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CLOVER; END

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CLOVER: What did you choose, Sigma?

SIGMA:? You didn't see me push the button?

CLOVER:? No...

SIGMA:? Huh.? Well, you'll know in a moment.? Let's go.

[I gave her a light pat on the shoulder and headed toward the wall where the results would be displayed.]

K+Alice B - B Dio (6+1 / 6)

Luna+Phi A - A Tenmyouji (3+8 / 3)

Sigma+Clover A - A Quark (8+8 / 8)

CLOVER:? So you chose "ally," huh?

SIGMA:? Yeah.? Quark is sick, a kid, and unable to vote.? I couldn't bring myself to betray someone like that.

CLOVER:? Thank you...

SIGMA:? No need to thank me.? I only did what anyone would have.? So you guys chose "ally" too, huh?

PHI:? Of course.? Tenmyouji had only 1 BP left, and he was guaranteed to vote "ally". So, there's no way we could betray somebody in that position.

LUNA: If we had, then he'd.. he'd...

SIGMA: Yeah, you didn't have much choice.

[Alice, K, and Dio, on the other hand, seemed to have had a less pleasant round.]

ALICE: Hey!? What the hell is your problem?!? You're either crazy or just an asshole!? Were you trying to kill me?!

DIO: No, nothing like that.

ALICE: Well then what was it "like"?! If we'd voted "ally," I'd..

K: You would be dead.? The needles in your bracelet would have activated, killing you.

DIO: See?? That's exactly what I'm talking about. I didn't think there was any way in hell you guys would choose "ally," not with Alice's BP at 1. The only way you could possibly vote was "betray." Picking "ally" when I knew you guys would pick "betray" would have been suicide.

ALICE: You can't die, you've got 6 BP!

DIO: Well, maybe not immediately, no. But I would have been signing my own death warrant. Heck, not just mine.. Everyone except K's.

ALICE: Wh-what?

DIO: Didn't you think it through? Your vote was always going to be "betray." Let's say I was a raving lunatic, and picked "ally." What would happen to K's BP?

ALICE: 6+3.. would make 9.

DIO: See? Then it'd be game over. Life over. He'd open the number nine door and blow this popsicle stand. And that'd leave us twisting in the wind, living out the rest of our miserable lives stuck in this place. You see? That's why I chose "betray." I did it to save all our necks. Including yours.

[Alice gritted her teeth and scowled fiercely at Dio, apparently trying to think of a rebuttal, before finally snorting indignantly and stalking away.? Shortly thereafter the warehouse was filled with the rumbling sound of the doors sliding shut.]

ANNOUNCER: The Ambidex Gates have closed. Round three of the Ambidex Game will be the Star Round. Star keys are required to open the gates. There is no set limit on usage of the star keys. The Ambidex Gates can be opened as many times as the players wish to open them.

SIGMA: As many times as we want, huh? Then, that means..

CLOVER: We can play the AB Game is many times as we want. Right?

DIO: Hey, didn't Zero Jr. say something about this?

ZERO (flashback): As soon as the gates close, your colors get all shuffled up automatically. The pair and solo assignments hop around a bit too.

DIO: Yeah, he did. Can you guys all show me your bracelets?? I want to see what all our colors and groups are this time.

[Within moments a series of wrists were extended for me to examine.]

SIGMA: I see.? Luna and Clover are a cyan pair, and Phi and Alice are a magenta pair.? The remaining three are all solos.? K is red, Dio is green, and I'm blue. So how are the groups supposed to work for the next round?? I think the next doors are going to be those white ones down in the floor B warehouse..

PHI: Yeah, I heard about those. Alice told me about them while we were waiting here for you and Clover. I think I've got them figured out.

SIGMA: Yeah. So, lay it out for us. How are the groups going to shake out this time?

[Phi nodded and began to explain.

A: Tenmyouji, Quark, and Sigma open a white door. Phi, Alice and Dio open a white door.? Luna, Clover and K open a white door.]

K: Oh?? Is there only one option?

PHi:? Yes.? No other combinations would be able to open the secondary doors.? Admittedly, Tenmyouji and Quark aren't here for us to check, but I'm sure they're the yellow pair. If they weren't, then Sigma would be stuck without anybody he could pair up with.

ALICE: Oh God... I never thought I'd have to put up with Dio again..

DIO: Well, you just didn't think hard enough then.? Sooner or later, everybody puts up with Dio. Wait..

ALICE: Hmph.

LUNA: So, um, what should we do now...? It looks like we have a lot of time until the primary doors open...

SIGMA: Yeah, about 80 minutes.

PHI: I'm worried about Quark's condition. Those pods can't cure Radical-6. He still needs help.

ALICE: Well, we don't have anything to lose, so we might as well look for that medicine... Axelavir, right?

PHI: Yeah. What about the rest of you?

LUNA: Oh, I'll help!

K: As will I.

CLOVER: Me too.

DIO: Guh.. fine. I guess I can help.

PHI: What about you, Sigma?

SIGMA: Of course I'll help. What kind of a jerk wouldn't?

PHI: Okay, we should split up and search.

[After some discussion, Dio and K were assigned to the pantry, Luna and Alice to the treatment center, and Clover, Phi and myself to the pressure exchange chamber.]

K: Shall we regroup in the floor B warehouse 10 minutes before the doors open?

[We all nodded. K turned to Alice and Luna.]

K: You are going to the treatment center, correct?

ALICE: Yes.

K: Then please remember to tell Tenmyouji where we intend to meet, and when.

LUNA: Okay.

K: You must also remember to bring Quark with you. I am concerned about removing him from the pod, but it can't be helped. Without Quark's bracelet, Sigma and Tenmyouji will be unable to open the secondary door.

ALICE: Right.

PHI: Good, looks like we've got that all straightened out. Let's go!

[With a final nod to one another we split up, each team heading in a different direction.]

SIGMA: So.. this is the pressure exchange chamber.

PHI: No, this is the prep room. There are two levels. The actual pressure exchange chamber is downstairs.

CLOVER: How do you know that?

PHI: Alice told me. She was one of the people who investigated this room.

SIGMA: Did you talk to her while you were waiting for us back in the warehouse?

PHI: Yeah.

SIGMA: Well, let's head downstairs then.

CLOVER: Good idea.

[They head downstairs.]

SIGMA: So this is the real thing..

PHI: Seems like it.

SIGMA: Why do they have something like this here?

PHI: Well, this is just what Alice told me, but...

[Apparently the pressure inside the facility was a lot higher than the pressure outside. That was part of a system designed to keep the virus from getting in. It did mean, however, that we'd need to go through a decompression process in order to get outside.]

PHI: Remember all those suits along the wall of the prep room? Those keep you from getting infected. We won't even be able to enter the pressure exchange chamber if we don't have them on.

SIGMA: I see.. WHOA! WHOA WHOA WHOA! THEN THAT NEWSPAPER ARTICLE WAS RIGHT?!

PHI: Unfortunately that seems pretty likely.

SIGMA: So the air out there is teeming with Radical-6...

PHI: Yeah...

CLOVER: Something's been bothering me...

PHI: What is it?

CLOVER: Aren't you saying that if we put on those suits, we can go into the pressure exchange chamber and go outside, right?

PHI: Oh, no, we can't do that. The door beyond the pressure exchange chamber is locked up tight.

SIGMA: Damnit.. Just one door between us and freedom..

PHI: Well, if you look at it that way, it's the same as the number nine door.

SIGMA: Okay, yeah, but...

PHI: Whatever. We need to be focusing on finding that Axelavir. Quark needs it.

CLOVER: Yeah, you're right.

PHI: I'll go look around upstairs. You two take this floor, all right?

SIGMA: Got it.

CLOVER: Okay!

[We looked everywhere we could think of, but turned up nothing. Eventually I couldn't keep my mouth shut any longer.]

SIGMA: Hey.. what do you think the deal is with this stuff about the world being infested with some crazy virus? A pandemic seems like it would make the news, but I don't remember hearing anything...

CLOVER: ....

SIGMA: Wait a minute.. You mentioned it, didn't you? Back when Dio was asking questions? We were in the infirmary.. It was right after Quark lost it.

DIO [flashback]: Have any of you guys heard anything about any sort of viral pandemic?

CLOVER [flashback]: Well... no.. But..

SIGMA: And then Alice said..

ALICE [flashback]: I have heard rumors about a virus being used as a bioweapon...

SIGMA: So what's the rumor she was talking about? I got the feeling you and Alice were talking about the same thing.

CLOVER: ...

SIGMA: Clover.. What do you know? What are you and Alice anyway? I heard you guys belong to some sort of organization, but what is it?

[Clover was quiet for a long time. She bit her thumbnail and looked down at the floor. Then finally she lifted her head and met my eyes.]

CLOVER: Fine. I think I can trust you. Just.. don't tell Alice, okay?

SIGMA: All right.

CLOVER: Promise?

SIGMA: Promise.

[Clover nodded and began to talk. I listened with rapt attention, at a complete loss for words. Here is what she said.

Alice and I are agents of the SOIS, which is under the jurisdiction of the Department of Defense. SOIS stands for "Special Office of Internal Security", and we're an elite intelligence division that investigates potentially disruptive or dangerous elements, such as domestic or foreign terrorists, radical political splinter groups, and religious organizations with extreme agendas that could prose a threat to the state or citizenry. Our existence hasn't been made public, so there are only a few people who even know we exist.

You're probably wondering how I even got involved in something like that, huh? Well, it started when I met Alice. I told you that I've played the Nonary Game twice before, right? Well, this was after the second time.. so, about a year ago. We'd just escaped, and we were all stuffed into this SUV barreling across the desert. I was driving.. And that's when I saw her.

Alice. She was standing next to the road with her thumb out. She was already working for the SOIS, and she'd been on her way to the building we'd been trapped in as part of her investigation. But on the way there her car had broken down.. We offered to give her a ride, of course. After she got in we started talking and it turned out that Alice had gotten a tip that the terrorists she was after were in the building we'd been trapped in. We couldn't see how us playing the Nonary Game had anything to do with terrorists, but Alice had a suggestion. "Maybe the two people who trapped you in there are the terrorists.."

That didn't seem very likely to us, but we were chasing after them anyway, so we decided to bring Alice with us. Unfortunately, we didn't find them. As far as we know, they're still out there now, on the run. Anyway, we were taken back to SOIS headquarters and put into custody. I guess there had to be some kind of connection between us being kidnapped and the terrorist group they were investigating. But they must not have found anything, because after a few days of questioning they let us go.

We all went home and returned to our lives.. but things didn't go back to the way they'd been. My mom got real worried about me and my brother, since we'd gotten kidnapped twice now, so she hired bodyguards for us. Oh, I haven't told you about my brother, have I? He's super awesome, for one. And he was in both of the last two Nonary Games, too. So anyway, we've been grabbed twice.. but the people behind the two Nonary Games were totally different. That didn't matter to my mom though, so after that all these huge men in black suits followed me and my brother everywhere. It was awful. We were always being watched. People would look at us funny because we were being followed around by a bunch of creepy-looking guys. I couldn't stand it. Just when I thought I'd finally be free, all that was waiting for me was another kind of prison.

The only time I was really happy was when I was hanging out with my brother. So we were talking it over one day, and we decided to leave. Like, run away. So we did it! After that we lived on our own. I worked in a cafe, and he composed music. He plays the harp, and he started writing this kind of new-agey music. It got kinda popular, so we didn't have to worry too much about surviving. Sometimes he'd play at little venues like coffee houses and stuff, and his fans would show up and listen to him play and cry. Or some of them would meet on their own and recite stuff from the book he'd written and play his songs. I know that sounds kind of, like, weird and cult-y, but they just did that stuff on their own, okay? My brother doesn't have anything to do with it.

Anyway, we did that for a while, and then one day Alice showed up. "I need your help," she told us. "We need people who can do what you can do." So we went to the location she gave us, and it turned out to be the headquarters of the SOIS, where they'd taken us after the second Nonary Game. They put us in a room with about a dozen or so other people who were all about the same age as us. A bunch of them looked familiar, too. It only took a moment to realize how we knew each other.. they were the kids from the first Nonary Game. We were all excited to see each other again, and we were hugging and shaking hands and stuff.. and then Alice walked in.

The whole room went quiet. She walked up to the podium and looked around the room, making eye contact with each one of us. "Right now a terrorist organization is preparing for a major attack. They plan to trigger a viral pandemic. If they succeed, they will strike a massive blow against all of humanity - not just any one country. It's possible that we, as a species, will die out completely. We are doing our best to prevent this, but we need your help. You are what we call 'espers'. You have the ability to access the morphogenetic field.? We need that."

I'm guessing you don't know what any of that is, but basically we can do this thing that's kind of like telepathy. I mean, it isn't really telepathy, but that's probably the closest thing, okay? Espers can resonate their consciousness with another person through this thing called the morphogenetic field. The purpose of the first Nonary Game was to research that ability. So they kidnapped kids who had the potential to do it, and threw them into the game. Alice had gathered up all the kids from that experiment. Well, I mean, it had been nine years since it happened, so we weren't really kids anymore... Anyway, everybody she'd brought in was an esper. That included me and my brother, of course.

I bet you think I'm just making all this up, huh? I don't blame you. It is pretty crazy. I mean, I was even starting to forget I could do that stuff. So when I heard Alice's story I was like "Screw that!" I was trying to move on with my life and now some shady government creeps wanted me to use some weird ability I had for them? No way. I wasn't even sure I could do it anymore. Some of the others felt differently, though, and they told Alice they'd do it. It was a job, after all, and most people wouldn't turn down a salary like that. Oh, right, I forget to tell you, she told us how much they'd pay us if we helped. It was a lot. More wealth than you can imagine. But I was still totally against doing it. My brother told me he'd go along with whatever I decided, so I decided we were leaving.

A couple days passed, and then Alice showed up at our apartment. She didn't waste time. The people behind the first Nonary Game might have been part of the terrorist organization Alice and the SOIS were after. Wasn't that, she asked, something that I might want to know more about? That got me curious. My brother too. But the clincher was what Seven said to us. He was one of the guys that got abducted with us for the second Nonary Game. She called him on her phone right then and there, and handed it to us. "You guys are the only people who can do this. We don't know where Junpei is. He's gone off to travel the world, looking for Akane. I haven't been able to get ahold of him. Please. Just do me a favor, and help Alice out." (* Junpei = Like Seven, another participant from the second Nonary Game. Akane = One of the people behind the second Nonary Game.)

Seven was a Japanese policeman, which was probably how Alice got in touch with him. Anyway, that did it. My brother and I agreed to join the SOIS. For the next couple months, all we did was train. Half of the time it was general knowledge and technical skills an SOIS agent needed, and the other half was learning to strengthen our esper abilities. They'd actually know about espers for quite a while, and had a lot of techniques that helped us get better and stronger. After several months of hard work, we were finally ready for our first field missions.

Mine was an infiltration.? My brother stayed at the base, so I could relay information back through him. I was supposed to sneak into a research facility, posing as one of their workers, and then use the morphogenetic field to transmit what I found back to my brother. But.. everything went wrong. It was a trap. The whole research facility was fake, and I got captured. Alice had to come and rescue me. I'd been sending information about the inside of the facility to my brother, and Alice used that information to come and find me. As soon as she got there, she picked me up and carried me out. I was relieved and happy to be alive and free, but I also felt ashamed and miserable. While she was carrying me back out, I started to cry. She was just so cool, and I wasn't. I wanted to be just like her. So from that day onward, I did everything I could to be more like Alice.

Our infiltration ended in failure, but we did manage to get something useful. In fact, we were able to figure out where their headquarters was. The directors decided that December 25th, 2028 would be the day we would strike. This time, I promised myself, we wouldn't screw it up. I was finally going to get some answers about something that had been with me for most of my life. But then, on December 22nd, three days before the raid, Alice and I were attacked by people in gas masks while we were going over our plans.]

SIGMA: And when you woke up, you were in the warehouse.

CLOVER: Yeah.

[All of that talking seemed to have tired Clover out. She sighed, and her long hair swayed as she moved.]

SIGMA: Hey, uh, I've got a few questions..

CLOVER: What are they?

SIGMA: Well.. first off... your, uh, powers, I guess. I'm guessing you can't use them right now?

CLOVER: Yeah. I'm not really sure why. I've been sending my brother messages ever since I woke up, but..

SIGMA: No response?

CLOVER: Yeah. If there was another esper here, they could make me stronger, but that's just wishful thinking. Wait..

SIGMA: What?

CLOVER: Well, if there's someone else who's stronger than me, then they kind of absorb my powers. Maybe.... No, never mind. That's probably not it.

SIGMA: Right. Whatever. I have some other questions, so..moving on. I think I understand what Alice was talking about now. They were trying to spread that virus, right?

CLOVER: Yeah.

SIGMA: Okay. So who are they?

CLOVER: Well.. I can't tell you that.

SIGMA: WHAT?! WHY NOT?! You told me all that other stuff, but this is too much?!

CLOVER: Well.. Alice would be mad at me..

SIGMA: I already told you I wouldn't tell her!

CLOVER: But......

SIGMA: Fine. Let me rephrase. When are they going to do it?

CLOVER: Well, if we know that we wouldn't have gone to all that trouble...

SIGMA: So you don't know?

CLOVER: No.. all we know is "soon."

SIGMA: But that could mean just about anything.

CLOVER: Yeah. It could be next week, or next month, or even next year.. or it could have happened already.

SIGMA: Wait. You mean they might have already released the virus?

CLOVER: Wouldn't that make the most sense? Like, how about this room? Or that newspaper article? And.. the three people who were put in cold sleep..

SIGMA: Are you saying you, me, and Alice were frozen, and the pandemic happened while we were on ice?

CLOVER:? ....

SIGMA: Wait.. no, that doesn't make sense. Nobody else has heard of Radical-6 either.

CLOVER: Maybe they're lying..

SIGMA: Really? All six of them?

CLOVER: Well, if K really does have memory loss, then it's only five. Quark is out too.

SIGMA: So you're saying Tenmyouji, Dio, Phi and Luna are all lying? Hmm.. I guess they are a little suspicious..

CLOVER: Right?

SIGMA: And what's their motive?

CLOVER: For lying? How would I know?

SIGMA: Then what's the motivation for a terrorist organization to start a pandemic?

CLOVER: I heard it was something about.. purifying the unclean..

SIGMA: Purifying the.. unclean..?

CLOVER: Oh! OH! Unclean..Unclean.. Unclean.. Unclean..

SIGMA: Wh-what..? What are you doing?

CLOVER: Shut up! Just.. hold on a minute! I'm this close to remembering!

SIGMA: ...

CLOVER: Unclean... Clean.. Ean.. Ean.. EEN!

[She leapt up, suddenly excited!]

CLOVER: NEOSTIGMINE!

SIGMA: Neo-what?

CLOVER: Ugh! Did you forget it already?! I'm talking about this stuff!

[As she spoke, she pulled something out of her pocket. It was the injection gun, complete with a vial of medication.]

SIGMA: Oh, right, I remember that. It was in the safe in the treatment center, right?

CLOVER: Yeah.

SIGMA: I didn't have any idea what it was, though, so I gave it to you.

CLOVER: Exactly!

SIGMA: Are you saying you've heard about this neostigmine stuff before?

CLOVER: Yeah! That's what I'm saying! I just remembered!

SIGMA: You remembered?

CLOVER: My brother told me about that. Neostigmine is a type of cholinesterase inhibitor! That means it's sort of an.. antidote for tubocurarine!

SIGMA: Um.. sorry, but I still don't get it.

CLOVER: How easy do I have to make it?! Ugh! Okay, fine! I'll start at the top, all right? The stuff I've got in here is neostigmine, which counteracts the muscle relaxant tubocurarine! Following me?

SIGMA: Tubocurarine is the poison in our bracelets, right?

CLOVER: Right. It's the second thing we get injected with if we're penalized.

ZERO (flashback): First in the Soporil, which puts you to sleep.? Nine minutes later, the tubocurarine is injected, numbing your respiratory muscles. I guess you could say it'll really take your breath away!

SIGMA: So you're saying this neostigmine keeps it from working?

CLOVER: Yes! Oh my god! How many times are you going to make me say it?

SIGMA: So we can just inject ourselves with this if we get penalized!

CLOVER: Yeah! We don't have to die! We're gonna be okay! We can only pull the trigger once, though..

SIGMA: That means we can only use it on one person.

CLOVER: Yeah.

SIGMA: Well, it's still good news. This means one of us can break the rules, once. Like.. let's see..

CLOVER: The best way to use it would be for sneaking through the number nine door. If somebody gets 9 points, they can open it, right? With this stuff, somebody who doesn't have 9 points could still leave with them.

SIGMA: Hmm.

CLOVER: Anyway, I'm gonna go tell Alice!

SIGMA: What? Hey! Clover, wait! Clover!

[It was too late. Clover was already on the lift and gone.]

SIGMA: Damn.

[I was, I think understandably, upset. With no stairs, my only choice was to wait for the lift to come back down. As soon as it was back, I jumped on and headed upstairs.]

Editor's Warning: Nightmare Fuel begins here.

SIGMA: Phi! Where did Clover go?

PHI: ....

SIGMA: Phi! Can you hear me?

PHI: ...

[She didn't say anything, just stared at me with her mouth half-open.? Her eyes seemed slightly glazed, and her body was unnaturally stiff.]

SIGMA: Uh.. Phi..?

[I grabbed a shoulder and shook her gently. Slowly, she raised her arm, fingers drooping limply from it. She gestured towards the exit that led away from the warehouse.]

SIGMA: That way? She went out that door?

[Phi's only answer was a slow, shallow nod.]

SIGMA: Right, got it. Thanks.

[I headed for the exit, then paused.]

SIGMA: You look pretty tired. Get some rest, all right?

PHI: ...

[Still no response. There was something odd about her, but catching Clover seemed like more of a priority.? I turned back and jogged out the door, toward the treatment center.]

SIGMA: Huh? This is weird.. Where is everybody?

[I'd assumed Alice would be in the treatment center, so Clover would have gone there to find her, but the room was empty. Luna and Tenmyouji were gone too. They'd left Quark, and the readout on the pod said his vital signs were still normal. As far as I could tell, he was still asleep.]

SIGMA: Fine. Guess it's time to go look somewhere else.

[I made my way out of the treatment center.]

<Views of several other rooms, all empty and silent.>

SIGMA: What the hell?! What is going on here?! I can't find anybody! Every single room is empty.. .. Wait. There's still one place I haven't checked. The infirmary!

[I ran into the room and stopped short. I might as well have run into a brick wall. My chest tightened so much I could barely breathe.]

SIGMA: No. WHAT.. WHAT HAPPENED...?

[I felt my whole body convulse - whether from terror or nausea, I couldn't tell. My legs went limp, and I crumpled to the floor. Something sticky pressed against the palm of my hand, and I looked down to see blood. A vast, warm pool of fresh blood, stretching out across the room, lapping at my legs and hands.]

SIGMA: Why... This can't be real... How could...


Clover End
[In the middle of the lake of blood, like an island of flesh, were bodies. They were a bloody tangle of lifeless limbs and dead eyes, with too much blood and chaos for me to tell who was who. Had they sliced themselves open? Or stabbed one another? I couldn't tell. All the blood.. too much blood.. whatever they'd done, it was clear what tool they'd used to do it. A scalpel lay in the blood next to them, its handle and blade streaked with gore. This was how they had died.. this tiny blade.. ]

SIGMA: Oh God.. This is it. It's all over.. This is how it ends. That's right.. I have to end it. This nightmare will finally be over.. time to.. wake up..

[My fingers scaped across the floor as I picked up the scalpel.? I lifted it slowly, carefully, to my neck, as if someone were guiding my hand with theirs.. and drew it across my throat.]

[Red out. Roll credits.]

[Flow Warp screen appears.]

[On the PS Vita, getting this ending gives the achievement Secret Agent Woman, a reference to the song Secret Agent Man.]

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