you've seen, uh, something, in a different route. What that thing is, you're about to find out! :v:

BGM: Agoraphobic Sloth
The train stopped at the pantry. poo poo, what was my choice? I didn't even make up my mind on who would go where. Ray was on the way out of the train already. He'd apparently decided for me.

Hey, wait!

Hurry up, the door's gonna close.



If I came out here with him, I could keep an eye on him. It would make our search slower, but I could definitely get him to agree with me if we found something disastrous for the eccentrics. However, if I tricked him, I could have him go to the bedroom once he was done in the pantry, to meet him there later and avoid having him explore the library at all. That way, neither Jasmine nor Marco would have to come under suspicion.

Was there a third option in all this...? If there was, I'd have needed some kind of divine sign to have gone with it, because I didn't really know what else I could've done. It all came down to protecting my friends, but in which way?



BGM: Silence
Alright, head to the pantry and I'll go to the library, the room J and M explored. Sounds good? Then we'll meet at the bedroom once we're done.

Before I could elaborate further, the doors closed. Ray didn't look like he wanted to follow the plan I suggested but, since I waited that long and the doors had closed, he wouldn't have any choice. This played right into my hand to avoid him going to the library, since I took it.



I sat onto one of the seats, knowing full well I'd rise very shortly anyway.

…............

BGM: Ambient Strain


I didn't have a lot of time, but I still took great care in ensuring I wouldn't leave anything up to chance.



It's been a while, but we've already explored this place before, so I won't waste any time. First things first, if we try to go upstairs...

I took a glance up the stairs. Was there anything worthwhile to search there?

The clock's open, and I can see there's a safe behind...

Quickly, I went to check it, but it was empty. Whatever contents it had, Jasmine and Marco had them now. My search wasn't fruitful there, so I took it elsewhere.

...Simon writes it off entirely. So I'll start from the right and make my way left, starting with the terminals on the right.



Wait, these weren't ATMs! These were computers to browse the library's contents. Sadly enough, they weren't turned on, so I could not have made use of them.

These computers suck, anyway. They look extra old. Probably haven't seen use in years.

How about the planter in the center?

Vital components to our survival. But they don't contain anything of note. They're just random plants.

I tried touching them with a hand... and succeeded, but upon doing so, I realized they were fake plants. They felt like plastic.

Next is the desk.



The counter countered my attempt to search it.

The sign.

I'm alone, so I definitely won't make nay noise. There's no one to talk to.

The hypocrisy of talking to myself didn't dawn on me.

:rolleyes:

Too many books, I couldn't search them all! All of them looked fairly old, too. As I blew air onto a row, dust kicked up, and I coughed, backing away. There was also a small study space back there, but nothing of real interest.

A book had been left open there, but it had no writing. All it had was an open (and empty) container in the middle of its pages, sitting comfortably in a cut-out rectangle.

All that's left is the trashcan.



For some reason, something compelled me to check this bin again. Even though I already looked inside, and I failed to move it, I felt like... I hadn't given it my all. With great effort, I pushed onto the bin hard enough to make it scrape against the ground a little.

It moved! Applying even further pressure, I forced it to slowly rotate onto the large bolt holding it down, revealing a small compartment at the base of the bin. Inside that compartment was...

BGM: Abyssal Snarl


What? What is this doing here?

I asked myself aloud like an idiot, hardly able to contain my surprise. Had Jasmine and Marco found guns here...? No, there was no way that was the case. If they had, then they hadn't taken them, because this one was still here, wasn't it? But it was possible they found three guns... And if they did, maybe they took the guns together...So it made sense for them to hide the third.

Wait.

Why wouldn't they carry it, and give it to me for my own protection then? Oh, no, no. This was definitely not good. I picked it up and examined it from up close. Strangely, this gun was remarkably old. It looked completely worn out. I was questioning its very ability to function, in fact.

I tried to remove the safety, since I knew guns had that, but even with it off, the gun didn't work. All I could do was make it click in vain. I clicked it a few times, trying to make it shoot. No dice. It never did. Even worse, that piece of poo poo actually jammed up on me!

How do we open this drat thing...?

After messing with it for a minute, I figured out how to open it. I looked at the chambers. Empty.

Hmm... this isn't good. It's a firearm, but it's completely worn out. Is it rust? Not that I can tell. Then how?

At that moment, my head suffered a splitting headache.

BGM: Anaphora Solution


I was panicking as I pulled the bin to the side. I dropped the gun and closed the space again. When did this happen? Would I stuff the gun back in there later? Or was this...

I didn't understand any of this, and I screamed as my headache grew tenfold worse, before I finally came back to reality.

Aaaahhh! What is this?! Was that a vision... of the Many-Worlds Interpretation? Did a “me” from another world put that gun there? How would that even work? I know this is crazy talk but... how do I explain this?



Hey, what are you going on about up there? I went to the bedroom, but you weren't there.

BGM: Advancing Shadows
Ray called for me from the hallway outside. I quickly stuffed the gun I found in my jacket and rose up, unwilling to let him see I had something wild in my hands.

Nothing. I was just... angry at the fact I found nothing at all.

I replied to him, but he kept moving, closing in on my location.

Well, I came by here to warn you.

Uh-oh. Did he already know? Did he know I had a bit of a firearm, even if it was malfunctioning?



Yeah, it was by them.

In the case, there used to be two guns. They were already taken out when I got to them.

What?! Two guns?

Yeah. You better be careful around them both now, or else you'll end up with a bullet in your head.

He made the movement at his head, mocking the firing of a gun with a “phcuhh” noise.

I'm going to continue looking into the others. The Stars is next. Do you want to come with?



BGM: Ambient Strain
I think I did enough exploring. I'll fetch J and go into a new room.

Suit yourself.

What's the matter? Weren't you on board with exploring further in earlier?

Times change. Now I'm a lot more interested to see what everyone found in their rooms. You said your friends didn't find anything here, right?

Yeah. As far as I could tell, the place was empty.

I boldly lied. I didn't know if he would catch on. Since he didn't look like the observant type, I didn't think that he would've noticed the fact I was squeezing my hands so hard in my pockets that my knuckles were turning white.



He cracked his knuckles. I shook my head to confirm I wasn't. Even if I was.

Be seeing you. Or not.

He disappeared out of the room. Releasing my breath after I was sure he was gone, I took a moment to think about what I would do.

Okay... well, I can't trust anyone. I can't trust A and E because they definitely are armed. I can't trust Ray, because of that video. I can't trust the twins for the same reason. I can't trust Jasmine and Marco because they've both left this stuff here. They possibly have guns, too. What am I going to do?



Easiest way is to rob them of their guns... but how?

Suddenly, after asking myself that, I came to a sudden realization. I thought of a way to perhaps make use of this gun, even if it was useless in its current state. It was flimsy, it was hinging on a bit of luck, but it was a plan nonetheless.

I left the room and took the train back to the lounge.

…...........

BGM: Abyssal Snarl


Three of them were still around. Jasmine, A, and E. The twins had vacated the area. Perfect enough. It would've been even better if Jasmine hadn't been there, but I couldn't pick every detail of this battle. I spent a moment to go over it again in my head.

First, I was going to hold E hostage. I was going to slip in, nonchalant, until I could get close to her. I had the gun ready in my pocket. It was broken, of course, but from far enough, I didn't think anyone would notice the difference. With her hostage, I'd have the old man spill the beans on everything they had been doing behind our backs. There was the possibility A would be Smiley, in which case I would probably just lose.



I shook my head. It was hinging on chance, but just this once, I decided to be a gambling man.

Hey, S! You're back. Are you ready to head out?

Yeah, I'm ready to head out. Just a sec, I just have to...

Just have to what?

I readied myself, about to leap to grab E. But, all eyes on me, I couldn't manage to get to her. At Jasmine's insistence, I didn't have time to answer or change my plan.

BGM: Advancing Shadows


S?!

Young man?

He slowly lifted his arms up in the air, understanding he was at a disadvantage. At least, things were going okay so far. I couldn't wipe the sweat off my brow, so I endured it.

No one move, or I shoot. I want some answers. Did you and E both take a gun from the pantry today?

...Alright, fine, I'll talk. No one has to get shot today. Yes, I have taken a gun for my own protection, but E did not take anything out.



Liar. There were two empty spots.

I am many things, but not a liar, young man. When we opened that briefcase, yes, there were two slots, but one was already empty!

He was growing angrier by the moment. I thought I could use this to my advantage in this battle of wits.

Okay, fine. Jasmine, take the gun from his bag and send it over.

Eh? But...

Do it!

I almost aimed the gun at her, but that would've been a mistake. I kept it trained onto A the whole time. Since the safety was off, he didn't try anything funny. I had to keep the bluff going for as long as I needed it. I didn't know when he'd realize I didn't have any bullets.



Please leave everything else in there, though. I need all of this stuff. I am but an old man.

Yeah, that's a lot of bullshit for someone who's in firing range right now.

He clammed up and finally, Jasmine took out the functional gun. Then she put it on the ground, and slid it over at my demand. I slowly lowered myself into a squat, still holding the gun at A the whole time. I picked up his gun and immediately opened it to look at the bullets. All the chambers were full.



BGM: Accelerated Scuffle
As soon as my gun moved away from him, the man shifted with a grace I hadn't thought possible for one as old as him. Everything happened so fast following that moment. Thinking he was moving to get to me, I backed away. However, he wasn't going for me. Instead, he was going for Jasmine. While I didn't want him to hurt her, my mind made up a last-second plan.



Eek!

Jasmine's noise brought me back to what the old man was doing: he was holding her hostage with a knife at her neck. He looked at me triumphantly, raising a finger to give me orders to follow.



I did as requested. I leaned down and reached for the gun. Of course, he knew I could have just shot him, but I didn't trust in my aim. He probably would still cut Jasmine's throat. Or worse, I probably would shoot Jasmine by mistake. For all my focus, I was still nervous and I had never shot a gun before.

Slowly, I set it to the ground and slid it over, while that rear end in a top hat wore a victorious smile. Sadly for him, the gun I slid to him was mine, not his. His gun was still in my hand. All my hopes rested on the fact he wouldn't notice.



Don't do anything rash, now.



Jasmine interjected herself to no avail. The old man chuckled. Yes! He still thought he had the upper hand! It would have been a mistake to show my victory yet, so I patiently waited.

It's over, J. One of us will die today, and if S dies, I cannot guarantee your survival either.

The old man took a pause once we both aimed at each other with our respective guns. He hesitated, but in the end I saw his glare narrow. He was squinting to aim. That was fine, of course.

His gun clicked and jammed, just like it had for me earlier.



By mistake? This was entirely premeditated, young man.

I kept my aim on him at all times until I pointed upwards instead, firing away to make sure he knew the gun worked. Jasmine screamed in panic at that sudden noise.

See? This one works, unfortunately. Or fortunately. Now stop and don't try anything. Jasmine, you still have your bag, right?

Y-Yes. Did you really have to...

gently caress the nicknames at this point, I'm tired of them and they never did anything productive. Slide it over to me.

T-This tension... it has to drop, everyone, please... I don't want others to get involved, too. And E has no idea of what is happening either.

I looked at everyone's state of affairs. A was glaring at me, but he seemed to have given up for the time being. Jasmine was, of course, panicking.



One more plan... I needed one more plan. If I dragged E into it, perhaps things would change. I couldn't do it by myself, though.

Okay. If you aren't going to slide it over, then take out a paper and write what I'm about to tell you.

But...

Quick!

She recoiled as I barked at her. Then she grabbed a sheet of paper and brought the pens out on the counter. As I instructed her, she wrote on the paper and then gave E the sheet.

Alright, that's enough now. What is your...

But E interrupted him by panicking just like Jasmine had done before.

BGM: Algorithm Simile


Closing the distance, I grabbed her shoulder and pulled her to the lounge. She stabilized before too much time had passed. Jasmine took a step forward, but I still didn't fully trust her either. I couldn't forget the doubts I had lingering over her and Marco.

Can I at least listen to what she has to say, too?

A remained silent, apparently attentive too. If he was interested in what E had to say, perhaps he was not, in fact, Smiley... or maybe he was just interested in my plan. I nodded at Jasmine's request.

Do I... do I talk now?



Okay...So...you want to know how to leave. I've been thinking about it, and I think I know how. You know how we have numbers on our collars, right? And to leave, we have to find an “extra person” to help, right? Well, what if... and I'm pretty sure... the extra person is just another person in our group?



The number two and seven, three and six, and four and five can all pair up to form the number nine too... which means that everyone could go.

I took a moment to remember my number. Right, it was two. I pushed my thumb onto the back of E's collar, making her shiver in apprehension. Her collar showed the number seven.

BGM: Alarming Silence


She obeyed and slid it onto the ground, and I reached for E's hand and tugged her over.

Eh, what?! Is it time to go? Please don't shoot anybody!

I quickly picked up the bag Jasmine had sent to me. The preparations to leave the room had taken a while, but before too much more time had passed, I was off.

And no one move. If I hear footsteps, I'll come and shoot anyway. Wait until I'm gone, and then you can go.

I looked at Jasmine, then A.



Hmph.

If you can, it would be great...

She still held the hopes I would come to help her. Of course, I wanted to, but... There was this part of me that still couldn't trust her the way I'd done before. Swiftly, I left with E, pulling her along. On the way out, I stuffed the revolver back in my jacket. I went down the staircase...



Oh, hi. The others are waiting for you upstairs, so don't make them wait too long.

They ran past me, deciding to ignore the fact I was dragging E alongside me. I slipped out of the lobby, and found the train still there. Quickly, I took it for a destination unknown, E in tow.



BGM: Ambient Strain


Speaking of, I was still tugging her along. Not for much longer, though. When my adrenaline died off, I was in front of the scanners.

Where are we going? Please, tell me... If not that, tell me something, anything.

I ignored her for now. Perhaps that was cold of me, but I couldn't brush off the fact she accompanied A this whole time, kept her thoughts to herself, and even probably conspired with the old man. I couldn't trust her, but... she had to be with me, if what she said was true. I took a deep breath.



And then...

BGM: Agoraphobic Sloth
Nothing happened. There was no beeping, there was no cutting our heads off. The door slid closed behind us, but other then that, nothing. We were home free... assuming the elevator I could see at the end of the bend was our way out.



:sigh:

Is it... are we outside? Where are we? Please, let me know...

She dropped to sit against a wall in the relative darkness, after my refusal to talk to her. Instead, I made my way to the elevator. We were on floor -15, apparently. I pushed the button labeled with a 0. It moved up.



And then I'd have to clear up this little misconception between us. After a long time, the elevator stopped at what I presumed was ground zero, which was above ground... perhaps. As the doors opened, I smelled fresh air.

BGM: Silence


The sight of the outside world was blinding me. I heard things, too. I heard water. I heard the seagulls.



The staircase had given way to a deserted island, covered with rubble here and there.

Yes! I made it out! We're out! It's so... calm here. Woohoo!

I was outside. It was over. Finally, I'd left that terrible place. And yet, I couldn't shake the feeling that this place was... horribly wrong.



BGM: Android Sorrow
In my search, I found no civilization. There was no Montreal. I could walk a few meters to reach the beach from the rubble-filled station, but there was no one there, either. I walked in one direction for a while. A solid five minutes of walking confirmed what I thought.

This island was deserted. As I thought about the fact I was on a deserted island, a thought flashed in my head. Something about the letter I... The thought was something about the letter I and how it took the second spot. The second letter was I, for some reason. I didn't know what it meant. After everything I'd gone through, I chalked it up to momentary insanity.



When I tried to use it again, it didn't work. I was stranded on this island, just like my friends were stranded in the subway below us.



Many days passed. We kept the collars; they weren't going off, and we couldn't remove them. One day, I woke up and E's headset and her face plate were gone, but we kept the collars on, always. I didn't know what happened during our sleep, but everything was fine here, now.

After a few days of reacquainting ourselves, she told me that she never conspired with A, that his name was Agnos, and that she had been wary of him a lot. None of it mattered, of course. We decided to settle here and survive on our own. It wasn't so bad. Despite it not being how I'd choose to leave the island if I was given the choice, it was still good enough.



A part of me wanted to go explore and see if that was the case, but another part of me had fallen back into my usual cowardice. I refrained, and instead chose to live a happy life here with E.







BGM: Agnostic Shutdown




Quackles
Aug 11, 2018

Pixels of Light.




Insert Danganronpa 2 joke here. :v:

Leraika
Jun 14, 2015

slime time



I'm getting to the point where any route that doesn't end with Simon dead is kind of a disappointment. Also that was, uh, a clumsy way to shoehorn in the hint.

Mix.
Jan 24, 2021

Huh? What?



Leraika posted:

any route that doesn't end with Simon dead is kind of a disappointment

Otherwise known as 'Ever17 Syndrome' :v:

But yeah, thats part of why I'm excited to get to the sequel, the characters (esp the protagonist) are a lot stronger in that one- I do still really like the overarching story here but man, Simon's such an awful protagonist (and the remake actively made him worse!! In the original he was still a weenie but he wasn't a complete tool nearly as much)

this wouldve been a better game if Marco was the protagonist :v:

Quackles
Aug 11, 2018

Pixels of Light.




Mix. posted:

Otherwise known as 'Ever17 Syndrome' :v:

But yeah, thats part of why I'm excited to get to the sequel, the characters (esp the protagonist) are a lot stronger in that one- I do still really like the overarching story here but man, Simon's such an awful protagonist (and the remake actively made him worse!! In the original he was still a weenie but he wasn't a complete tool nearly as much)

this wouldve been a better game if Marco was the protagonist :v:

Like... there's not much I can say to that. But I'm still left wondering why Simon is an awful (and also uninspiring - it's possible to be awful but charismatic and so draw a crowd) protagonist.

Leraika
Jun 14, 2015

slime time



Yeah, the sequel had some characters that I think could have stood to be better written - to be vague, I think the writer doesn't really do dialogue between women of roughly the same age well - but it's leaps and bounds over 'the main character is a toolbox and one of the supporting characters is basically a prop'.

Mix.
Jan 24, 2021

Huh? What?





Normally at this point I would've put out an Extra update, but this half of the flowchart has been all business and almost no side conversations, so... there isn't actually enough content to make one yet. As such, we're just going to continue the story by taking the only available branch left to us. For reference, here's what the flowchart looks like right now:



As a quick reminder, what's happened so far is the group have all gradually arrived at the train station, received the game explanation from Smiley, and split up into teams. We chose to go with Ray and exited at the sleeping quarters station. Upon returning, they find out the twins are still gone, and some of them state they would rather continue exploring to save time instead of everyone waiting around for them. The choice we took last time was to state we wanted to go explore, too (and ultimately ended up going to the security room with Jasmine), but this time, we're going to stay behind with Agnos to wait for the twins...


BGM: Ascertaining Speech
I was flustered because they didn't even think of asking for my opinion. As it was, M and Ray would go together, and Jasmine and E would go as our second team. I would be staying here with A to wait for the twins. I didn't know if I liked that idea.



That meant I would take E's place if I went.

Okay, I made my decision.

Out with it already.

Yes, what is it you wish to do?

As the old man hurriedly questioned me, I made up my mind.



BGM: Agoraphobic Sloth
My kinder nature took over, and I decided to stay behind. The fact it wouldn't disturb the groups already formed was just an added bonus to the fact I wanted to make sure the twins were fine if I could help it.

I'll stay here, but before you go, don't forget to enter your code in the console so when the twins get here, we can get it open.

With that, the teams quickly formed. There wasn't any need for a dispute. Marco and Ray went together, and the other team was made of Jasmine and E. After they left with the next train, I turned to A.



Yes, very funny.

What, not amused? I've noticed you're not too open to joking around. I don't know what happened for you to lose your sense of humor, but it's good to let loose sometimes.

:v: Actually Simon, it'd require you to actually tell a joke at some point.

At my age? Perhaps. However, I tend to prefer resolving all manners of problems by using my head. After all, don't you harbor your own worries too?

He wasn't wrong. I was thinking about the twins while leaning against the wall. I wondered when they'd come back. I hoped they were safe, of course.

BGM: Alarming Silence
Smiley was some bastard for kidnapping two young, innocent girls, and keeping them in this terrible place. G had looked so frightened earlier which, honestly, was an understandable reaction. H was the fiercer one, and because of that she hadn't looked so scared, but I'm sure she felt similarly. As usual, my head went into the abyss of worst case scenarios. What if one of them got injured while exploring their room? Or what if they couldn't solve what they had to do? Anything was possible, and it made me wonder about what would happen if we couldn't escape one of those rooms. Would we stay stuck there? Would Smiley get us out? Certainly, Smiley had a goal too, didn't he? Was us dying part of that goal?

BGM: Agoraphobic Sloth


His outburst pulled me out of my thoughts.

Ah, yeah, sorry about that...

No problem. I will pardon you, but in return I desire to have a little bit of a... though experiment with you, to better explain what I think about. Is that fine?

Do I have a choice?

BGM: Ascertaining Speech


Apparently, I didn't have a choice.

That's the thing with the Shakespeare monkeys?

Something like that. The example of Shakespeare's work is simply used in this context to illustrate something complex ultimately being reproduced. Let's keep it to the simplest terms.



Be it Shakespeare's work, be it the digits of pi, be it a highly secret encoded message from the government about the state of a nuclear war, it will almost surely be reproduced.

There's a nuclear war?!

It's just an example. I'm simply explaining that there are a few parameters that come into play, and all of those aren't literally what the theorem says. The monkey isn't actually a monkey, too. It's just something that means 'a force incapable of thinking for itself selecting at random'.



However, given infinite time, then it will happen and infinitely so. It would take infinite time to reproduce it, but even if it's crazy, with a second infinite time, then it'll happen again. After all, infinity times infinity is simply that, infinity. All mathematical equations regarding infinity always end the same way. If you add infinity to infinity, it gives infinity. Multiplication, same deal.



And if you subtract it... then it gives zero. Even if you multiply infinity by itself multiple times, even if you add it up, even if you do anything to make it bigger, as soon as you subtract infinity from it, it's gone. But I digress, we're a little off-topic.

I crossed my arms, unable to really comprehend what this madman was on about. What was this about infinity?

Let's go back to the monkey. Instead of using a monkey, let's use human beings. We'll give them the freedom of thought, too. Let's put, say, infinite people in a circle. Give the first one a paper and a pen, and let's say the paper is infinitely long and the pen is infinitely filled with ink.



I don't know... it's still random, no?

Ah, but there's the catch. This time, we don't have a random-monkey. We have people with their own sense of observation. Those senses and everyone's thoughts will affect which letter they put after the other. They may start seeing patterns. If you write F-U-N-K, what do you think the next letter might be?

Uh... Y, maybe?

That's right! People will write “FUNKY” because that's what their mind will associate it with! In that sense, do you think the person that put the letter “Y” had free will?

Well, yes, the person could've also picked something else. They just happened to pick it because... they felt it was the most... natural... conclusion...

Ahah, don't you think that's strange? The person certainly had free will, but they picked Y for extremely logical reasons. If you replaced them with someone else, what do you think would happen?

I guess it depends on the person?

Correct! Now, what does that mean?

BGM: Agoraphobic Sloth


I was glad because they were fine, but also because I made the right decision in waiting here. The twins stepped out of the train and they looked around, apparently surprised we weren't more numerous.

Oh, welcome back, young ladies. As you see, we've been waiting for you to come back. The others have left for other stations with the intent to expedite our escape.

I let him speak with them while I waited next to the consoles. It didn't take long for the two of them to enter their code too, and soon the door was open for all of us.

Time to see what's up in here!

Stepping through the lobby, I noticed it was just like any other station.



No, I don't believe so. Smiley said this one was different than the others. It seems this is the “leisure” station. Let us find what this means.

We all climbed up the stairs. When we arrived inside, we saw something interesting. It was some sort of lounge.

Fun. We should have a look around before all those chumps who left us behind get back here.

You shouldn't discard them so readily, sis...

Well, they chose to go, so it's whatever. Not too trustworthy if you ask me!

At the twins' insistence, we explored the place. I figured A was more level-headed than the others, so if I chose to talk to him, we'd probably go further in, and I would lose the chance of seeing what was around here for myself first.

:v: Subtle!



We get to explore this room again! However, this time, it's with a different group, so the dialogue is different, I guess. I'll make it quick before we speak to the twins and, then, Agnos. Gonna start with the AC.



One of the twins had been in the process of trying to reach the machine at the top. It was hard to differentiate them, but I believed this one to be H.

But if we can reach it... maybe it's a time travel device!

Don't you recognize the hum coming from it? It's clearly an air conditioner.

Yeah, your head looks like it needs a hair conditioner.

Ghrk- Air, not hair!



:drat:

You little devil...

Help, he's gonna beat me up!

Wha-

G came by right away, looking at me with a frown.

I wasn't going to do anything, I swear!

Besides, the machine isn't humming, you dumbass. It could be anything.

H pulled her tongue at me and all I could do was glare at her. What a pair of scamps! But she was right. The machine was turned off, so how did I know this was an air conditioner?

Next up, the poster.

Wicked.

It's kinda wicked.

Yeah, same thing I thought.

Cool, too.

Yeah... wait, no, that's not what wicked means!

Guess you're just old.



Yeah, old man.

Old man!

Old man!

Oh my god, stop!

I fled the scene, feeling like I was thrice my age in the process. drat those young whippersnappers, I'd make them get off my lawn if it was the last thing I did!



I didn't think Smiley would appreciate that.

Next, the couch.

This looks like a good couch.

I give it a seven out of ten.

Huh? We're rating couches now?

It's the comfort level. Looks familiar enough that I'm willing to give it a seven out of ten. What if I sat on it, though?

G did exactly that. Her face lit up.



Who even taught you about this...? Did you just make it up?

No, an old lady did. I think. I can't remember too well.

Well, that old lady is whack then. But I'll take your word for it on the comfort level thing.



When life gives you water, you make a water cooler.

Plants.

At least Smiley is giving us some greenery. The walls here look totally bland, though. It's so... bleak. Gray and terrible.

Like your face.

Can you go a few seconds without harassing me?!



How about in ten years?



All that's left is the conversations, so I'm just gonna just go left to right.

So, about your escape room... did it go well?

Kind of. I couldn't see the colors too well though.

Oh, that doesn't sound great. If you needed colors, yeah, I can see why that would be an issue.

Just kidding! It's my sister who's colorblind.

But you just said... Wait, is it possible only one twin is colorblind?



I... I don't know.

Maybe it was her sister who was colorblind? Ahhh, I couldn't tell! This riddle would eat at me for a while. While I was caught in my thoughts, G scampered off.

Since that was G, that means H is next to talk to.

What do you want?

I was just checking in, since you two took quite a while to solve your room. Did anything happen there?

No, we were fine. It's not because I'm colorblind or anything.

You're colorblind?

I just said I wasn't.

But...

H glared at me. I dropped the subject. Maybe her sister was colorblind then?

:v: Fascinating. Anyway, I guess we have to talk to Agnos now.



The old man filled me in on what he learned as we walked further into the place, soon arriving at a bar counter. I figured the twins would be too young to frequent this kind of thing. In here, I guessed it didn't matter so much.

I assume those rooms are our ticket to leave if we find the ninth person. However, something has been bothering me for quite a while now...

Go on, let me know.

Remember when Smiley said that once we found the ninth person, two of us will be allowed to leave? What if he truly meant it that way?

BGM: Silence
What if... once we find the ninth person... only them and someone else can go?

BGM: Advancing Shadows
Can't we use the exit room from this station if things turn sour?

No, this place has no exit room. Strange, too.

How can you tell?

The twins found maps in their room. Let me show you...

He pulled out a pile of papers and set them all onto the counter. Flipping through them, he eventually pulled out the one for this station.



We were momentarily joined by G who was curious about the topic.

Strange.

Feel free to keep looking at the maps. I'll get myself a jolly drink!

And with that, he left us alone. Deciding to share the paper with the twin, I pulled her away. Metaphorically-speaking, of course.

BGM: Ambient Strain
Come here. I have something to show you.

To show me?

Shh, I don't want to share it with anybody else yet.

She followed me, her interest piqued. I reached into my pocket and pulled out the piece of paper I found in the bedroom.



I don't know... I feel like everyone doesn't belong, here.

Ouch.

I don't mean it in a bad way. I mean... everyone here looks like they're from somewhere else, or is doing something else compared to anyone else, except for my sister and me. J looks like she works at a law office for example...

She's an artist- a graphics designer.

Or that. Same thing. Anyway, I mean that like... I guess I don't know? Sorry, I don't think anyone here fits the bill.



Hmm... maybe she's covering for her sister... I'll need to ask her more about it later... Or I could directly investigate by confronting H about it.

Since the twins had gotten themselves busy, I chose to look around for the old man. However, he wasn't in the bar area anymore.

Crap, he left me all alone.

BGM: Agoraphobic Sloth


Yeah, looking right at him.

I called over to the twins to ask them if they'd seen A, but one of them (I assumed it was H, with how rude she was) instead decided it would be a good idea to call me an old man.

I didn't ask you. I'm asking the twin who's older than five years old.

We're way over triple that! And if we're twins, we both have the same age, you dolt!

Can't understand the baby noises you're making, sorry.

I think... I saw him leaving through a doorway earlier. That side.



As I was doing so, the other twin threw a tantrum about how I treated her sister better. If she wanted to be jealous then sure, why not, but I didn't think it suited her at all! I found the main downstairs, in the lobby on the other side of the station. This was the side we'd started upon, where Smiley talked to us.

Ah, there you are. I found a keypad here. Surprisingly, all I had to do was press any key and the door opened.. I suppose it was simply barring our entry until we had opened either door.



Did you intend on heading out?

Not yet. Would you like to go for a drink, perhaps? We can wait until the others come back here. The lounge looks quite comfortable!

I guess I could go for one. Come to think of it... maybe I do feel thirsty.

Splendid! I can mix a good amount of drinks. I've had a little time as a barista before. Mixing chemicals is ingrained in my head.

:v: Well, that's a weird but not at all suspicious way of wording it, Agnos!

He guffawed with his deep, rich, yet hoarse voice. I didn't want anything alcoholic, but before I could notify him, he had already left the area.

Does he take me for Ray or something...?

I wandered back upstairs to the bar side this time around. When I got there, all three of the others were already seated or behind the counter. The old man was the former and the twins, the latter.



Hey, don't talk for us. What if we wanna drink too?

Then you're gonna need to wait a few years, little missy. But since your sister is older than you, maybe she'll be allowed.

We have the same age, I told you!

G stared at us, bemused. The old man shrugged at my question.

Feel free to have a look around, even behind the bar if you want! Though, please don't get in my way as I prepare them.

I just wanted to make sure he didn't put anything in the drinks that I didn't want. His request was fair, since I also wanted to know what it was like behind the counter as I'd never seen a bar this close before.



Once again, we've already explored this previously but since the twins are here for this one, the dialogue is different. :v: Won't waste any time here and just start with the back wall.

This clock's hands are stuck on that time. They're not moving.

Like the cells in your brain.

Stop patronizing me and I'll treat you better! Do we have a deal?

I don't make deals with terrorists!

I'm not a terrorist, I'm a pizza deliveryman.

Pizza Huit?

Exactly.



Don't eat too much or you'll get big. Don't you know that kind of thing makes you fat?

I left them to their little squabble, making no comment on the type of pizza G wanted.

A ventilation shaft... No, wait. Behind the grate is another grate. It's made of grates all the way down.

Maybe the twins could've fit in there if we could've removed the grates. However, I saw a fan much deeper in; they wouldn't get through that. It was a valiant effort, but ultimately useless.

Next, the stuff at the bar itself.



Heh, we can't even get beer here.

Then there's no fear. Though, this situation does give me a little tear.

I took a glance at my peer. On my face was a little sneer.

As far as I'm concerned, this place can shove all the alcohol up its-

I muttered the last part, but stopped myself before I got indoctrinated in some sort of rhyming cult.

The lights.

What purpose does that thing serve, anyway?

Maybe it dims the lights so you feel your brain squashed even further due to the alcohol. It looks nice, though.

Shelves in the back.



I hope you aren't going to sing it until you reach zero.

I saw H shudder, though I had no idea about what was going on with her. Did she dislike me singing about alcohol? G took a moment to reassure her, apologizing for me, or so I assumed. Well, if it was this bad, I wouldn't do it again.



To actually progress, we need to sit down on the stool (so Agnos can serve us a drink). However, we have another round of conversations with the three we can have first, so we'll start with the twin on the left again.

Got your drink yet?

Coming right up.

He sent it to the twin before she could even reply to me. From what I could tell, the drink wasn't alcoholic, and didn't seem to contain any illicit substance.

Well, you enjoy it now. Where's mine, A?

Next up will be yours, give me a moment. While I have some experience with this, I'm still old.

Everyone's old here.

I frowned, about to retort, when G rectified what she said.



Beats me.

Yeah, I will if you continue bothering her.

I decided I had better things to do than picking a fight with a teenager, so I left her be.

So of course, we talk to H next! :v:

So have either of you figured out what ties you to this place yet?

Nope.

Surely there must be something. Here, your drink, little girl.

He passed the glass over to her by sliding it onto the countertop. She caught it like an old, aged cowboy would in a saloon.



I remembered my own time at school. It was pretty hard. There were bullies and cliques- all manners of straight-up twisted minds. Teens didn't usually care about other people. Depending on the kind of person you were, it was either heaven or hell.

Hey, do you know what the difference is between a normal secondary school and a polyvalent secondary school?

I had to admit I never even questioned it. What I did know was the American equivalent of secondary school: a high school. Before I went to the Artistic Institute of Vancouver with Jasmine, I went to a polyvalent school too. I'd just never questioned why exactly it was referred to in that way.

Nobody? Huh. It's just because the school also has the option for professional formation, in the fourth wing of the school for us.

This is worded weirdly, but basically (to my understanding) some schools in Quebec have a separate wing/section of their education devoted to vocational training; basically, laying the foundation for students who might wish to pick up a specific trade or want to get a head-start on going for a specialized degree. :eng101:

That is true. However, the term “polyvalent secondary school” hasn't been in use since at least 2014! I think it's only a type of school in our region, too. If you told this to someone from the US, they wouldn't know what you mean.

Is that right? Someone else told me, so I guess they were just badly informed.



And lastly, Agnos.

So, what are you mixing up, anyway?

For the girls, I'm making a peach-banana cocktail, and for you... ah, I'll leave it as a surprise.

Oh, come on, at least you could tell me one thing that's in it!

I narrowed my eyes, as if I was suspicious. He must of bought it, since he nodded quickly and decided to rectify the shot.

All I can say is that I do hope you like the taste of lime.

So long as it's not too much.

I liked lime, of course. I didn't know why this man knew that. Perhaps it had been a lucky guess?

Well, we'd better get our drink, then! :v:



BGM: Ambient Strain
I've been thinking... We shouldn't stay here eternally. We have a lot of stations left to search, and we can't stay here forever. I mean, it seems like we could, but I certainly don't want to. We should split up and take the train soon.

Right. I don't want to stay here any longer than necessary.

Me either.

You two will go wherever together, always, huh?

Maybe not always...

Yes, always. No chance of splitting up.



BGM: Algorithm Simile
Actually, that is a good idea. Perhaps you may be in disagreement, H, but I believe it may be for the best to split up further. I understand your fears, however. I do want to ask you, if you are uncertain, is it because you believe it would not be safe for her?

I also understood why A wanted to split them up. If they ended up together again, and couldn't solve their room, it would be an even bigger waste of time. Not to mention the fact they might actually get stuck.

But we went together last time, what's the big deal about doing it again?

I can tell you that even if you split up, you'll be fine. If something happened to them, then it would surely be the other person in the duo who did it, don't you think?



:v: Ironic, coming from you.

Do you understand the concept?

I do. I think we might be able to afford doing that, sis.

What's being discussed?

BGM: Agoraphobic Sloth
Jasmine came back in the middle of our discussion. It seemed she had finished exploring her room and she was now ready to take a load off.

Oh, welcome back! You're both fine, thank God.



Very good! You two can finish convincing the twins to split up, then. I have to share what we found here with E.

The old man scooted away in a remarkable hurry. I narrowed my eyes at him as he left. He was leaving us with the hurdle of convincing these little girls about it, and escaping from this in the process!

So it's like this... the twins don't want to split up, but we should in order to learn about our differences, but also, most importantly, what could link us together here. And as the old man said, the partner would never dare hurt the companion, because if they did, then everyone else would know it was them when they return to everyone else alone.

That makes sense.

I don't know. If anyone hurts G, I'll kill you.

Not too harsh, sister. Sometimes accidents happen, too.

Yeah, accidents will happen for those who hurt you.



I will be heading out with E again. There are only two people who can communicate with her, one of them being myself, so I don't think this was avoidable.

He smiled at us and left to the stairs for this side of the station, with the train going northward. Dang it, grandpa! He took this opportunity knowing full well he'd be able to head out faster this way.

Oh, I almost forgot, we found this too.

She took out a pile of papers, folded from her pocket. I recognized the pile from earlier; those were the maps. She must've taken them back after A showed me. Just how much space was in those jeans anyway?!

Huh. There's a theater on top of these. Next is a church. Not really my thing. I'm guessing these are all the stations?

Yep. Keep looking. And before you ask, the Stars had the maps.



The next one is the science lab, and then there's a security room. Marco and Ray are investigating this one, correct?

Yes, I solved the science lab, which was remarkably quick. After the security room is the leisure station, which we're in.

That's right. No exists here, just like A mentioned. The pantry is where the eccentrics had gone before. Then the library, the bedroom, and finally the Stars, whatever those are.

Northward had three more stations to explore... but I didn't want to really go to any of those. None of them seemed appealing except for the theater, but...To get there, we would've needed three teams, and two of those willing to leave before mine.

We're better off the other way. There's a pool...recreation... so maybe a park?

No parks underground, you big dumb.

And a reactor. That sounds dangerous. Strange, these are all the labeled maps. The line goes way further than this though, no?

Yeah. What's the last map?



Strange. Doesn't look like a station. I wonder what it's all about. We won't find out by staying here, though.

Fourteen stations total counting the bar lounge.

We took our minds off the maps. I convinced H to leave them on the counter, deciding that it was good to have access to them in our “headquarters”, so to say.

BGM: Algorithm Simile
What are our teams? I don't really have a preference.

I'll go with sis.

But H... they just said earlier that it would be fine to split up.



I don't know. Maybe it's a better idea than sticking together and not mixing up. We're also suffering from a lack of info.

Grr... Okay, fine. I'm open to mixing it up too, if that's the case. But I don't like it.

She angrily crossed her arms, staring at the rest of us over her shoulder. They hadn't made up their minds with which person they'd go with, even if they were open to mixing it up, as H had said. The decision was coming back to me again. I did want to go with the twins, but Jasmine might've found something in the laboratory. She was also more familiar. Then again, if I picked her, all this fight about splitting up the twins would be for naught.

She was staring at me too, pressuring me into picking her despite her earlier words. How two-faced! H was a little bit like Jasmine in this way; she was taking charge and she was not afraid of anything. This was an odd change for Jasmine, admittedly. Had those four years affected her that much? I could also head out with G. She was calmer, but smarter. She also had her shy moments, and I kinda wanted to try pulling her out of her shell.

No matter which one I wanted to go with, I had to pick now.



Time to vote! :v:

Quackles
Aug 11, 2018

Pixels of Light.




How about G?

Leraika
Jun 14, 2015

slime time



H. It's not likely to get us new info but maybe a child can continue dunking on this man.

Jade Rider
May 11, 2007

All the pages have been censored except for "heck," and she misread that one.




Let's go with H for some more dunking.

Junpei
Oct 4, 2015

Cuz I'm a creep
I'm a weirdo
What the hell am I doin' here
I don't belong here

yeah H is my vote as well

MagusofStars
Mar 31, 2012




H because Simon needs to get mocked even more.

Dav
Nov 5, 2009


Infinity is not “a set number” and infinity minus another infinity doesn’t have to be zero! (E.g. if you remove all the even numbers you still have an awful lot of numbers left.)

Dammit A, alternate-reality murder is one thing but this level of mathematical misinformation is unforgivable.


Simon is also terrible, so sure, H.

AweStriker
Oct 6, 2014



There's also different infinities that get brought up in set theory, see Aleph numbers.

Adding to the H train.

Mix.
Jan 24, 2021

Huh? What?





Last update, we got to choose who to go with between Jasmine, G, and H, and the results are in: almost everyone wanted H just for the chance to get more dunks in on Simon. Valid reasoning! Let's see how it goes.

BGM: Agoraphobic Sloth


Hey... I'm not a brat. I'm older than that.

Then start showing it.

She clenched her teeth at my words, about to snarl and give a scathing remark, when Jasmine clapped twice into her hands as if calling us back to attention.

Okay, okay, wasting time bickering about the teams will cost us a lot of time we may not have. Are you in agreement or not?

I guess I'm fine with it if G is fine with it, too.

She glanced over to her sister, as if pressuring her.



Great! Let's go.

She reached out and grabbed me by the arm, pulling me down to the lobby below.

Hey, watch out how hard you're pulling!

I couldn't believe how easily she pulled me along. The whole time, all I could do was follow like an obedient little puppy. The entire time, Jasmine's giggling assaulted my ears like a battering ram.

Wait, wait.

I stopped in the lobby to talk to Jasmine.



Yeah... I thought about it, but I changed my mind. I have a feeling we're not the only ones “leaving others behind”, so to say. Some of them have been gone for a while... If they want to escape this place, that's fine of course. I just don't want to end up waiting for people who might never come back...

What did she insinuate by that? Holding up her hands defensively, she shook her herad, having noticed my expression.

I don't mean it that way! But if they choose to take the train and explore station after station, I think we should do the same.

Fair enough.

BGM: Silence


Eventually, we stopped at the pool.

BGM: Ambient Strain
That's weird. Look, it's already closed, as if someone came by here already.

She pointed at the window. Indeed, the door was closed and locked.

See? I told you. Other people aren't returning either, and they're just exploring as they want. I don't see why we shouldn't do the same at this point.

Right. What a bunch of pissants.

Language.



The announcer drowned out whatever remark she threw my way and the train took off again.

If M and Ray are behind that door, do you think they decided that together, or is it just Ray's doing?

It wouldn't surprise me if that was the case.

Which one?

Ray's doing. I don't really trust him much.

Me neither.

He's kind of scary.



Was that really the case? Was it possible Marco, my friend, would've abandoned me? He wasn't a bad guy. Yet... it was undeniable that they kept going. Marco could've decided to come back on his own. He didn't, though. That was what bothered me.

Hey, earth to S, come in! I'll leave at the recreation station with G, is that fine by you?

I was snapped out of my thoughts by Jasmine clapping her hands again.

Ah, uh, right, that's okay.

Great! I'll leave you the reactor. You're savvier than me with that kind of thing, anyway.

Woah, now, wait, I hope we don't have to...



Are you okay...?

Get away from me!

BGM: Abyssal Snarl
She pushed me away just as the train arrived at the recreation station.

That's not good... I don't have the time to reassure her. S, just promise me she'll be fine? Just don't say the “H” word, okay?

Huh?

She'll calm down in a little bit, but you have to promise me not to say the “H” word, or else I'm taking her out right now and we'll leave here.

Just promise her.



Okay, I promise. I won't say the “H” word.

Good! Have fun in the reactor.

The two of them left momentarily. The train produced its chime once they entered the door and it closed behind them, locking them in. Great, I was stuck going to a potentially dangerous room with an unstable little girl.

Listen, I'm sorry, okay? There's no H.

No... there is... hhnn...

The doors to the train closed and it drove off.

BGM: Silence


H's state reminded me of someone who was afflicted by epilepsy, except she was still conscious of what she was saying and doing. Unfortunately, I couldn't deal with it.

:sigh: I can't fault Simon on this one specifically because it's the creator themselves who doesn't understand what anxiety/panic triggers are. Personally, I'd say it's probably closer to something like a dissociative state (as someone who personally experiences those, anyway), but I'm willing to bet they just googled 'fugue state', saw people with epilepsy sometimes experience that, and called it there.

I chose to accompany her in silence, worriedly staring over at her when I could, when suddenly, a headache hit me like a brick.

Hnng! What is... this pain...?

You... you're having it too?

It was like my head was being squeezed. Glancing at H, she was tensing up, holding her head with both hands. I mimicked her, since I really couldn't handle it. I took a few deep breaths and exhaled sharply. Eventually, it ceased. I cast a glance over at H following that.



Feeling better now?

A little... just a little. Aren't you embarrassed about caring for a brat like me?

Hey, I said that in a joke, you know...

Then that's just bullying. But it's okay, I understand.

BGM: Agoraphobic Sloth
I had to make it up to her. As the train stopped at the final station down this side, I made up my mind. The doors opened, and she stepped outside. I did the same, but before she reached the open door, I called for her.

Hey, H. Before we go in, I want to tell you one thing.

What is it?

She looked at me cautiously.



Your sister's in good hands. Jasmine will be certain to protect her, and nothing bad will happen to her, you can have my guarantee. And if something does happen to her, you have my permission to kick my butt.

I could tell by her expression that H didn't really know what to say to that, instead giving me a bit of a smile.

Thanks. That does mean a lot. Especially the last part. If something happens to her, I'll throw you into the reactor myself.

Of course. I wouldn't have it any other way.

We resumed our walk towards the open door. Entering the lobby, I didn't notice anything special. It looked like any other so far. The doors closed as we came in, which I expected to happen.

So... we're here. Are you ready for the reactor?

I guess I'm as ready as I'll ever be.

Finally, we stepped up the staircase and entered the reactor proper.

BGM: Anaphora Solution


The noise was coming from the reactor in the middle of the room. It looked rather...big. In the front was an open entrance tall enough for even Ray to go through. On the walls were machinery of all kinds. I didn't expect anything else. On the other side of the room were some computers and a large screen, currently turned off.

Ready to explore? This room kind of gives me the creeps. At least it's kind of green. I like green.

Yeah, me too. To all of those.

After giving my cursory glance around the room, I decided to look at everything a little more closely. The first thing I noticed was strange was a map on the wall. It showed everything in this place. I stood before it, somewhat dumbfounded.



:argh: Showing the map is MY job, Simon!!

The first was that there was that empty wall, and behind were eight circles. The number eight again. Was it significant in some way? Why was everything eight here? The only thing that came to mind was how eight looked like an infinity symbol turned on its side. They called that symbol a “lemniscate”. I remembered Marco talking about that shape once.

Obviously, I hadn't paid attention to what he said too much, but the name stuck to me. The second thing that was weird was how this room had only one entrance. Normally, each station had two doors; one for each side. This one, however, had a single way down, along with the scanner room. What was the meaning of this?

I tried to imagine why that was the case. Was it because this was the end of the line? Was it meant to only have one door? But.. the station below had two doors like every station. I pulled away from the map.

Anything the matter?

I didn't answer her. Instead, I barreled down the stairs and looked through the window in the door. That's right! On the other side was another door, and it was closed, just like I thought. Where did that door lead, if not upstairs?

Hey, answer me!

I just noticed something weird, that's all. Look... Oh, you're too short.



Okay, I'll just tell you. The other side of the station has a door, but the map in the room above only showed one exit from here. Well... other than the scanner room.

Huh? That's... that doesn't work. How are we meant to go back?

Maybe... and this is just a hypothesis... maybe we're not meant to go back once we make it here? Is this the exit?

Some noise from upstairs caught my attention. It was some kind of static screeching.

What the heck is that? What's really going on at this station?

Let's go find out.

Together, we went back up the stairs quickly.

BGM: Alarming Silence




It will not be one for everyone, however. Before I explain that part, I will tell you a story. It is directly correlating to some of your presences here. There was a girl who had done terrible things, a long time ago. She, as a result, was taken by an organization for their human experiments. What she did was terrible, but what those people did was even worse.

My head... it hurts... stop talking! Stop talking! It's... ahh, I remember, noo! NOOOO!!

The twin screamed and I missed what Smiley said next. It wasn't just a normal scream; she was going absolutely mental. I could also feel a headache, but it was unclear if it was due to her noise or due to other reasons. I recalled it was the same kind of headache as the one I got earlier in the train.

H eventually fell to the ground. I reached to help her back up, but she shook her head dismissively, instead gratifying me with another loud groan of pain.

No, it's... ahhh, it's fine! I'm okay, it's just, my head... My head hurts so MUCH!! AHHH!!

Another scream came from her. I panicked a little, unsure if I should've done something. Finally, she calmed down, while Smiley continued, as the recording had been uncaring about what was happening in the room. I turned my attention back to it, since she seemed better now.



Make no mistakes; this reactor could completely destroy every station here. It is an extremely powerful power generator that, on its own, could give energy to the entire city. While it is not nuclear energy, it is something somewhat close.



This means that whoever pushes the button will be trapped within while it stabilizes, resulting in their end. The only question you both should be thinking about for the next ten minutes is... Who will make the sacrifice?

The screen turned off right after that. A small light on the reactor turned on, flashing red. Everything was going to explode in ten minutes.

BGM: Alarming Situation


What are you playing at, Smiley? What is the purpose of this?!

I shook the screen, but no answer came. Instead, H rose up and spoke. She was a lot more stable now, but there was an undeniable coldness in her tone.

I will go.

No, you can't do it! You're still a young girl, I'm...

What was I saying? Was I really going to throw myself into a fire for a stranger? Sure, she was young... she had more time... but I just finished university, dammit! I had friends! I had a family! They all wanted to see me again! I could be hailed as a hero for it, but what would it matter if I was loving dead?!

No, this is my burden. This is why I was... created.

Created? What are you talking about?

Either her family was full of loons or something else was going on here. She was calm, perhaps even eerily calm. Who the hell was this girl?

BGM: Ascertaining Speech


Or maybe it's better said as... I was transmitted my own. Say, what do you think of... androids?

Where is that coming from? What are you talking about, again? Androids, what?!

I'm not a real person. I could never be a person. I'm... an android. I'm a created entity. I'm not real. I was built here, and without these memories, I'm Hannah.



Namely, I have to obey the laws of robotics. Do you know them? There are three.

She grabbed a nearby tool and bent it rather effortlessly. She was so strong it made me arch my eyebrows in shock. I couldn't deny her nature, but something still didn't sit well with me. Like, what the gently caress?!

It doesn't matter. The important part is that if it talks like a person, if it looks like someone, and if it thinks like Hannah, surely that must be Hannah. And so, I am Hannah, but I'm not her. G never knew. G's real sister was taken away. She's...

She took a small pause, as if hesitating.

She's somewhere. Anyway, this is why I must go and do this. I have to sacrifice myself. I'll save all of you. The laws of robotics forbid me from standing by while a human will come to harm.



This way, I had purpose.

She smiled, but I could tell it was strained. I could tell she was masking her own insecurities over it.

That's not true! There must be some other way. We have some time, let's search the room quickly! We can both survive!

I was convinced. I needed to search this room, but almost half our time was up already.



I'm not scared. I don't think, I don't feel. It's all a fake process. Feelings are just calculations and reactions made in here.

She pointed at her head.

Brains are exactly the same thing. If you feel like you care, then you do! Brains are like organic machines doing the exact same thing. It's all just... electric currents.

You're... you're not wrong. According to what I know... you may be right. It is a contradiction to my programming... This is difficult, then. But perhaps it would be better this way. Let's search. Let's do it quickly... maybe there's a way... maybe there is!

I didn't know if it was wise for me to give her hope, but we had four minutes to search. That meant I could only search four things in this room, at most. If I didn't figure something else out... Then the choice would be made for me.



BGM: Active Search


:v: Surprise, it's just like the theater! And just like the theater, the branch point is dependent on how we investigate. That said, I'm going to start by showing everything you can look at, regardless of the time limit- starting on the right side.



Wait, let me have a look...

What were all those things? Cables, boxes... I could see some pipes... If we broke anything in there, maybe the reactor would stop. However, there was an equal chance we'd make it explode right away. Perhaps it was better to leave it be and come back if we found some sort of telltale sign that breaking this would be beneficial.

Not for now, but if we find a reason to do so, maybe.

Our time's going down, and you want to waste some of it?

If we waste some time but end up not vaporizing ourselves in the process, I think that's a lofty goal!

Well, fine!

We parted from the contraptions.



Next, the door.

This door had a big number nine onto it. Was this supposed to represent the “ninth person” or something? Would my escape be assured if Hannah sacrificed herself? I slapped my cheeks a little with my palms. No, I had to stop thinking this way. There must've been another way out without sacrificing anyone.

Now, two minutes had passed. Time was quickly running out. Half the time had gone, so I needed to figure something out...!

Next, the reactor itself.



This must've been whatever power is being generated. It was going out of control, and soon it would incinerate us.

It would incinerate us... and everyone else...

This wasn't just a gamble for a survivor between us- this was a gamble for everyone's survival, too. If we didn't come to a conclusion, even Jasmine and Marco would...

Three minutes! It was almost over!



She glanced towards the reactor. Yes, I knew, she would jump into it when the time ran out, to avoid any issue. That was why I needed to do this quickly!

Next, the huge door at the back.

This wall had something behind it. Maybe if I tried really hard, it could open... I spent a bit of time looking around it to see if there was any mechanism, but there was none that I could find. Which meant this was do-or-die. If it would be done by hand, then so be it!

And with that, we're out of time. However, before we see what happens, I've grabbed the other stuff we can look at (that doesn't lead to a different branch, anyway). Going to start with the whiteboard.



You're not thinking of drawing something unsightly there, are you?

No, no, I'm going back to the search.

I might've drawn a funny “unsightly” picture, but with Hannah around, I figured it might be better if I didn't anyway, especially as we were short on time. I moved away from the board.

And lastly, the monitor on the left side.

The screen wouldn't help me. I couldn't go through it. Instead, I focused on the other things around it. In this strange mess of things, I could hardly make out anything worthwhile. At first, some of them seemed like a good prospect.

This is so techno.

Maybe more sci-fi. Nothing's lighting up.

None of this could be helpful. I didn't know my way around a reactor room! The computers didn't turn on, the metal plates didn't help... and all the stuff scattered around was made of random objects.

Ahh! There has to be something we can use in this pile of stuff!



There is also a conversation with Hannah that we can have.

Hannah! Do you have an idea?

I don't have any idea! But maybe if we want a specific outcome, we'll have to follow a very strict order of things to do! I think we already failed that...But it's got to be a very tight process. I don't think anything else could counter what Smiley has set up for us here, so keep your eyes peeled!

Got it! I'll keep my eyes open for any idea to bypass pressing the button in any way.

Basically, she's telling you what I already did- there's a branching path you can only go down if you do a very specific order of events in this room. But first, we should see what happens when we run out of time...

Unfortunately, I didn't manage to find a way out of this predicament. No matter what I looked at, no matter what I tried, it was all in vain! Hannah was glaring at me as the time was running out. There was a bit of resentment in her.

Was it all a lie?! This hope you gave me? This- eugh- hope... hope, ahhh! No... no hope! Ahh! The word... it's... it's tearing my head apart...! I... I forgot... I shouldn't say it... I shouldn't think it!



I hesitated. In that slight moment of hesitation, she forced herself to move forward, which in turn forced me to make up my mind.

Sorry, Hannah! I can't let your wish come true! You're going to loving live!

It was like the choice had been made for me.

BGM: Accelerated Scuffle


No!! You can't do this to me- to Hannah- to Greta, her sister!

So that was her name, huh. Their parents must've had some wicked sense of humor to base their names off that popular duo of characters from children's tales. However, I had nothing to say. I knew I tricked her somehow, and seeing her lamentable state due to that headache, perhaps born out of a traumatism I had no idea of... It did make me feel bad.

Despite that, I stood by my choice. Of course, all the thoughts in the world came upon me at that moment. I thought about Marco. I thought about Jasmine. I thought about my family, too, and all the others I wouldn't see again.

Don't do this to me! Don't leave me here alone, I'm not Hannah! I'm a robot, I'm a fake, I'm not real, I'm not... I'm not...



No! You're Hannah. As far as Greta's concerned, you're Hannah. As far as I'm concerned, you're Hannah. No one else can take that away from you. I'm going to die, and it's scary, of course. I can feel the heat building up behind me. So don't look. Don't look, I didn't exist. I wasn't here. There was no Simon.

I told her may name, too. I felt like it was only appropriate, given the circumstances.

There was no Simon anywhere. No Simon ever existed. So, don't feel bad. You're going to be Hannah, and you'll live... You'll live for Greta.

Hannah refused to listen. She hammered her body into the door until it had begun growing hotter. I... was melting. I clenched my teeth to ignore the pain. I clenched my teeth to ignore the incoming death. It was difficult. To face... your own death was something no one truly was ready to do. And yet, this was my future now.

Or rather, my lack of future. All this work, all this life to amount to this... But at least, it was for someone else's greater good. A second thought prevented me from feeling good over it, though. Maybe it was the selfish part in me. Maybe it was the cowardly part in me.



HANNAH!

BGM: Android Sorrow
I screamed so loudly even she was surprised, and she stood back, dumbfounded.

You are not giving your life away, do you hear me? Avert your eyes! I didn't exist, so go live!

She did as I told, fighting against her programming. She averted her eyes. She wouldn't see me as I became... nothing. This was it. The pain was unbearable.



Colors, sights, sounds. All of them were mixing in a head that wasn't quite there anymore. And yet, even as I faded, I maintained one thing. I maintained my smile. Now that it had come to this, now that I truly had passed the point of no return into the end, I felt good, deep inside. I didn't have any remorse, any fear, and any cowardly thoughts.







Leraika
Jun 14, 2015

slime time



:ohdear:

Quackles
Aug 11, 2018

Pixels of Light.




Wait.

A five letter global password, and so far we have I-L-Y?

I think I have a theory about what the full password is going to be. EMILY

EDIT: Or SMILEY, but that'd require an extra letter and is kinda boring.

PlasticAutomaton
Nov 12, 2016

Artoria Pendonut




Wow, like the one good thing our tool of a protagonist has actually done so far.

Mix.
Jan 24, 2021

Huh? What?





This time, we're going to do the specific sequence of events to get a different outcome- unlike the theater, you must do it in this order to get this different branch- it's not as simple as just clicking on the exit door a few times. To start with, you have to look at the space inside the reactor.

BGM: Active Search


Maybe I could stop her from killing herself this way. I had to think about it, but I didn't have much time left. I was missing something vital to use for this.



This gives us the option to pick up something at the desks over on the left.

I glanced over to the mess on the side. Maybe one of these objects would come in handy. I stealthily picked one up, carrying it with me. Now, what could I have used this for? I didn't really have a plan, but this was the beginning of one.



...which lets us interact with the inner reactor again.

But then again, there was another way... I aimed the random object I took from the mess nearby directly at the button, then threw it in. However, as soon as it was inside, the reactor lit up and the object was instantly incinerated before it hit the mark.

What are you doing?

I tried throwing something inside to hit the button. Go figure, Smiley doesn't want us to bypass the choice we have to make.

She looked demoralized, but she vacated this spot. drat! If I went for it again, I'd have to...



And again!

I only had one option, now. I went over to the open door as stealthily as I could. Unfortunately, Hannah noticed what I was doing.

Trying to slip into the reactor while I wouldn't see? That won't work!

Since I wasn't searching anything else, her attention had gone back to it. Crap, I hosed up! Now, she was on the move to cut me off from it!

No! You can't do this!

I still tried to stop her. But in the end, I failed. My arm reached for her, but she dodged it rather easily. Even if her steps were heavy, she could make quick calculations. She knew how much to move, how much to balance her weight. I was just a human... Wait, did she know that?

Maybe I could do something with it... Maybe I could lie to her. What if I told her I was a robot? Even if it was a lie, maybe I could catch her off-guard. That was my train of thought.

Hannah, I...



I can't stay idly by when someone comes to harm! It's part of my programming! Sorry!

And with that, she stepped forward, leaving me out of her decision. It was like the choice had been made for me.

BGM: Accelerated Scuffle


As if I had no free will of my own. All of those thoughts were secondary to the events unfolding before me, though. She had already slammed her hand onto the button in the reactor.



The door closed behind her, shutting herself off from me. She remained eerily silent past that. I could tell the girl was breaking down, watching her through the door. I slammed my fists against the window in the thick gate, but nothing I did changed anything. Her own hands lifted up to her head. Realizing the horror of what was to come, she held her own head in despair.

Hannah!! Hannaaaaaaah!!!

This was it. She dropped her arms down and turned around as the reactor slowly launched the stabilizing process. Even as the heat grew inside, she smiled at me. She reminded me of myself. No doubt, if I had been inside, I would've done similarly. Likewise, if she had been the one outside, she most likely would've panicked and tried to get me out, too. In that sense, we were not so different. It was in our nature to try to help in any way we could.

Her face haunted me the entire time she remained within.



I pulled away from the door due to the growing heat. My own behavior was reversely proportional to Hannah's stabilization. The more she abandoned herself to fate, the harder I fought against it. I still had to try something, even if I understood that I could do nothing but watch.

Horrific moments followed up on each other. Her fake hair fell down. Her flesh melted off the metallic components of her body. Even the metal turned into something akin to a bunch of molten parts. She was a robot. The fake person from the note- that was her. Yet, despite that, I didn't really think she was a killer, or a bad person, or anything like that. She was just as much someone as anyone else here.

Not anymore, of course. Now she was melted. Now she was dead. There was a high probability that she wasn't conscious anymore- if such a thing could be called consciousness. What was left of her was engulfed in a tornado of flames.



I was contemplating what to do. The quiet room grew on my nerves. I couldn't shed tears, I couldn't scream. All I could do was... live. All I could do was live for the remains of Hannah's melted body at the bottom of the little maintenance hatch. Encased into the metal was her collar. It looked... fine.

BGM: Abyssal Snarl
The blaring red alarm in front of the reactor had ceased its blinking and turned off. Just as it did, I released a breath I'd been holding for around a minute. Finally, everything caught up to me. Yet, despite my inherent and deep sadness, I couldn't bring myself to cry.

Instead, I was thinking about the perpetrator. Smiley. That was his fault. All of this was his fault. A rage was building up inside of me. To finally learn about Hannah and then have her die like this?! What would I tell G when I came out? Would she hate me? I'd be coming back without her sister. The next time I met her, I'd have to bring up the subject. It wasn't my fault.



Not only was I a coward deep inside, but I also didn't know what to say in this kind of situation. I felt like I wanted to run away more than ever before. I stood back up. When had I fallen to my knees? It must have been during my own growing despair. Everything that transpired had just been a blur.

The screen had turned on again. I only realized it at that moment. I must've missed some of what Smiley was talking about. It took me a second to calm down, as the rage against him was still strong in my head.



As he was talking, the plain wall separated between its two halves. The reactor stabilizing was causing it to open. I focused on Smiley, however. I wanted to make sure I'd burn his image into my head so I knew... No- so that no matter what, I would remember the person who destroyed our lives.

You are, yourself, free to go. The door with the nine will let you leave, provided you have what is required, of course. Otherwise, you will undergo termination in only a few minutes. If you have what is needed, you may proceed... But despite your success, mine will have been a horrendous failure. The MTS will get you.



Why would they “get me”? It's just a company set up to run the trains. There was also my other worry: I didn't have what was required to leave. If we needed to bring the ninth person here, Hannah wasn't it. Was I going to be terminated for that?!

BGM: Alarming Silence


That question echoed without an answer. Looking to find some, I finally paid attention to the back of the room. Something had opened there. I didn't feel quite ready to have a look at it. Instead, I looked around the room.



Alright, well, I'll save the back wall for last I guess. :v: I'll start with the screen again, on the left side.

Smiley...

You're going to pay... one way or another.

Reactor itself is next.

This took away Hannah. It almost took all of us away.

Inside the reactor.



Open doorway.

I couldn't go yet. I really wanted to, but... I just couldn't go.

And finally, the back wall.

I prepared myself. I couldn't bear to look at what was behind this for too long. The fact this wall had opened- was that meant to be some kind of reward? Was it my reward for standing idly by while Hannah melted away? I balled up my fists and clenched my teeth. Hannah...



I approached what seemed to be a set of some type of vats, in which... In which were eight people.

BGM: Anaphora Solution


Aligned were eight vats containing eight people. The bodies of each of them were floating in the greenish liquid. I recognized them, of course. They were us, in order of one to eight. We were held by cables, and each of us was wearing a mask like Smiley's. What did this mean...?

G was there. I was there. Marco, A, Hannah, Ray, E, and Jasmine... all of us were there. All of us were Smiley? What was this?! What the gently caress?!

What the gently caress?! What in the hell is this?!

I couldn't understand what I was seeing before me. I flattened my hands against the glass container that had “me” inside. Sure, I couldn't see our faces, but... these were definitely our bodies.

Fake people...?

Clones...?

Robots...?

No, were those... the real ones?



BGM: Accelerated Scuffle
AAAAHHHHHHH!!!

I screamed loudly, I screamed for a long time. I didn't want to know. Why was this so hosed?! I probably went into insanity at this moment. I couldn't see what I was doing, I couldn't hear what I was screaming, I couldn't pay attention to what I was hitting. I was punching walls. I was jumping up and down.

I needed to find a loving way out of here. The number nine door was open. Quick. Get the gently caress out. The gently caress out. The gently caress out. The gently caress out. Out. Get out.







Quackles
Aug 11, 2018

Pixels of Light.




Aw, Shit.

CremePudding
Oct 30, 2011


They really should have drawn a CG of these vats if it is such a big reveal instead of drawing Simon's distressed face again

Leraika
Jun 14, 2015

slime time



I know it's obviously not the case, but if they make the montreal transport society the actual bad conspiracy I will in fact have to hand it to them.

Quackles
Aug 11, 2018

Pixels of Light.




Leraika posted:

I know it's obviously not the case, but if they make the montreal transport society the actual bad conspiracy I will in fact have to hand it to them.

Hey, A Series of Unfortunate Events had the Volunteer Fire Department...

differentiating
Mar 30, 2019



Quackles posted:

Wait.

A five letter global password, and so far we have I-L-Y?

I think I have a theory about what the full password is going to be. EMILY

EDIT: Or SMILEY, but that'd require an extra letter and is kinda boring.

Technically, it specified that the letters are in the order _ I L Y _, but if we have to anagram it in the end, your guesses are where my mind was headed.

Mix.
Jan 24, 2021

Huh? What?



Hi. Next update is tomorrow but I'm making a pre-emptive apology because it is somehow the worst update in this entire lets play? specifically its the bit of the game where the creator went 'hey zero escape had sex jokes, we should too!' and didnt think about the fact that this section is also the one where we're with the other twin (who is, you know, underage. and simon's like 24. :shepface:) ...and then also decided to make simon even more of a loving weirdo than usual as well (to the point I cut one snippet out entirely- its just simon being loving weird/awkward because he thinks about the pool station being on their path and he can't be a loving normal person and its just uncomfortable all the way down and i'd rather not subject you all to that poo poo if i can help it) :cripes: Anyway I guess you have that to look forward to! I'm so sorry.

MagusofStars
Mar 31, 2012




Ugh. I would recommend putting a :nws: at the top of the update just so people (both now and then in the future archive if you plan on having it archives) are clearly warned.

Mix.
Jan 24, 2021

Huh? What?



MagusofStars posted:

Ugh. I would recommend putting a :nws: at the top of the update just so people (both now and then in the future archive if you plan on having it archives) are clearly warned.

Okay its not THAT bad (thank christ) but yeah I'm definitely gonna also have a 'heads up this update sucks' note at the top, lmao

Mix.
Jan 24, 2021

Huh? What?





We're slowly making our way towards the home stretch here, which also means things are going to be relatively railroaded going forward for the rest of this LP. For this update, we're going back to the choice of who to go with, but this time we're going to be going with the other twin, Greta.

Also, this is the worst update in this LP because some of the dialogue is incredibly uncomfortable and I'm very sorry in advance. It's mostly contained to this update thankfully so we should be in the clear for the rest of the LP but. Yeah. It's bad. :cripes:


BGM: Algorithm Simile
The decision was coming back to me again. I did want to go with the twins, but Jasmine might've found something in the laboratory. She was also more familiar. Then again, if I picked her, all this fight about splitting up the twins would be for naught.

She was staring at me too, pressuring me into picking her despite her earlier words. How two-faced! H was a little bit like Jasmine in this way; she was taking charge and she was not afraid of anything. This was an odd change for Jasmine, admittedly. Had those four years affected her that much? I could also head out with G. She was calmer, but smarter. She also had her shy moments, and I kinda wanted to try pulling her out of her shell.

No matter which one I wanted to go with, I had to pick now.



BGM: Agoraphobic Sloth


As much as I tried to think about going with H, I figured she'd call me an old man and do her own thing the whole time, which might not've been as fun in reality as it was imagining it. Sure, it was “funny”, but... I didn't exactly want to babysit a brat. On the other hand, G already showed she was a bit smarter, so I wouldn't need to constantly make sure she didn't screw things up.

Okay, I'll go with one of the twins. Specifically, I want to go with G.

Are you sure you really want to do that?

She was glaring in my direction. I lifted up both hands in defense.

Yeah, I'm sure. I think your sister's nicer than you, and maybe she could let me know about some details that could help us figure out what links all of us together here.

What do you mean, nicer?!



:rolleyes:

Oh yeah? Well, is this bratty enough?

She was about to punch me, and I shielded myself with my arms. However, she stopped her movement right before hitting me to an almost scary level of precision.

Hmph.

I peeked through my arms and saw she was retreating. The other girls did nothing to stop it, content watching, and even finding the scene funny!

:v: Because you're a loser, Simon.

Maybe you're right. What do you know about anything, anyway? I don't need to tell you what will happen if she gets hurt, right? I'll destroy you.

Okay, I get it!



Are we all set with our teams?

Yeah, don't worry H, I'll take care of your sister. We're all in this together.

I patted G on the shoulder, which made her flush a little while she smiled to H. No, wait... that was a victorious smile. Uh oh, had I gotten myself into more trouble than I imagined? What if the twins were both brats?

Let's head out. We already have to wait for the train...

Actually, I'll stay here with H. I need to be here to talk to the others about all of this when they'll be back too.

I nodded and, without further ado, the twin and I went down the stairs. Truth be told, I picked G because I thought she might've been the key to a mystery or two, and she was nicer overall.

:cripes: And now I'm cutting another small snippet of narration because Simon sucks! All you need to know is he realizes the first station they'll be coming to is the pool, and then he gets really awkward and stuck in his head about it like a loving weirdo!!! And it serves no narrative purpose whatsoever, besides making me want to go back to the reactor so I can throw him in a few more times. :negative: So I'm excising the worst of it both for my own personal comfort but also to not subject all of you to that poo poo.

Oh, the train's coming!

I jumped onto the earliest chance to get out of this moment and pointed at the tunnel. The train was, thankfully, coming for real. As it arrived here, I moved towards it with exaggerated steps, making very little effort to actually hide my embarrassment.

We should go inside and leave as soon as possible! Don't you think?



I forced myself to calm down as I entered.

BGM: Silence
The train didn't take too long to set off towards our new destination. As the train went, I didn't know what to think, so I closed my eyes with my arms crossed. Many times it stopped at a station, opened its doors, closed them, and drove away again. On the way between the Stars and the pool, something pulled me out of my sitting nap.

You know, you're not talking too much. Don't you want to know more about me?

I mean, it's just... we're going to the pool, right?

So what? It's not like I'll get into a swimsuit. Is that's what's making you feel so nervous?

I mean... yeah.

I don't really care. You're the only one talking this like it's some kind of capital crime. Wise up, we're not going to jail.

Well, you certainly aren't.

No, neither of us is. Look, the station's coming.

:cripes:

BGM: Abyssal Snarl


The door was already closed and locked. In a way, that made me feel better. I wouldn't have to accompany G in that place. On the other hand, this was also problematic.

M and Ray kept going? What the heck? I can't believe they didn't even choose to come back.

We probably just missed them too... if only we'd been here a little earlier. Then again, it could be A and E... if they stopped at a station that was already open, went up the stairs, and came back down the other side. However, I don't think that's right. It would have taken too long, no?

There's no way to figure it out right now, so I guess we're going to the recreation room!



BGM: Silence
As the train drove off again, G asked me.

Ah, uh, I think...



This choice doesn't matter, so we're choosing the first option.

It's going to be a casino, I think. Tons of slot machines, big gambling stuff. A place that kids aren't allowed in, in fact!

Huff, I'd be fine in a casino.

You say that right now but who knows, really? There's a reason kids arent allowed in casinos.

And stop calling me a kid. I'm a teen, and I'm mature enough.

I couldn't really argue against that. She was right; I needed to treat her better.



No problem! Why specifically a casino, though? I mean, it could be any sort of recreation stuff. Like a games' room with a bar, darts, chessboards and checkers.

I dunno. I guess I just have a hunch about it? Truth be told, all of those things have an equal chance to be there too. But I don't think there will be a bar.

And why not?

We already have another room with a bar. I think all of them will be different.

I guess that makes sense... No matter what, we'll get some games to play at least!

I refrained from saying that she still had traits similar to her sister's even if she hid them well.

The station's coming!

BGM: Ambient Strain


As we stepped onto the station proper, I snapped my fingers.

Oh yeah, I forgot to ask...

I took out the paper I found in the other room I explored. I decided to share it with her, thinking she might've had an idea of who didn't “belong”.

:v: I think the creator forgot he already had us show G this slip during the lounge section earlier. Whoops!

I found this paper. Do you know what it might refer to?

G read what was written on it, but all that greeted me when I stared at her was a dumbfounded shrug.

Hmm... I don't think so? I mean, when you think about it... Don't we all fit those criteria? We don't belong together. No, wait... when you really think about it... it's even worse!



Uh... I guess J? I know J.

Don't you know M, too? You seemed familiar with him.

Right, I also know M. Wait, that doesn't...

That didn't work. For this to fit what G was saying, we had to be in pairs. The twins and the eccentrics worked together, but the rest didn't split into two by two.

I don't know... I think I need to think about what this means. What about the lower half? It's in capitals, and it has some grammatical errors in it.

That's weird. Maybe it's written this way on purpose? Like if those letters needed to be there somehow?

You think it's like... an anagram?



Not an enneagram, an anagram.

Banana gram, got it.

Listen, whatever its name is, we should solve it...

Yeah, but we don't have that luxury right now. Let's go up! Maybe this place will really be a movie theater and they'll have all sorts of weird stuff!

Weird like what?

Adult videos!

:cripes:

BGM: Accelerated Scuffle


Quickly, I ran inside. Behind me, the door closed.

Hey, don't you dare watch those adult videos!

It's okay, there aren't any videos. Come up and take a look.

I climbed up the stairs. Up there, I found...

BGM: Agoraphobic Sloth


Well, then. This is a casino.

Yeah. This is a casino.

We both sighed, a little deflated by the outcome. Wait, she sighed too?

Did you really hope there would be...

Hey, hey! You did it too! You sighed like you were disappointed!

We each pointed at each other accusingly, as if we were two burglars who had separately chosen to rob the same place at the same time.

:cripes:

Let's just... forget about it and get a move on. The door closed downstairs, right?



Oh, no... That sounds a lot more dangerous than I thought.

I doubt there's anyone else here, but you should be careful. Maybe there are traps, so let's not get shot.

Okay, you can stop implying there are guns here, too!

I patted the twin reassuringly before we split up to look around this place.



BGM: Auxiliary Search


As always, first thing in a new place is we check the map.



This time, though, before we start investigating, I'm gonna talk to Greta. Might as well rip that bandaid off now considering how the conversations in this update have been going so far :negative:

So... it's your first time in a casino, I assume.

Yeah, it is. My parents told me never to come to these places.

With good reason. You know these establishments are made to make money like most companies do, but this is like... really... not good. For example, you know the colors around here? They're usually set to be pleasant to the eye. They want you to forget the time when you enter a casino, so there are no windows.



Some people make money, most lose it. The house always comes out on top overall. Individually, you might win, but as a group, the house beats us.

So... if everyone stopped playing to stop the house from making money, then it would close?

Yeah, it wouldn't win anymore. The chances of it happening are below zero, though. In fact, the opposite will probably happen if people tried.

What do you mean?

People are greedy. If fewer people play, that just means they have the field open. The more egocentric ones would just take the opportunity. It's all a psychological game, because... When those guys win, everyone wants to win.



Maybe.

I was truly hoping it wouldn't come to that.

Alright! Now to start poking around. I'm gonna start with the bookshelf on the right.



Did you find a key or something?

A key to open a bookshelf? This feels familiar, somehow.

So you did?

No, I didn't find anything, but I bet you can get a key if you participate in the games around here. There's the billiards table, the roulette table, and the slot machine...

Yeah, maybe. Alright then, let's focus on those things for now.

Next, the vase.

These vases must be worth a fortune...

They don't look so expensive. I think they're made of clay?

Vases... vases... ceramic vases?

Are you listening to me? Hello?



I took one up.

Hey, be careful with Ser Ramic!

Is Ser Ramic poor, you think?

I shook the vase a little. There was no sound.

Maybe his sister got all the inheritance.

No, his sister wasn't on the will of their deceased father. He hated her, in fact.

I had to check for myself if her claim was true.



We'll save that for later. Next is that entrance in the middle.

I saw the twin coming back through that opening.

Found anything?

No, only bathrooms. I don't even know if the toilets work here. You think Smiley installed all the plumbing necessary for it to be functional?

Only one way to find out. You know how they call toilets “thrones”?

Insert stock toilet flush sfx here :v:

This right now was a royal flush. The jackpot is ours.

Certainly enough, the toilet worked. The twin was not very amused at my joke.



I looked around. She was right... kind of.

The slot machines are mostly in groups of two, there are two roulette tables, two bookshelf halves, two pedestals with pots, two couches in corners, two paintings on each side of the room, two bathrooms...

But it doesn't have two counters and two ceiling ornaments.

Yeah, those two are different from each other, but we might just be able to count them as two oddities.

While she stopped talking, I couldn't help but thinking she was relating it to her own situation. Most likely, she was thinking about her sister. They formed a pair. Just like almost everything in this room, they formed a pair of twins, in fact.

Next, the painting.



All it did was remind me of the outdoors. Since I was trapped in here, it was taunting me.

The light fixture.

That's pretty cool. I like the jagged edges. They remind me of a flower.

I don't see it. It's too square-like.

Haven't you heard of pixel art?

Picks el art? Is that Spanish or something?

No, pixel art. It's computer-made... Pixels are what appears on screen and they're square. You can pile them up and eventually form shapes.

I'd rather have a real flower.

She reached up to the one she had on her shoulder strap and toyed with it a little.



No... it's just a little plastic thing. I wish it was real, but it would stop looking good after a little while on my clothing like that. I like natural things.

That must've been why she had spent half her time looking at the portraits around this place.

The counter to the left.

That would be where they'd give us our chips if there would've been anybody working in this place today. Alas, it seemed the staff all took their day off on the same day.

Imagine leaving your entire establishment to run itself for an entire day. People would break stuff and leave when left without supervision.

What are you talking about?

Oh, nothing. I just had a stupid thought about the working hours of the employees in this establishment totally not set up to drain your entire bank account within a single day.



Maybe she was right.

Okay, all that's left are the actual casino games, and then we can check out that other vase! Guess we can start with the slot machines on the far left.

I looked around the place back there, but I could only spy a lot of slot machines, set up in perpendicular rows. Everything was built so you kept running into more.

So the rumors are true... your steps are interrupted every once in a while, so your eyes are forced to look at another slot machine. It's set up to tempt you into playing... Alas, I don't have any credits. I'll come back when I'm a little, hmm, richer.

According to one of the machines, they took two credits. Exactly two. Not one and a half, not two and a quarter, exactly two.

Next, the billiards tables.



Maybe I have to do it with the cue as one would play a normal game?

I tried that too. I put all the balls in their correct positions and aimed with the cue. Right on cue, G came up behind me and pushed onto my elbow, causing me to miss my shot and send the white ball into a pit.

Hey!

I tried that earlier. These tables seem to be here just for fun.

Could have still let me play, you know?

Do you really want to, though? Didn't you just do it because you thought it might help? You know that doing it more won't make you win more.

You're right- I guess I wouldn't want to fall in the gambler's fallacy.

What's that?



For example, if I played the slot machines and after ten losses in a row, I'd think my chances of winning are higher to “equalize” the field back to a balance of zero. As if each minus would need a plus, too. In reality, the chances of winning are still the same every time. It's not any luckier to get heads on a coin than it is to get tails even if you get tails five times in a row.

Yeah, you'd know about bad luck in getting head.

:cripes: :negative: :yikes:

What the...

Hahahah!

She completely disregarded my explanation and vacated the immediate area to not suffer reprisals. I guess this point went to G, though, considering the fact I became annoyed at her insult.

Kids these days... No decency.

I took my mind off it before I started talking even more like a grandpa. My mind instead went back to my explanation about gambler's fallacy.



I took a glance at the table I'd set up. If I knocked the white ball into them, one had a pretty fair chance of making it inside.

But is it worth all of the ones that didn't make it in? Is the payoff important enough?

:negative: Okay... All that's left is the roulette table.

Normally, one would spin the wheel and let the ball fall onto the results, but without credits, there wasn't even a ball inside. I needed to grab those, first. According to what was written on the machine, it needed two credits.

Okay, time to check out the vase.



I can hear a ding-ding noise.

Ser Amy?! Did you take your brother's inheritance money?

I flipped the vase upside down and the coins fell out. Two of them rolled onto the ground. Certainly, these would be credits we could use here.



If only they'd be here for real, they could get us out of here.

At least we're not on a sinking ship or something.

Or trapped in a school...

Yeah, that's even worse! Imagine having to do mathematics for the rest of your life!

It seemed that was a fear we both shared. I pocketed the credits.



Finding these opens up a few more things we can look at again, so lets start with the couch since that's new.

I don't need more change, even if I could bet this couch contained more. As much as I'd like to search everything... sometimes it's best to bet on something safe.

Not everything has to be a gamble. Besides, you can search the couch really fast.

She threw the cushions away, looked underneath them, and placed them back there afterwards.

See? There was nothing. Instead of thinking about it philosophically, you should just try your hand at doing a bit of menial work. It'll save you time and a headache.

I didn't need to be told life lessons by a teenager!

Okay, I guess the slot machines next?

Alright, it's time to play!

Are you sure that's good? Won't you just lose the credits if you play badly?

Play badly? You can't play badly at this. It's all a game of chance. I don't think we'd get locked out of the solution to the room, though.

Be that as it may, it might also be a better idea to not pick the completely random game out of the lot and lose our credits like that.



She had a point. I figured I should've gone and given both a glance before I picked which I'd play.

Case in point, let's look at the roulette table first.

Okay. Maybe I can put the coins in here and let chance decide if we make it out. Wait... isn't that too dangerous?

You worry too much. Clearly, the credits are made to go somewhere. Where else than these tables?

I mean, I still have this coin I found in the bedroom earlier. I could try it.

It was too big. It couldn't fit.



Before I do anything hasty, I want to make sure there's nowhere else I can use them for. If we lose these coins, we're toast.

We can't be toast if we're not bread.

I shook my head and glanced over at the slot machines. Those could take the credits too, no doubt. Which one was the correct option?



This is a “choice” for some reason, but it literally doesn't matter, you get the key whichever one you go for. So we're gonna go for the slot machine! :v:

This is probably still our best bet, I guess. Okay, go for it.

I didn't want to let G do it, but the little scamp had swiped my credits on my way to the machines.

You owe me for this thievery, though. Got it?

Whatever you say, gramps.

I wasn't nearly old enough to be a grandpa. I balled my hands into fists as she opened hers to slide the coins into the machine. With a single pull of the lever, everything lined up quickly.

Well, that's lucky.

No, you stupid butt. It's made this way! Why would they make us lose and waste our time?

A key fell into the chute down below. G took it with a big grin.



We need it to finish escaping this room...

I'll keep it after, though.

Oh, do whatever. You little scamps can't be controlled anyway.

I'm not a scamp.

I'm not a grandpa!

Hmph... Truce?

There was never a war to begin with.

She agreed to those terms, even if they weren't really terms for a truce.

And now we can unlock the bookcase!



Come here, G! We need that key.

G came by when I called for her. At least she wasn't disobedient enough to disregard a potential lead to escaping this hellhole. She inserted the key and turned it, unlocking the doors. I opened them and looked at the books inside more closely.

That's quite a lot of books. Think we have to read them to leave.

Sounds like a bore. Normally, I wouldn't be so much against it, but look at how thick some of them are! We can't solve this in any way.

Wait... the books are normally supposed to be sorted in alphabetical order, right? Maybe if I...

I replaced the books along the rows. Nothing. I thought I had been onto something, but the twin lit up at my suggestion and its failure.



Are you saying it's sexist because none of them have “she”?

:cripes:

No! I'm saying it's like a periodic table! We just need to put them in order like the periodic table.

What? There's no periodic table here. How would Smiley expect us to solve this?

I remember it like the back of my hand, so I can solve this no problem. But you're right, it's odd that we wouldn't get this kind of hint...

I took out a few of the books to make some space, and a plastic sheet fell down to the ground. G grabbed it before I could and she proceeded to laugh at it.



Yeah, your face looks like a good shake...

I muttered the words but I wasn't sure if she heard them. If she did, she said nothing while I rearranged the books according to the periodic table. Nothing happened when I placed the last book, though.

What now? Hmm... The side of the books don't only have letters, but numbers too. Wait, why did you think we should put them in order of the periodic table instead of numerical order first?

There just aren't enough numbers. Altogether, only nine books are labeled with a number, and now, from the order we put them in, it's nine, six, two, eight, three...

Seven, one, five, four. This might be the code to the keypads, then, 962837154. That's a pretty long number, think you can remember it?

I can try, but you should try too.



There was a third lock which I took care of, leading to the scanner gate. Of course, that was a dead end right now.

BGM: Agoraphobic Sloth
I was deflated by our lack of findings. The fact we hadn't uncovered anything new was fairly frustrating. In the other room I explored, I had found some paper, and I still had the hammer, gone unused so far. In this one, nada. There had just been nothing.

Maybe we should go back and meet with the others now. They might have found something.

Maybe... but shouldn't we keep going, too? If they keep this up, we'll run out of stations.

She interrupted my thoughts by offering an alternative. Normally, I wouldn't have considered it, but with the others still doing as they pleased...

Not to mention, going back empty-handed isn't really productive.

I'll think about it.

And with that, we end the worst update in this entire LP. It's all uphill from here, folks. :cripes:

Quackles
Aug 11, 2018

Pixels of Light.




Mix. posted:

At least we're not on a sinking ship or something.

Or trapped in a school...

How are they getting this information, anyway? Through the morphogametic field?
Or maybe in a past life, Simon was a super-duper at surviving high school. :v:

Mix.
Jan 24, 2021

Huh? What?





BGM: Agoraphobic Sloth


If we were to go to a new station, this was probably the best way to go, too. The other side- further westward- had nothing left but the reactor. That sounded far too dangerous for me to want to explore it with G.

By the way, thanks for talking with me and accompanying me in the escape room.

Hmm? What do you mean?

Well... I don't want to go too much into the details, but my sister has a habit of doing things without consulting me. That has led to... bad events in the past. For once, it's just nice to get along with someone who doesn't think I need to be shielded or sheltered for that matter.

I realized at that point that G had been acting this way this entire time because she wanted to get out of H's shadow. Maybe she felt inferior to H. It had been clear as crystal that the twins cared for each other, and yet it was also clear that H was always in the forefront. She was always the twin who spoke first, always the twin who did something first.

Was it for safety? Was it because H wanted the spotlight? I wasn't sure anymore.



Huh? What do you mean?

Your favorite color. I wanna know what it is.

That's a little out of left field. Does that have anything to do with...

No, no, it's just banter. It doesn't have anything to do with our situation. I'm just wondering. Isn't it nicer to be talking about something normal for once? Come on, even you must know that much! You're older and wiser than I am, right?

I mean... I guess. Okay, um, I guess I like green. But I kind of like all of them equally.

I don't like green. I don't know why, I just don't. It gives me the creeps. Makes me feel... really... really bad.



I think I used to like it... but now I like warm colors more, I guess. Nothing to do with your answer, don't worry.

She averted her gaze nonetheless for a short moment. We were waiting for the train to arrive, but it was taking a while. If it was on the other side, it would take a while to get here...

Hmm... I still fail to see the purpose of the question.

:v: It's called “small talk”, Simon.

You're right, the color doesn't really matter. What do you like to eat, then?

Didn't you just agree that it didn't really matter?

Yes, I did, but I want to know other things then.

It was her turn to look mildly offended for reasons beyond my understanding.

:cripes:



It's all just for fun. You didn't forget what that was, right? Fun?

I wasn't heartless, so I decided to play into it a little.

Okay, okay! I like sandwiches.

That's so basic! Nothing else? That's your pick? Of all the possibilities, you picked sandwiches? Why not like... pizza? Pizza's cool, I love pizza!

Oh yeah, I thought, who didn't like pizza, huh? Everyone loved pizza!

I don't. I hate pizza.



No, I don't like it exactly for those reasons.

I tapped the logo I had on my outfit.

I deliver pizzas and I have to deal with pizzas all day when I work. It's always pizza, pizza, pizza. Pizza delivery, pizza preparation, cooking pizzas in ovens, and always there's the stench of pizza everywhere. When I'm on break, I smell like pizza, and when I come home, the outfit has to be washed because it's all pizza, all the time.



It was supposed to be a part-time job... but now... I'm in too deep. I don't know when I'll finally get to quit this job and do what I wanted.

G stared, mildly horrified at my outburst. I calmed down and sighed to reassure her.

Sorry, I guess I was a bit harsh. It's not like it really has anything to do with you though. They're my problems, so I shouldn't put them on your shoulders.

No, it's okay. I know what it's like to do something you don't want to do.

What do you mean?

But she remained silent from that point on. As the train had arrived, we had to take it. I followed after her.

BGM: Ambient Strain


G was right, in a way, about the fact going back empty-handed wouldn't be useful for anybody, but she forgot that each station didn't always have something. Already we'd seen it with the first stations: the pantry had food, but nothing useful. The library? Same thing. The bedroom had the papers I found, and the Stars had the maps, but the others didn't contain anything special.

Evidenced by our meager findings, it only proved the fact many stations would have nothing. There was an equal chance Jasmine and H had also left the lounge. Perhaps heading back to it was a waste. On the other hand, if they were still there, then not going back would cost me points with Jasmine. She'd probably get angry. Was I going to chance it...?



We're going to be continuing on for this update.

I chose not to return to the lounge before we found anything.

Let's keep going. I thought about it, and it would be better if we just continued.

So you agree, then?

Yes.

BGM: Silence


The train was already setting off. I looked over at the twin, considering her arguments from earlier. Was this really fair? I looked down at my hands. This decision wasn't like me. It was as if... some kind of mystical force was guiding me. I closed my hands in fists and opened them again. I still had control over my body, and yet...

What's the matter?

I don't know. Something strange... I don't know. I just feel strange.

Can you explain it?

It's like... you know when you're dreaming? You do whatever you want in the dream, but it's not really something you consciously do. And then, sometimes, you understand you're in a dream. It's like that. It's like I'm dreaming, and I just now understood that I am.



BGM: Algorithm Simile
The train ceased its movements at the pool. The doors opened, but I continued talking, since we were far from our destination, which was the gym on the absolute opposite end.

I would if I could, G. It's not like that- that's not what I meant. It's more like, your every action up to now had been determined by your subconscious. Only after you “realize” you're in a dream do you have some kind of control.

You did something you didn't want to?

BGM: Silence
The chime rang out as the train closed its doors to set off again.

Other than delivering pizzas? I mean, yeah. Just now, in fact. I suggested we kept going, but I don't know why... it doesn't line up with what I'd normally do.

You know, if you just wanted to change your mind, you could just tell me, and not need to go through a life story to get there...

No, no, that's not it at all! Inside of my head, I get the reasoning. It just doesn't feel like... me.

I slumped down into a seat. G wasn't sure where I was getting with this, so I abandoned the chase. And yet, what about her? It was also unlike her to continue without her sister.



I decided to close my eyes and rest until we'd arrive at the gym.

….............

BGM: Algorithm Simile
As we stopped at the leisure station, something caught my attention.

Hey, isn't that... A?

The old man was barreling down the stairs and lunged into the train before it left. Clearly exhausted from the sprint, he panted, slowly rising up to his feet.

Oh, I hadn't thought you'd be here. What a surprise!

Um...

What did you run away from?

BGM: Silence
He paused to let the chime ring out first. As the train set off, he took a seat to ensure his security instead of falling off balance.



Nothing in particular. I just didn't want to miss the train!

There was something wrong with him. I could tell G shared my suspicions. First of all, he was here alone, and his hand was tightly gripping his bag. As if it contained something very important.

Did you find the ninth person?

Oh, that? No, not at all.

Are you sure?

Of course! In fact, I was going to the next station. I have not found the ninth person, but perhaps something else that may help us...

The next station was the security one. I found it somewhat odd he wanted to go there.

Where's E?



Well, I didn't have business with her specifically, but we hadn't seen other people for a while...

Ahh, yes. That is true. I wondered about that myself... Oh, my stop is here! Let us meet again soon.

BGM: Ambient Strain
With a bow, the man left the train once the doors opened. I looked at G with a quirked eyebrow. She seemed as lost as I was.

That was something. Anyway, let's continue to that gymnasium place.

Yeah.

Nothing else of note was really said until we arrived at that station.

…................

BGM: Alarming Silence


Again?!

How many stations have been explored now? Did we miss all of the remaining ones?

BGM: Silence
The train departed from the station once more, heading even further inside. I closed my hands in fists, feeling my annoyance grow. How many stations were left?

Maybe we should've just gone to the reactor.

Yeah. If I'd known this would happen...

Nothing we could predict.



The whole time, I clenched my teeth. Was this Marco's doing? Did he betray me and explore every single station without my knowing? I would know soon, no doubt.

BGM: Alarming Situation
We arrived at the church in silence. Once again, the door on the station was closed.

Oh, this is ridiculous now! Is there only the theater left?!

I hit my hand onto the window, giving it a worrying crack. I pulled away almost instantly, thinking it wouldn't be good if I broke it; the wind from the train's movement would be terrible.

I don't know... I feel strange, like I shouldn't go here.

Huh?



Are you precognitive now?

I don't think so. That's all just a load of bull anyway. But... do you mind if you go check around first?

BGM: Silence
The train's chime rang out and the doors closed anew. I nodded at G.

Okay. When we get there, let's step off and I'll look around.

I couldn't help but think it strange how she wanted to be protected, all of a sudden, when she told me before that she liked the fact I didn't necessarily believe she needed protection. I quieted my thoughts. Perhaps the girl was simply scared. I... kind of was, too. The fewer stations remained, the fewer opportunities to find the ninth person existed as well. I would've lost all my chances at escape soon.

BGM: Ambient Strain


Okay, I'll head upstairs, and you wait here for a bit.

Okay. Be back quickly.

I looked through the open door of the lobby. Upon stepping in, I realized the doors didn't close behind me. That was strange. Despite that, the train left the station.



It wasn't a very detailed exploration, but one nonetheless. It confirmed something terrible. A chill ran up my spine when I realized what the dead ends in the hallway outside of the room meant. There was no way to go to the other side of the station. This meant once you got off the train for this one... you couldn't go back. Either you left through the exit, or you stayed trapped inside. That was incredibly bad news.

This doesn't make any sense...

I wandered back down the stairs to share the news with the twin. Once I was out, I called for G.

Hey, where are you?

BGM: Abyssal Snarl


Out of the corner of my eyes, I spied one of those dark tunnels with a locked grid. Maybe she had escaped through one of those? I wandered into the darkness. I couldn't see anything.

Hey, G, are you here?

The ground was softer here for some reason. There was a step I had to climb, but just one. Blindly touching around the gate, I finally found there was some kind of lock. Even if I messed with it, I couldn't open it. I decided G had not come this way, then.

Huh... she must've not come here. What is this step, anyway?

I stepped back and touched it. It was soft, and it had cloth on it. This wasn't a step. It was someone.



I grabbed her arm. She was not breathing.

Oh no! Oh no, oh no... No!!

I dragged her body back outside of the dark hallway. It was covered in blood- the same as my shoes. The girl had been stabbed.

What...? But there was no train... who...?

I wouldn't find the answer to this question. Not now, or ever.





I wanted to see who killed me. For a moment, I thought whatever killed me might've not been someone, but the knife was pulled out. A second stab hit me and I passed away.





Mix.
Jan 24, 2021

Huh? What?



Next update'll probably be later today because these two are really short and, again, I didn't really want to make them one update for consistency's sake.

Leraika
Jun 14, 2015

slime time



gotta have a knife end, huh

MagusofStars
Mar 31, 2012




Simon is just such a tool. I can understand the initial confusion about the color question because it's out of nowhere, but after that seriously wtf.

Quackles
Aug 11, 2018

Pixels of Light.




Leraika posted:

gotta have a knife end, huh

Like, knya-ife. :v:

Mix.
Jan 24, 2021

Huh? What?





This time, we're choosing the other option- to return to the lounge instead of going to a new station. :v: Also, double update because these are short and it took me basically no time to finish this one.

BGM: Ambient Strain
G was right, in a way, about the fact going back empty-handed wouldn't be useful for anybody, but she forgot that each station didn't always have something. Already we'd seen it with the first stations: the pantry had food, but nothing useful. The library? Same thing. The bedroom had the papers I found, and the Stars had the maps, but the others didn't contain anything special.

Evidenced by our meager findings, it only proved the fact many stations would have nothing. There was an equal chance Jasmine and H had also left the lounge. Perhaps heading back to it was a waste. On the other hand, if they were still there, then not going back would cost me points with Jasmine. She'd probably get angry. Was I going to chance it...?



Maybe we should go back and share info with the others first. Remember, it's also possible other people came back. A and E left before we did, and J and H might still be there talking to the two of them, if they came back before your sister and my friend left. You could talk to your sister a while.

G saw the logic behind my idea and she nodded, determined.

BGM: Silence


I, too, wanted to see other places, but even if we went to a new station, nothing stopped us from checking up on the lounge first. The both of us settled in silence, having little to say that we hadn't said. The ride was fairly long since we had to go through five total stations. On the way, I checked to see if the pool was open. G probably didn't notice, but I did- the doors were unlocked. I thought M and Ray might've come back to the lounge after this. I couldn't be certain, since I couldn't check the reactor with this train. I'd have needed to be on the other side.

BGM: Agoraphobic Sloth


Did you notice? M and Ray left their station earlier. They might be in here now.

I walked out of the train, only to be knocked to the side by someone who'd been in a hurry to get in. They were alone.

Oof! Hey! Watch where you're going! Wait... who is this?

The chime rang out as I turned around. I looked through the windows, but I didn't notice who it was. The doors closed and the train drove off. The person went and hid themselves immediately after pushing me aside?

What a strange event. Anyway, let's go up and see the others.

BGM: Alarming Silence
But G wasn't there.



Some noise from the staircase grabbed my attention. I cautiously approached.

Hello? Is someone there? What's happening here?

Suddenly, a shape lunged from the staircase, coming right at me. I shielded myself with my arms, trying to fend them off, but all they did was... hug me? I looked at them. It was E.



I couldn't answer her. Yet, for some unknown reason, warmth spread through me when she fell onto me. Considering her state, the blind and deaf girl tripped on the way down. We'd both fallen onto the ground. Rising up from the cold, hard floor, I helped E back up so her soft, warm body wouldn't have to lay in such a grotesque position anymore.

:cripes:

I don't... I don't know who this is, sorry, sorry! But please, you have to stop him! He's going to destroy everything!

Who? Who will do that? Smiley?

But I couldn't communicate with her. All my questions received no answer. One thing I knew, though: she could be trusted. I knew I would've helped her no matter what she would've asked of me. Stopping this aggressor was also in my favor. She thrashed lightly, but I helped her to stand back up and then to sit on the stairs.



I couldn't understand exactly what was happening, but under her frantic demand, I didn't really have a choice. Judging by what she said, something big was happening... Maybe I was the only one who could stop it. I braced my hands on the back of my head. My knees turned into jelly and my legs shook slightly. This responsibility was... very... suffocating...

Could I really do it? I wasn't really anyone who could do that kind of thing. I wasn't really a hero.

This is... this is too much... How will I even find them...? Maybe if G was here... or H... or Jasmine....

I looked up into the staircase. I could just head up and fetch them, Ray or Marco. However... I had to get a move on if the situation was this problematic!



No answer.

BGM: Alarming Situation
As I pondered on the best course of action to take, a sudden tremor hit the station. I fell down to my knees and rolled onto the ground, noticing E was holding onto the stairs to stop herself from falling over.

What was that loving explosion?! It felt really drat close!

He's doing it! He's going to destroy it all! No, no, no... not with us inside... we're all done for...!

Witnessing that panicked state, I had no choice. I wasn't going to wait for the others. I needed to deal with this problem now.

Okay... okay... ugh, I think I broke my ankle...

Slowly, I rose up to one foot. I sauntered back to the station side.



Maybe they made it... but who? E said “him”, so it was a guy... Marco, Ray, or A? I guess... the likeliest one would be A? I don't think Marco can make bombs... and Ray... no, wait, Ray might be able to. But why?

I waited, in the silence of a lack of answers.

It took a while, but I caught up to the intruder I saw earlier. I followed the stations until I reached the first one that the train wouldn't move from. That station was the theater.



It wasn't Jasmine or E. The only person it could've been was a twin. However, they were adorned with a most peculiar article of clothing. It was reminiscent of...

BGM: Abyssal Snarl
Smiley...?

Casting my glance down to the lobby, which was open, I saw another body: the other twin was there. Dead. Immediately, my stomach sank. From the doorway, I could spy some rubble, too. She had been caught in an explosion.

Was it... was it you who...?





Urgh! Aghk! My ankle! What are you doing?!



G...? Is that the twin who died?

The other one didn't reply to my question.

Is this H? Did you... did you kill your sister? Was it you who blew up the station above? Wait, are you... are you Smiley? Why would you do that?

I had too many questions. The figure had no answer for me. There was a clear, hostile intent coming from her. She watched me, completely motionless. It was as if she was a life-sized figure.

The destruction of property to this extent isn't allowed. Termination engaged.

Wait, wait! Do you think I...



I didn't do anything, I don't know what you're talking about! I'm here to stop the person who was going to blow it up, I swear!

While talking, I had begun crawling over to try and raise myself over the side of the station again, very carefully avoiding the electrified tracks. However, whenever I moved, the twin stepped to block my way.

Let me up... Let me up, H! What are you doing? Are you really H? Who are you? What do you want? I just want to get up... Listen, it would only take a second, and I could fall and electrocute myself! Let me up!!





You gotta be loving kidding me...



Maybe... maybe this will work if I believe hard enough!

It didn't take very long. The train arrived, and...



The sheer force dismembered me and the collar broke under the strength of the train. I became one yet many. One person yet may pieces, all scattered around the station.





Quackles
Aug 11, 2018

Pixels of Light.




So wait. Smiley twin was one of the clones from the reactor room, right?

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Leraika
Jun 14, 2015

slime time



She's talking all robotty, whatever it may mean.

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