Hidden 1 yr ago Post by Majoras End
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Majoras End Oyasumi~

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With everyone else dividing into teams, the trio had already made a head start to catch up to Parker. Though Henry didn't seem too worried, Alice was on guard, ready to fire at any carnage sister that decided to show their face. "Let's try to avoid what we can, okay?"

”Sounds good to me.” Isaiah stuck his hands in his pockets. He had taken a small side arm with some extra ammo and a golf club. ”How do you want to proceed? Seems like they’ll expect us coming up the nearest staircase.”

"Alternate route?" Henry suggested, holding his handgun. "We can throw them off and make an opening. All else fails, there's always shooting them."

"Uh, we have to preserve ammo though." Alice added.

”Then let’s take the hospital. It’s furthest away, but maybe the jollywops won’t expect us to take it.” Isaiah was practically leading the way towards the hospital staircase. It was a bit further away, but they didn’t run into any problems yet, The floor was littered with robot parts. Alice Parker must have come this way. But when he got to the stairs, he stopped. ”I think I hear something.”

"What is it?" 

”Sounds like heavy footsteps.” Isaiah spoke in a whisper, and drew his pistol. ”It sounds like it’s on the second floor. What should we do?”

 "Can't we sneak around them?" Henry asked, both siblings lowering their voices to a whisper as well.

 "Maybe. I should take a look." The recon said, quietly sneaking up the stairs to take a peak.

Upon creeping up the stairs to the second floor and peeking above the staircase, Alice Masson could see what appeared to be a Nariko bot walking back and forth. The floor looked surprisingly clean, which would suggest Alice Parker had not arrived here yet.

”Wankers!” Isaiah started to walk up the stairs and drew his pistol. ”There’s one down here, and it sounds like it’s running!”

 "Damn, we need to move!" Alice aimed her rifle at the Nariko bot's head and fired, while Henry kept an eye out for the bot seemingly running to them.

It just took a single bullet to obliterate the robot’s head. ”Here I go againnnnenenenenennnn...” The robot sighed as its power went out. 

”Quick! They’re coming from upstairs too! ” Ice fired his gun once.

But it wouldn’t stop them. It seemed that the carnage sisters on the third floor were pouring down the stairs. Their voices overlapped with each other in a cacophony of chirps. Ice was able to guide everyone into the art plaza. 

”The next staircase is just ahead!”

But then everyone heard the doors lock, and a pit sunk into their stomach. 

 "W-What the hell?!?" Henry nearly yelled.

 "Don't tell me..." Alice hid her brother behind her in anticipation.

”Thaaaats riiiiiight!” The monitors crackled to life, displaying a glitching out carnage sister. ”You found Monika!” she giggled. ”Don’t worry, I’ve locked all the doors so that we can play in here all by ourselves!” The infinites could hear the sound of the floor shift, as the traps would soon reveal themselves.

 "Son of a-!" The recon never though she'd meet the AI that Mercy faced before, but she wasn't surprised Monika was brought back. She and Henry rushed to avoid the traps. "Out of all the people she chooses to bother with!"

 "Wait, she's supposed to be digital, isn't she??" The pianist asked, getting an idea.

”Yea, we can’t shoot this one!” Once Isaiah got to the door, he pulled out his golf club and started swinging at it. ”Bloody mandibles! I’m going to need a hand getting this open.” Ice threw himself at the door over and over again, and several revealed buzz saws closed in on their position. 

"On it!" Alice hurried over to help Isaiah break the door open, firing at the saws closing in on them.

Meanwhile, Henry had stepped away in search of a computer. If he could get to it in time, Monika wouldn't be a threat to them anymore. He hoped his skills would come in handy, atleast.

Sure enough, Henry did manage to spot a computer in the dining room. There was a laptop plugged into the wall, with a carnage sister standing in front of it.

”Oh no! He found us!” Monika giggled from the laptop’s computer screen. ”You’d better protect me!”

The carnage sister in front of the laptop reached into a drawer and pulled out a cleaver. She hurled it at Henry before reaching for more kitchen utensils. It seemed that she was otherwise unarmed. 

Sidestepping the cleaver thrown at him, Henry appeared confused when he saw the sister didn't have actual weapons. Was this a ploy? Or was it just dumb luck? Either way, he shot the bot in the head while her back was turned.

”Hmm, maybe she should have brought more than me along.” Monika sighed. ”So is it game over now?”

Henry could hear Ice scream outside.

”Sounds like I got one! Haha!”

The floor started to open up, revealing saws.

If Henry hadn't taken the title as Infinite Pianist, he was sure to have become the Infinite Hacker. He didn't have time to lose. He ran up to the laptop and began to make quick work of Monika's deletion. "Say goodnight, you psychotic harlot!!"

”Later, cutie!”

 And with that, the AI was gone. Henry hurried back to Alice and Ice. "Is everyone okay?!"

Alice Masson looked to be okay. They were surrounded by bent and broken saws, but Isaiah…

”I got cut!” He was holding his wrist, which, bled no matter how tightly he held it. ”I-I won’t stop bleeding! We need to get to the patients quarters! At least the door seems to have opened.” 

"Ohthankgodyoutwoareokay-" Henry calmed down.

Alice was trying to help stop the bleeding, leading the way to the patients' quarters this time. "Where did you go, even?" 

"Oh, I may have deleted Monika from the system. She won't be a concern now." 

They managed to get to the third floor. The sound of Parker ripping apart carnage sisters could be heard. They had to be careful here, but it was important that they rushed to the patient quarters for Ice. He was still bleeding and wouldn’t stop without medication. If every room was equipped with what they needed, they just had to break inside. 

Isaiah was getting weak though. There was a tail of blood behind them. ”Hells! I’m getting Dizzy!” he collapsed in front of one of the doors. ”G-Get the door open!” He was starting to breath faster. It could be panic, or it could be a vain attempt to get more oxygen into his lungs.

 "Henry's already on it, just hold on a little longer for us...!" Alice reassured Isaiah, gently moving him to where he was leaning against her for support. She tried her best not to appear worried, though it was obvious. Once the pianist got the door open, they hurried inside the room to patch the blood donor up.

Henry nearly dropped the medication in his haste, but he managed to find it. It read “For ice-Ice-Baby’s polycythemia vera, when he gets a boo-boo.” There was no time to laugh though. He injected it into Ice’s arm, and the bleeding stopped immediately.

”Did it work?” His breathing was ragged, but he was still awake. ”I don’t think I can stand. Crumpets!” 

 "It should work. Here." Henry and Alice helped Ice sit down, the latter sitting down next to him. Then the pianist searched the room for fresh bandages. 

Ice groaned. It wasn’t hard to find bandages, as there were plenty in the first aid box. ”We’re in danger until we get to the next floor.” Ice struggled to draw another breath. ”I’m having difficulty seeing, but I should be fine if I have something to lean on.” 

"If you have to, you can continue leaning on me if you want." Alice suggested, catching the bandages Henry tossed to her. She replaced the bandages on Ice's wrist with the fresh ones.

"Are you sure you want to head back out, in your current condition?" Henry asked, concerned.

”I would if we had the luxury of time.” Isaiah leaned against Alice like she suggested. ”And these rooms aren’t safe anymore, now that the rules have been removed. I’d rather not be left behind, but if it’s the difference between all of us or just me kicking the bucket, you know what to flipping do!”

The stairs to the fourth floor were right in front of them. Maybe fifty more feet to go. 

  "Right, I understand." Henry said, grabbing an extra med-kit. "Let's go."

Hidden 1 yr ago Post by FamishedPants
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"And the others but lmao at making a new header for them"
Zachary Ackerson


Zachary didn’t seem too pleased by the discussion. “It doesn’t matter,” he told them. “The amount of effort it takes to kill even one of those sisters is ludicrous. We should avoid getting any funny ideas like trying to take them all on if it’s not absolutely necessary. Just keep moving.”

He gave a once-over to the members of their newly-established squad. An archer, a knight, a jester, and a nanny. It sounded like the setup to some weird sitcom, only they weren’t in a position to be laughing.

The archer then inspected his bow and the special arrows that had been made. Even though he hadn’t had it that long, this bow had some significant memories attached to it, and none of them were pleasant. His first trial and that failed Night of Carnage… was this thing cursed? And there was also the fact he wasn’t sure how well he could even use the thing anymore.

“It’s a good thing you’re so selfless. It makes the most sense for you to take point, I feel,” he spoke to Shona after she voiced her refusal to die in vain. “You should be our tank,” he suggested. Of course, looking at the other two, he really wasn’t sure what role would be best for them. Jezebel had… whatever she had -- Zach didn’t know what to call it -- and Emily was packing a powerful handgun. “And...uh, I guess as long as she’s leading, then it doesn’t matter, does it?” Zachary didn’t intend on being half-assed with his attempt at leadership, but things were how they were.

Shona stood in front with her sword drawn. "I think we should take the nearest case of stairs. The sisters will likely expect us to do so, but I feel I am the best equipped for a close encounter with them." She ascended the staircase. "All I ask is that no one shoots near me unless they’re familiar with firearms."

Jezebel had taken a moment to charge up her extendable fists. “Don’t worry, I’ve got great aim with these guys. I’ll just stand outside of your sword swings and we can work together.”

”You and I just have to make sure we don’t shoot them.” Emily giggled at Zachary. ”You’re pretty lucky, you know? All the other teams are mostly men.”

“Huh?” Zach cast a glance at the other two, apparently just now realizing this. “T-that doesn’t matter, does it? You’re being weird…” he cleared his throat and retrieved an arrow from his quiver so that he was as ready as he could be. “A-Anyway, even like this… I won’t accidentally hit someone a second time. Preventing that sort of thing is why I’m the Infinite Archer, after all.” he expertly changed the subject.

”Is it weird?” Emily giggled again. ”Maybe it is.”

Shona started moving forward. "It is natural to try and lighten the mood, especially for a caretaker. But let us continue the idle chatter when we get to the top." Shona lead the way, with Jezebel following closely behind her. Zachary and Emily hung back, but Emily was spending much more time checking the rear and flanks than the front.

The group didn’t get to the second floor before the carnage sisters arrived. With a single swing, Shona cleaved two of them in half, before kicking the third one down. A fourth and fifth had shown up with automatic weapons, but Jezebel was there to assist with her extendable fists, knocking them down together. But more were coming. "They’ve flooded the stairwell! Move!" Shona held her ground until everyone had fled the staircase, at which point she ran ahead of everyone to ensure the path was clear. The ground ahead was littered with broken carnage sister pieces, but it was a passing observation.

Emily turned towards the horde and aimed her hand cannon at them. Being as inexperienced as she was, she did not have proper discipline when firing such a massive handgun. Her elbows weren’t locked, and the gun nearly flew into her face when she fired. The only thing that saved her was her massive breasts. It was enough to knock her down though. Before Shona could rush to her side, more carnage sisters came out of the patient’s rooms to attack them.

“They so need a chill pill!” Jezebel attempted to help Emily up, but the droves of carnage sisters were almost upon them, and she had to start fighting just to stop herself from getting overwhelmed.

Zachary instead came to Emily’s rescue after firing an arrow between the eyes of one of the closer sisters. “Brace for the recoil next time,” he told the nanny as he helped her to her feet, immediately returning to assisting Jez and Shona once he had done so.

As he notched another arrow, he considered their options. “Lets…” he fired, planting an arrow through the ‘brain’ of one of the many sisters setting upon them. “...head to the resort and continue up from there!” he instructed, walking backward in that direction so as to keep the ability to cover for his allies. “We just gotta keep moving!”

“Got it, Baldwin!”

The girls ran ahead, with Zachary following. The carnage sisters split up and ran down separate corridors, which made thinning out their numbers easier for the archer. After following the girls into the music plaza, he could hear Shona shout.

"Who’s that?"



When Zachary turned his head, he could see it. Shona wasn’t the only one who had been raised from the dead. Justiciar was here as well. It could have been a carnage sister in armor, but it was possible Noel was wearing it.

”I am justice.” Justiciar drew her katana. ”And I will punish all of you.”

"This is no ordinary foe." Shona raised her sword just in time to block the vigilante’s incoming swing. "Go! I will be right behind you!" Greatsword and electro katana collided over and over again.

Jezebel shook her head. “They’re moving too fast. Like, I’ll hit Shona if I’m not careful, or get stabbed.” Emily pointed her gun towards them, but Jezebel was quick to push it out of the way.

Zachary had his bow and arrow ready, but was much in the same position as the other two. Even if his eye was not gouged out by one of the sisters earlier, he would still find landing a shot without hitting Shona rather difficult to pull off, so he wasn’t able to take it. The smart move would be to listen to Shona here and fall back before the sisters got a chance to flank and overwhelm, but curiosity got the better of him.

“What the actual fuck is going on?” he lowered the bow, eyeing their new foe. “Didn’t we just watch her…?” he looked at the other two girls not engaged in a swordfight currently, before turning back. “Noel? Don’t tell me you’re coming back from the dead too?"

The swordfighters jumped away from each other, and Justiciar turned to look at Zachary. ”Excuse me?”

Shona didn’t lower her guard for a second. "You know who this is? Was she one of your friends?"

Justiciar reached for her helmet and pulled it off of her head. ”You shouldn’t know me.”

“Ohmygosh!” Jezebel blurted out. “Like, If she forgot everything too, she hates our guts!”

”Can you blame me?” Noel’s eyes trailed over Zachary. ”I’m being confronted by a murderer.” She looked to Jezebel. ”A slut.” Then to Shona. ”And a coward.” She put her helmet back on her head.

"Is there no reasoning with you then?" Shona was already preparing to swing, and so was Noel. There were sparks when their swords collided.

”Only with steel will justice be exposed!”

Zachary seemed unsure of what to do at this point, but went ahead and acted anyway. He did not have the luxury of time, so he was only capable of acting in the moment. "What justice is there in this?" he asked. "Davis is the one torturing and killing people as though it's a game! You'd let more people die by Davis' hands just so you can kill a bunch of jaywalkers? I'm sure the real Noel would be livid if she hadn't already given her life to give us the opportunity to escape." Zach shot a look behind them, seeing if they were being flanked just yet. He was ready to move at a moment's notice, but that depended entirely on how Noel responded. But a certain question arose in his mind:

Wait... where's Emily?

The sound of Emily’s desert eagle rang out from the third floor.

“Ohmygosh!” The jester blurted out again before charging upstairs. “Emily!”

Justiciar might not have believed Zachary, or maybe she didn’t care, but she hadn’t attempted to respond to him. The commotion on the third floor had forced Zachary to see what was going on. When he got there, he could see Jezebel helping Emily to her feet. There was a puncture wound just under her collar bone, with a splintered tip stemming the bleeding.

”Locking my arms helped a lot. ” Emily coughed. She was a big lady, and Jezebel was small even by the standards of most women. Emily could still stand on one leg, but she’d need someone to lean up against. ”I heard someone coming.”

Jezebel was struggling to hold her up, but this was probably for the best. She could still use her extendable fist on one arm. Zachary would struggle to fire a bow with one hand. “Like…”

The queenly laugh of Willow carried through the hallway. Unlike the other carnage sisters, she was on horseback. Her lance laid on the ground in ruins, and her steed had half of its head blown off. As she rode away from them, she drew her rapier. Her cannon rested under her opposing arm.

”Have I been blessed with a rematch?” she said looking back towards Zachary. ”It’s just not going to be the same without your second eye. You’ll only see half my majesty!” She leveled her cannon with the archer. There really wasn’t anywhere to go. To Zachary’s right was the stairs to the lower resort area, as well as the stairs up, but the path to Willow was sandwiched between the bathrooms and a wall of aquarium plants. ”But I feel like we really need this, even if you’re worse for wear.”

“Zachary.” Jezebel uttered.

Zachary directed a challenging glare at Willow as he answered Jezebel. "...you two should continue on up, I'll follow you after I'm done here," he instructed, a few his words laced with an anxious tone.

Jezebel hesitated. “Come up soon.” She said before taking Emily upstairs.

Allowing them to go, he snapped his right arm outwards as though to wake it up, and then prepared to draw the bow back. His eye didn't leave Willow for even a second. "You've got to be kidding," he said. "Even if I had both eyes, you'd still be down half a horse. And that's the only majestic thing about you." Zachary pulled his bow back and fired an arrow directed at the head of the horse, taking a few steps backward.

Willow leaped off of her steed before the arrow even collided with it. The arrow struck true, but what happened to the mechanical horse didn’t matter anymore. The queenly carnage sister fired a single cannonball at Zachary before casting the cannon aside. Without the cannon, she could run almost three times as fast as normal. Her rapier danced in front of her face as the distance between them swiftly closed.

”I can run almost as fast as your mouth can, haha! ”

Zachary was forced to abandon the next shot he was preparing to take, apparently not confident in his ability to get up after taking a cannonball to the chest. The roll itself was not the cleanest and he even seemed like he landed on his shoulder a little rougher than intended, but he still got up and into a firing stance rather quickly, flinging an arrow at the approaching Willow, but realizing that was probably the last chance he had before she closed the remaining distance between them. The rate at which he started retreating then increased dramatically.

That arrow would have found its mark, right between Willow’s stupid eyes. But arrows were slower than their bullet counterparts. With a tap, the arrow was knocked off course before it landed true.

”Why are you running, peasant?” Willow attempted to stab at Zachary, but he managed to get away with a small cut in his shirt sleeve. ”Were you not ready to lay down your life just a few hours ago?” Her second swing cut into Zachary’s shoulder. He managed to turn into the workshop before she ran him all the way through.

Hissing in pain, Zachary sprinted through the Workshop, keeping an eye out for one tool in particular as he did so. While there were a lot of things he could use to kill another human in this place, something that could do damage to a chassis was a bit harder to come by. This situation called for something a little more “heavy-duty” and, as he expected, he saw what he wanted propped up against the wall next to the door on the other side of the shop.

It pained him to do so, but he wasn’t going to be able to one-hand this, so he discarded his bow and picked up the sledgehammer without stopping, though doing so took a lot of effort, and he barely managed to avoid simply tipping over when he tried. Still, with this success, he charged through the opposing door (using the shoulder that had not just been stabbed) and ran around the corner.

”The archer abandons his bow? And instead grasps the shaft of a primitive hammer?” Willow stepped out of the room, but she wouldn’t even have time to turn her head before Zachary mercilessly swung the sledgehammer into her. She was able to deflect arrows with her sword, but the heft of the twenty-pound sledge overcame any force Willow was able to apply to it. Her sword bent as the hammer plowed into her chest, bending her chassis and rupturing the devices underneath. Blue hydraulic fluid sprayed out of the wound as Willow's eyes flickered. There were no corny last words, no death cry, just the sound of her chassis collapsing to the ground.

“I’m fine with… ha... being slower than you… haa... if it means that... haa...” Zachary panted heavily as his body cried out in pain and his lungs burned. He leaned against the wall of the workshop for a second to catch his breath. “...you die first. *Wheeze*”

Zachary’s body demanded that he remain still for a while longer, but he had no such time. The best he could do was power walk back through the workshop, snagging his discarded bow. In the rush he was in just a moment ago, it wasn’t practical to try sling it across his back so he reluctantly parted with it, but that wasn’t a problem now. He didn’t have an actual sling for the bow, so he used the quiver in a ghetto attempt. It would probably fall from his back if he got too rough with it, but it was all he could do. Unless it proved to be a liability, he would try to use the hammer from now on.

With a new weapon and one less enemy to worry about, Zachary made his way up to where Jezebel and Emily were, hoping that Shona could at least make it out on top of their fight.
Hidden 12 mos ago Post by Mateotis
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“Alice and her team are going through the hospital,” reported Daimyon after seeing the trio off and promising to see them at the top. It was something he wanted to, no, needed to believe if it was going to ever come true, because the odds were long. His team was still hanging around Noel's room, trying to decide the best way forward. Though there were four of them, they had little in the way of combat prowess. Denis was their sole trained Infinite; he looked ice cool as he stood leaning against the wall, his hands in his pockets. Lucy was much the opposite: having acquired not one, but two pistols from the weapon stash, she was frantically waving them around, getting a good feel for them. The complete lack of firearm experience did nothing to still her spirits—she was the Infinite Prodigy, after all. She was going to get the hang of it in no time!

Daimyon gave both of them an encouraging smile—the best he could muster anyway—before turning to Cyrus. The politician was pacing up and down the hallway, intently tapping away at his e-handbook. “What's the plan?”

“The resort. The stairwell there leads straight up to the fourth floor. And should we be forced to fight, there are many spacious areas we can utilise. Lead the robots in, out-maneuver them, move on.” Cyrus looked up. The poet caught a glimpse of desperation in his eyes. “It's our best shot. But there will be a lot of running.”

“Better to be exhausted than dead,” Daimyon said, letting out an anxious sigh. He and Cyrus could win any battle of wits and words together—a battle of robots and rifles, though, that was another story. ‘Laugh at the runner all ye want, bold ones. But pray he'll be as gracious in telling your story as the Spartan was.’

Cyrus gave the little ditty a chuckle, giving the poet a pat on the shoulder before turning to the rest of the team. “Alright, everyone, here's the plan. We take the resort route, sticking to the staircase whenever possible. If we get ambushed or run into too many Carnage Sisters to handle, we will all rush into the nearest building and lose them there. Splitting up might be necessary, but we should always try to be aware of each other's position. And, most importantly,” he fixed his glasses in place, “no one gets left behind.” He pulled out his sidearm, a small calibre pistol—our kind tends to have many enemies, he had told Daimyon—and nodded towards the resort entrance. “Let's go!”

Lucy and Denis wordlessly followed after the two. On his way out, Denis picked up a submachine gun and a crowbar he had left by the entrance to the door. They could hear the sound of the others battling their way up the patient’s quarters staircase. That was fine for them though, as Shona had proven to be more than a match for the carnage sisters in the past. They entered the resort without issue.

”Might want to try one gun first.” Denis was looking at Lucy, who was running after everyone with both guns drawn, pointed straight into the air.

”I’ve watched a lot of action flicks, so I don’t think it’ll be that hard.”

The place was a mess. The mono stand had been demolished, and bits and pieces of carnage sisters littered the floor. Alice Parker had once resided here, and it showed.

But not all that laid low, stayed low.

Out from the ruined fountain sprawled several carnage sisters, brandishing all manner of swords and spears. There had to be at least seven, but they were getting up slow. Lucy leveled her pistols at them and started firing. She had immediately grasped how to fire a pistol, though her small arms weren’t up to the task of holding her guns straight. With so many of them though, accuracy was a non issue. Each bullet hit something.

”Push!” Denis swung his crowbar down on an incoming sword before dragging it up the carnage sister’s arm into her head. Metal and plastic erupted like confetti, and the body fell limp.

“Well done!” shouted Daimyon, watching the robot explode from a safe enough distance, behind the free-firing Lucy. He shouted to rouse himself as much as he did to rouse Denis. The spy seemed to be handling himself fine, pummelling another Carnage Sister with his crowbar before it could get up. Daimyon, on the other hand, felt beyond useless. He was holding a long piece of uneven metal, scrounged from a fallen machine, but it was no use from afar unless he were to chuck it at something. Every time he willed himself to move up, to get closer and help Denis out, his body froze. He eyed the staircase, just a few metres from where he was standing—it was empty, but he could not see the upper half of it. Naturally, he imagined that there was a whole battalion of Carnage Sisters armed with long spears up there, just waiting for him to run into them. Still, he kept creeping forward towards it, trying to get a better angle.

Cyrus, meanwhile, stood firm, one eye closed, weapon aimed at a lumbering robot slowly approaching him. He aimed at a small, bright red spot on its head, very carefully, until he was sure that the bullet would hit—then he fired, and the Sister collapsed in a flurry of sparks. The politician wiped his head of sweat. He had previously emptied half a clip into this same robot, only to have them all bounce off its metal shell. Hitting its weak spot seemed to be the only way to reliably take one down with his pistol. It might have been doable for a trained gunman, but for him, it was unsustainable. As he, too, scanned the staircase for options, he noticed three robotic figures rushing out of the Mono Shoppe next to it. Rushing right towards... “Daimyon! In the shop!”

“Huh?” The poet piped up, just in time to notice the trio of Carnage Sisters running towards him and Lucy. They both dodged away in opposite directions; Daimyon almost got impaled by the leftmost one. With the resort door closed, there was nowhere to run—there was only space to fight. “Perish, metal monster of terror! Perish!” He swung the metal slab with all his might and brought it down on the closest robot. It staggered, whirring loudly, but did not fall.

“How do you reload these things?!” came a cry from Lucy, mashing the triggers of her two pistols, but they were both out.

“You don't—not two at once!” Cyrus shouted, running over from his own battle. “We need to move up or we'll never get to the fourth floor!”

His arms and legs shaking, Daimyon nevertheless managed to side-step the Carnage Sister's lunge and deliver another blow, which seemed to stun it. “What if they just come after us?”

“High ground always helps! Move!

There were no sisters barring their path to the second floor from that point on, and the Infinites reached it with ease. However, when Daimyon, the first one up, turned the corner to begin up the next set of stairs, he felt was greeted by the butt of a rifle to the nose, knocking him on his behind.

“Ow! What in the heavens—”

Before he could get his bearings, Daimyon could hear someone hastily dragging something up the stairs. When he finally looked up, he spotted a crude, mostly-finished makeshift barrier of chairs and tables that had been erected, barring the pathway up. A chair wiggled as it was pulled into the last gap in the barricade, and it was then that Daimyon caught a glimpse of red hair as a figure disappeared further up. “Have fun with them varmints, ya hear?”

“V-var-varmint—hey!” The poet scrambled to his feet, almost bucking over with the same momentum. But his cry fell on deaf ears: whoever was that who so ruthlessly and stealthily assaulted him was gone, having disappeared behind a surprisingly well-constructed makeshift barricade.

“What in the fresh hell is this?!” shouted Cyrus as he made it up and onto the scene. Lucy and Denis, who made sure to thoroughly whack one last Carnage Sister who wanted to move up with them, followed closely behind him. The politician hurried up to the stack of chairs and tables and made a few tentative pushes against the structure. It moved, but not nearly enough—it would take some time to break it all down. Turning back to the team, he grabbed his glasses and held them in his fist, “I should've known Monokuma would make this route as fucking inconvenient as possible for us...”

The poet sulked some distance away, rubbing his hurting nose. “I...I don't think it was the bear. I saw one of us, just a flash. Red-haired fellow.”

“What?!” The idea that one of their fellow Infinites would go out their way to put their lives in danger like that was more than enough for Cyrus to snap those poor, fragile glasses in half and toss them on the ground in anger. His survival instinct quickly overcame his fury, though, and soon he had a spare pair back on, ready to think his way out of this mess. By that time, Daimyon had also stepped up to the barricade, having discarded his metal weapon. “This is still the best way forward, so long as there are no Carnage Sisters to interrupt us. We have to remove this, quick.”

“Right!” They got to work, starting from the top, dislodging chair after chair and slowly wearing down the blockade. The floor was quiet aside from their grunts of exertion, which troubled the poet greatly. “Let's stay aware...I know how this goes. They'll attack when we don't pay attention.”

“Well then why don't you help us keep an eye out?” Lucy asked.

“No, no, no—this is necessary. We have to,” he put a table aside with Cyrus' help, “ugh, we have to be occupied. They'll never attack if we're all on our guard. That's how...that's how the trope goes...”

Denis was about to yank another chair loose when he took a step back ”Might want put back now!”

Lucy gave Denis a perplexed look, but then looked at the barrier. ”Oh, yea, guys! Get away from that!”

It started with just a few carnage sisters, but more quickly piled up on the other side of the barricade. They had been crawling behind the barrier quietly, but now that they had been discovered they went into overdrive. The carnage sisters knocked each other over, stepped on each other, but as their bodies filled in the voids there was more and more weight on the structure. Eventually they started to pour over the top of it, while the makeshift barrier groaned under their weight. Denis brought his crowbar down on one’s head, but he was just delaying the inevitable.

Daimyon stood dumbfounded at the sight, while Cyrus crushed his glasses in his hand. ”Did that little shit bring bring them this way?” He put on a new pair of glasses. ”We need to find an other way up, we don’t have enough ammo for all of them!”

”Oh my goodness…” Staggering back, the poet looked up at one of the many cameras. “I take it back! Tropes aren’t so bad!”


Humour aside, their situation had quickly taken a turn for the worse. The blockade was barely holding on—any moment the rain of Carnage Sisters was going to turn into a torrent upon them, and that was going to be the end of it. Daimyon looked to his team members for guidance, but they all seemed shaken by the sheer amount of enemies coming at them. Even Denis gritted his teeth, waving his crowbar threateningly at the unthinking mass as they were forced further and further back. Cyrus' thoughts were more ahead as he was frantically trying to weigh up their chances. Their only option was to head into one of the other towers. But which one? If he had more time, he could strategically analyse both and choose the one that was most suited to the team—but like this, his thoughts just seemed to run in circles.

“T-that goes to the patient quarters, right? Let's just go!” Daimyon blurted out, pointing to the gate closest to them. With them almost being pressed up against the restaurant wall, his fight-or-flight instinct was kicking in again. And he was most definitely not willing to fight this. “Come on, come on!” He wasted no time in rushing for the gate, and the rest had no choice but to follow.

The carnage sisters gave chase. Denis periodically looked over his shoulder to fire at the occasional assault rifle toting one, but otherwise hurried along with everyone else. Though the carnage sisters seemed to give up their pursuit as soon as they got to the bridge leading to the other tower.

”No follow?”

”Maybe.” Lucy said between pants. The floor was littered with carnage sister parts. Broken manikins coated in spilled hydraulic fluid. ”Maybe Parker’s here? Oh man, I really hope we don’t run into her!”

It felt a little claustrophobic, as the next stretch of their journey lead through all the patient’s rooms. An L shaped corridor filled with rooms previously inaccessible to the sisters.

”Cautious!” Denis might come across as dumb because of his poor English, but he was the infinite spy. He needed to be wary of things like ambushes.

Lucy crept forward. ”Yea, they stopped following us for a reason. We still want to move kinda quick though.”

The group had their guns out, backs to each other the entire time. If a door knob as much as squeaked, it would be getting a lead shower. But what the group noticed as they walked deeper into the patients quarters was the sound. Swords colliding against each other, and arcing electricity. Once they turned the corner, they could see it.



“That's Shona!” Daimyon exclaimed. “And...”

“Holy crap, Justiciar is back! But how—” Lucy added to the general surprise, just before Cyrus yanked both her and the poet back behind the corner.

The politician looked them dead in the eye. “Something is very wrong. Daimyon, you and I saw Shona die with our own eyes—but it was a long time ago. I wouldn't put it past Monokuma to mess with our memories. But Noel was executed today. Today! It can't be her in that armour. Which means...”

Daimyon could not hold his curiosity and peeked again carefully, standing beside Denis who kept a constant eye out for the scene.

"You are a good swordsman, but I can’t let this fight carry on much longer. It’s only a matter of time before those robots envelope us both." Shona leaned into her armored opponent.

”Perhaps that will be true justice for two sinners.”

"Get off it, Noel!" With a solid swing, Shona managed to force Justiciar away from herself, but the reprieve only lasted a moment before the vigilante and knight were blade locked again.

Their blade lock let loose a shockwave that scared the poet back behind the corner. “Shona says it's Noel...” he said. “You're right. Even I...I haven't forgotten her yet. But still...”

Cyrus shook his head. “We know Shona is on our side. So Justiciar has to be—”

“What if she isn't, though?” Daimyon pushed back. “What if she has gone rogue, or was never our Shona to begin with? Where is Zachary and the others anyway?”

“You're not seriously thinking...”

“We won't know if we don't go find out!” He nodded towards the fight that seemed to only increase in intensity with each blow.

“Should move. More robot will come,” advised Denis, keeping his assault rifle at the ready.

Cyrus was not having it. “Look, it doesn't matter which one of them is against us—either would slice us in half in seconds!”

“It could be just a...misunderstanding! And what if it really is Noel behind the vigilante's mask? Stranger twists have happened to us in this madhouse.” And with that, the poet made up his mind. He had not looked when Noel was executed—for all he knew, it could have all been a sham. Besides, they could not stay hiding in this corner forever: the resort was swarmed, and they had to face the warriors one way or the other to progress. And if he could somehow stop them, he would finally become useful. “Let me see to this.”

He stepped defiantly ahead, ignoring Cyrus' call for caution. The engrossed fighters did not notice him right away; he used the time to gather all his bravery and step into the fray. “Noel!” he called out shouting. “Is that you?”

Justiciar and Shona both turned their heads towards the newly arrived. The vigilante changed targets. She hopped backwards and prepared to swing at the poet. Coming face to face with the menacing armoured vigilante immediately knocked all newfound bravery out of the poet, and he froze in place. Shona might have been able to finish the fight, but not without running the risk of bringing harm to Daimyon. She threw herself in front of the poet, ready to block.

But it was a trick, a feint.

Justiciar swept their blade across Shona’s shin. The armor prevented the blade from cutting her flesh, but it was still a blow that brought Shona to her knee. Before Justiciar could finish the job, Denis’s handgun rang out. The small caliber firearm wasn’t enough to punch through the vigilante’s helmet, but it got them to stagger backwards. They leaped backwards before Shona could return to her feet again. On Denis’ signal, the remaining three rushed out from behind the corner: the spy and Lucy kept their guns trained on Justiciar, while Cyrus hurried to help the knight, who courteously but firmly denied it. In lieu of that, he scowled at Daimyon, who indeed felt pretty terrible about his foolhardiness. He saw Noel’s strike on Shona from up close—it wasn’t pretty.

”Why does everyone act like they know me?”

"I’m not sure." Shona ‘s stance was a bit weaker than it was before. Getting nailed in the shin really hurt, and it didn’t help that her opponent was really strong. Even if nothing was broken, she’d be walking with a limp for a while. "According to them, this is not the first time we have appeared in this ‘killing game.’ Do you not believe them?" Shona turned to Daimyon. "Tell her something most people don’t know about her. Like you did with me."

“I...” The request caught the poet off guard, though it should not have. And what was worst was that he had no clear answer. Sure, he had written plenty about the journalist, but how was he supposed to know what was common knowledge and what was a secret? For him, it was all new, every day. Maybe she would understand now that she did not remember anything, either, but he did not want to risk it. Muttering under his breath, he raised a hand to his neck to adjust his jacket collar—only to feel the strap of the camera that still hung in his neck. How could he have forgotten about it? “Yes! This,” he took it off, “is your camera, Noel. You...wanted me to have it and develop its pictures. So there must be something on there, something that will make you remember...”

“There's an arts and crafts store on the third floor of the resort. It probably has something to develop photos,” Cyrus added. He understood, though he scarcely believed it, what the poet was trying to get at. What he understood even more was the importance of a Justiciar that was on their side—whether it was Noel in there or not.

”So you just need to develop some pictures then?” She hesitated, but not for long. Her sword was back up not long after. ”How convenient that I need to let you access the third floor. Do you think I’m that foolish?” She prepared to lunge for Shona, but the knight didn’t meet her charge this time. She allowed Denis to reach past her and fire a round at Noel’s ribs. Her armor fully deflected the small arms fire, but it couldn’t stand up to gunfire forever. ”It seems justice comes late for you.” she warned before darting up the stairs.

Shona limped forward, grunting with every step. "I am unsure if I will be able to hold her off again, much less fight the robots."

Lucy stuck her head under one of her armpits. ”It’s fine, just sheath your sword. I brought an extra pistol.” She offered it. ”You know how to shoot a gun, right?”

The knight unbuckled her gauntlet and threw it aside. "I was a resistance fighter for a time." She flicked the safety on and off with her thumb. "I’ve killed more men with a gun than a sword, if that’s what you’re asking."

Lucy blinked. ”L-let’s just go! Let’s see if we can develop those pictures somewhere.”

“This certainly is not ideal,” Cyrus commented as the group got moving. They did not manage to get Justiciar on their side, yet, and their best fighter Shona was injured too. “But it could be worse. Let’s just keep moving and see what happens. We’re almost there.”

The group wasted no time climbing the steps to the third floor. They were almost up when Daimyon, who had been lagging at the back with his head hung down, spoke. “I’m really sorry, Shona. I should’ve thought my, uh, entrance over much more. Truthfully, I don’t even know why I’m still so sure that Noel is the one behind that mask…”

The knight smiled despite the pain. "Fret not poet. She was most certainly Noel. She had her helm off earlier. And as I said, I would protect you all as long as I am able. This scratch is one I wear with pride."

“Well! I can think of an idea for that, huh!” Lucy chirped, straining in her support for the knight. She was not particularly strong, but she would be damned if she let anyone know she was struggling. “What I really truly don’t get is all this reviving business! Never heard of anything like this except in sci-fi books! First you, Shona, and now Noel...both with all your memories gone. What’s with that?”

“Only the two girls too,” Denis added. He had more than a few questions himself, but he knew better than to let them busy his mind too much. As they made it onto the third floor patient’s quarters proper, he stepped up to the front of the team, weapon aimed.

A burst of gunshots drew Denis' attention to the left right as the Infinite Gunslinger came barreling down the hallway in what was clearly a hurry to escape his metallic pursuers. There wasn't enough time for either Infinite to register the other, resulting in a crash. Denis would stumble back into the wall of the staircase while George's balance was nearly foundered by the collision, yet he somehow managed to hold on without losing all of his momentum. He didn't dare stop, and continued running.

"Well, shoot, partner!" he yelled back towards the others as he righted himself mid-sprint. "Ya'll mind taking this dance for me? Much obliged!" one could imagine he'd have tipped his hat if he had one.

“Oof!” Taken unaware, Denis crashed into the wall with a thud. He had no time to say anything else, or to take his time dusting himself off: for the 'dance' in question came in the form of numerous sisters coming from the very same corner as George just did moments later, giving the rest little time to think. Denis took potshots at the first few that popped their heads over the corner but as those heads multiplied, he could only grit his teeth in frustration.

“You! Get back here, you son of a bitch!” Cyrus shouted after the runaway gunslinger. He wanted to run after him too, both for safety purposes and to finally get him to answer for his being a colossal dick back at the resort, but he stayed himself. With an almost unarmed poet, a wounded knight, and a struggling prodigy, the group could never hope to be as nimble as one man. “It’s fine,” he waved at the rest of the group, putting his glasses back on, “we can’t blow it now. The fourth floor is right there—let’s go!”

As the politician beckoned the team to keep heading up the patient’s quarters stairs, Daimyon could only look into the long hallway where George had just turned out of view. “That way is the resort…” he noted. “With the arts store! The pictures…”

“Forget about those damn pictures! Justiciar...Noel is gone. And we need to get out of here!” urged Cyrus.

The carnage sisters were getting close. The poet had to admit his friend was right—they were in no condition for sidequests. But something, some kind of urge still drew him there. Finality sank in his stomach; he believed they would never return to this place. And he did not want to leave business unfinished. “Cyrus! Please take everyone upstairs. I will...if I go now, I can catch up to our red-haired friend. We’ll join you there!”

Cyrus was going to say more, but the sisters were already upon them. All he did was swear before opening fire. Denis also fired, while Lucy and Shona hurried up the stairs. Cyrus and Denis continued to fire as their group retreated, but Daimyon went on by himself.

As Daimyon walked into the resort, the glass surrounding the plant display exploded, covering the floor in glass. It seemed George had fired a few rounds at the poet while making his retreat. Perhaps he had simply mistaken him for a carnage sister? Whatever the case was, the explosion made Daimyon duck behind a wall for a few seconds, a momentary respite he could use to consider his path forward.

The shops were in sight, and it sounded like the sisters had given up on chasing his companions and were ready to come after him. Daimyon could hear them chatter as they drew closer. They had no doubt made it into the long hallway of the patient’s quarters, he thought, which meant that he could not go back that way anymore. The resort stairs were still open, and so very close, but he knew that could change any moment.

“And the brave poet marched on, soldierly, ‘twas the time for the orderly to seek adventure, no pressure, don’t fall for the pressure, don’t fall, don’t fall…” he sang low in a rhythm that resembled an army march, willing himself to move at that pace too. Soon he was at the arts and crafts store.

Wandering around the expansive store, it took him a minute to find the proper equipment. He had feared that he would have to develop the film the traditional way (which he would not have managed, especially under such time pressure), but it was not the case. Instead, he was faced with a large printer, and a slot to plug the camera's memory card into. The rumbling of Carnage Sisters drew ever closer as the poet fumbled with the camera, eventually managing to eject its memory and give it to the printer. The machine whirred to life and displayed a loading screen. He would have to stay until it was all done. Sweating bullets, he turned his eyes from the printer to the stairwell and back. As soon as he got the pictures, he would bolt up the stairs. But the loading bar was taking its sweet time progressing…

It was inevitable that more sisters would show up. But it was not disorganized masses this time, but a single entity. The weight of her footsteps shook the shop with every step. Feeling it, Daimyon quickly hid behind the counter, strangling his curiosity that wanted to see what sort of giant was nearing. He didn’t even have to look to see who it was, their voice gave it away.

”Hey! I know one of you fuckers are in in here!” The sound of Geina’s miniguns winding up filled the air. ”Whatever! Not like I need to see you in order to put your punk ass down!” The files were still uploading, but Geina’s weapons were already firing, sweeping across the shop in search for a target. A Monokuma plush exploded, some magazines were blown off of the shelves, the tiles jumped and danced across the floor—and it took all of Daimyon’s mental fortitude not to scream in terror. Seeing bullets pepper a shelf at the level where he was crouching, he dropped down prone in panic. With chaos and destruction filling his senses and the deafening, ever-louder sound of the miniguns blinding him, he braced for death. He murmured an elegy he had written a long time ago that he always wanted to be his last words, as the guns ra-ta-tated right above him.

Then they ra-ta-tated some more, a little quieter, and the poet was surprised to still hear them. Though he could not look up, he felt that the Sister’s guns have moved along, riddling the other half of the surprisingly long arts & crafts store. He cautiously crouched up, still managing to step on the remains of a plastic Monokuma doll, a mistake that went unheard in the thundering fire. He threw a glance at the photo machine close to him: some fluid was leaking out of its bullet holes. At the same time, he spotted a stack of papers on its still-intact tray—the photos! His eyes darting around the place as he could barely think from the panic, he saw that the Carnage Sister was almost done with the entire store. Maybe if he waited quietly, it would just leave—he hoped, in vain, as the moment it had finished, it turned its weapons around for a second round. Just in case.

Getting to the photos just like that was out of the question, and Daimyon thought it terrifyingly unlikely to survive another round behind the thin counter. He had to move. He had to move! But where, and how? Ideas jumped in and out of his head as he tried to muster the only thing he had left going for him: his creativity. Running for it was too risky, but he had to eventually—maybe a distraction? But what? Something to catch its attention, something heavy, something loud, something…
He grabbed the camera that was lying beside him. It was expensive, it was valuable—it was his ticket to life. Without a second thought, he tossed it as far to the other side as he could. It hit the floor with a loud crash, its glass lenses shattering on impact.

The miniguns stopped.

“Wha—there you are, punk!” Geina shouted, turning its hulking weapons towards the broken camera. That was his chance! “Oh hey, that’s not—!”
Daimyon bolted out from the counter. He ran like he had never run before, feeling death on his tail. “You tryna trick me, fucker?! Not in a million years!” He rushed through the store lengthwise, grabbing the stack of photos mid-run, as Geina was quickly turning its guns back around, firing throughout for good measure. He was almost there, almost, just a few more steps until he could round the corner and—

A terrible pain seared through his right shoulder, just as he made it out of the store and gotten behind it. Gasping, he leaned against the back wall, first shoving the stack of photos into one of his jacket pockets, then holding his hurting shoulder. It hurt too much for him to scream about it; instead, involuntary tears ran down his face. As he saw the blood come oozing out of the wound, the tears became voluntary. He was feeling terribly cold and numb all of a sudden, but something, adrenaline if nothing else, kept his mind going enough to know that he himself had to keep going. He heard Geina walk with its heavy steps towards him, cursing all the while. He took off in the other direction, running through the narrow pathway until he could round the corner again. From there, he saw his escape: the hospital entrance. He could not remember exactly what was there, but it was his best shot at treating his gunshot wound. But the only way to it was another mad dash out in the open. He had no idea where Geina was exactly. Leaning against the wall once more, shaking and crying, he tried to will himself to run. He peeked around the corner to see that the robot had disappeared from sight. That was all it took. In the next instant, he was running, running like all the demons of hell were onto him, running straight into the hospital.

He did not stop once he was in the other tower. Though Geina’s footsteps had quietened and the hospital appeared to be empty, he kept running. Stumbling into the lab, he could hear the sound of something breaking behind him. But he didn’t turn around to see what it was. He kept pressing forward.

What greeted Daimyon was most unfortunate. Everywhere he looked, he only saw scientific instruments and vials with unpronounceable names written on them. Recognising the few most basic ones, he soon realised that this floor of the hospital was dedicated to researching viruses, and had little to do with mending shoulders. He was unlikely to find a single scrap of gause anywhere. Worst still was that Alice Parker was here. All of the carnage sisters were converging in this area to hunt her down, and Daimyon was but a lamb before the lion’s might. Fortunately it seemed like someone destroyed all the security cameras, so he just had to avoid being spotted.

It was even louder in here than the print shop. Every few seconds the sound of a metal chassis breaking could be heard, and every time it was heard Daimyon would know Parker still lived. He dreaded accidentally stumbling into the omnicidal Parker’s sight, but still more pressing issues occupied his mind. His hand was hardly an effective gause, and he was losing a lot of blood. The world around him was starting to spin; the cacophony that assaulted his ears made the sensation downright hellish. He held onto a table—releasing his wound—and gasped hard, hanging onto consciousness with all his might.

That was when it hit him: a burst of clarity. The bathrooms! They were right by the door up, and there was probably a first aid kit inside. Most establishments had medical kits in the bathroom, anyway. It was his very last shot—and if he was wrong, well, at least it was a private place to die.

It was getting difficult to think, now. Daimyon knew he had gone past the bathrooms on his way to the lab, but which way was that? There was so much noise, so much destruction around him... one wrong step would have ended with him in the fray, defenceless.

He hobbled out of the lab back the way he came: the only thing he was still certain of. He tried to be cautious, to look both ways before crossing, but most of his energy was spent just to keep him on his feet and moving. He saw the bathrooms ahead and he walked straight towards them, having neither the time nor the presence of mind to be stealthy. He hoped against hope that Parker was a force powerful enough to keep all the Sisters occupied.

The poet practically fell through the bathroom door: still alive, but barely, only to find himself in what might’ve been a worse situation.

Daimyon was not the only person who had sought refuge in the bathroom. George, the red-haired gunslinger, had also done so in order to catch his breath and reload. As ammo was limited, Henry had to focus to ensure each shot would put a carnage sister down for good, and this was relatively exhausting to do while also constantly sprinting and lifting objects to impede the progress of other Infinites.

So, not long after Daimyon made it to the bathroom, he now had a rather unpleasant cowboy glaring at him. “Yer time’s up, pal,” he declared. “Consider it a mercy. What with all the sisters roamin’ about, I figure ya ain’t got too long anyhow.” pulling the automatic assault rifle up, he aimed at Daimyon and pulled the trigger.

But Daimyon would not be the target of a single bullet.

He was shoved out of the way, just in time for Justiciar to take the bullet in her steel helmet. It left a dent right under her right eye, but she pressed forth. Daimyon crashed into the wall with his hurt shoulder, falling on the cold tiles amid screams of pain. The cowboy took a few steps backwards, but Justiciar continued to charge towards him. Her torso had taken so many hits it finally cracked, spraying some of her blood out of the cracks. But that wasn’t enough to stop the infinite reporter. Finally she was close enough to stab George, but George had run out of ammo and was drawing his side arm: a desert eagle. As the brutal fight raged, Daimyon found a first-aid station affixed to the wall: he could only grab a roll of gauze and a flask of disinfectant before Justiciar ran George through just as he put one armor piercing round through her chest. They both collapsed to the ground. George had died instantly, but Noel still had the strength to pull off her helmet.

”News flash!” She said between gasps for breath. ”You’re, dead, cowboy.”

Noel attempted to rise again, but ended up stumbling into a wall. As she slid down it, her blood smeared the tile surface. George’s body laid perfectly still, with her katana sticking out of his chest. She had run him through the heart, he wouldn’t be getting back up.

”Can I see the pictures?”

“N-Noel…” the poet uttered, looking between the dead gunslinger and the dying reporter with tears in his eyes. Blood was painting all three of them red. He had wanted to say many things, but talking felt like too much energy at the moment. With slow, shaky movements, he pulled the photos out from his jacket, dragging himself closer to the woman. He tossed the pictures on the ground in between them; they spread out in an erratic montage. “Wow...you really...really were prolific.” There had to be at least two dozen pictures in the stack, and Daimyon had a feeling the machine had not printed them all. “There’s...is that the diner? And all of us, so many of us…having breakfast...” As he looked from image to image, he was also trying to tend to himself. He poured (entirely too much) disinfectant on the wound, which madly hurt, though he could only hiss. “And...and...what’s on that one? It’s...that’s Krista, isn’t it? P-playing the violin...ah, I wish I remembered her tunes…” He attempted to roll the gauze on with one hand, which was proving to be a tough affair for the untrained man. Noel, meanwhile, moved some of the pictures around, then tapped at one of them. “No way…” said Daimyon. “That’s...that’s us!” The image showed Noel and the poet during a pair dance, him leading her. It must have been taken from a stand with a timer, as the angle was not as incisive as the rest, but he could still see both of them smiling, blushing even, earnestly.

Noel held her wounded body with one hand, and the photo Daimyon was looking at in the other. ”It’s strange to look at so many pictures, yet not remembering a single one of them.” Noel shuffled through them, stopping to examine each one. ”I don’t even remember the people in these pictures.” She groaned before looking at the one of her and Daimyon. ”Of course I believe you. This was pretty out of the way for you though. The act of trying to develop these photos alone should serve as proof.” She picked up a picture of Krista and examined it closer. ”I guess I always knew though. I just didn’t want to admit it. But I’m paying for that now huh?” She made a pained smile. ”Hey, we weren’t in love, were we?”

“Love…” Daimyon let the word hang in the air for a bit. He felt it, tasted it. “Love is...tricky when you...when you don’t have memories, isn’t it?” He let out a single, painful chuckle. “But I...I did go through hell and...a lot of robots to get these photos.” He fastened the gauze with one last, desperate pull. It was holding, but was it holding enough? “And you, well...you just took several bullets for me. That...that has to count for something...right?” He looked at Noel with an unabashed smile and extended his uninjured hand to her.

”You’re dodging the question, but that tells me enough.” Noel forced a grin before coughing, and some blood streamed down the corner of her lip. She extended her hand to Daimyon’s. ”Well, it seems like I’ve already died once. I came back from that, so I can probably do it again.” Her face became stern when she drew her hand back. ”But you need to go as high as you can, Daimyon. Parker can’t hold them forever.” She held up one of the pictures. ”Thank you for getting these for me. I’ll be looking at them a bit longer.”

Daimyon felt a rush of coldness when Noel withdrew—that, too, spoke volumes and raised questions he was in no state to answer. He was thinking hard about something else now: it was goodbye, he knew it, he knew it really well, and yet for all his Infinite Poetness he could not come up with parting words. The gauze wrap must not have been for naught as he felt a little less numb, enough for him to be able to (slowly, and after falling back three times) get on his feet. “When you beat death again...please come find me,” he pleaded. “W-with your skills, I, I really believe you...can. And until that, I...I will remember you. I will. I will!” Willing himself to move, he managed to turn away from the dying Noel. He found his way back to the first aid station, from where he downed a couple painkillers. They hit, or at least he thought they hit, right away, and he had the clarity of mind again to turn back to her one last time. Blessed be you, who saved the poet—your name shall live on for eternity. Blessed be you, who loved the poet—your heart will rest in his in harmony. I’ll...I’ll see you one day, Noel. Goodbye!”

Wiping his tears, he left the bathroom, turned, and headed straight up the stairs to the fourth floor.
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Quite a while ago...

A young Davis prepared to leave Hope’s Peak High School. He had graduated a few years ago, but had been acting as an assistant teacher for a time. It was likely he would be back, but for now, he had other places he needed to be.

He had everything loaded up in his truck and was ready to drive off when a female student approached him. It was Celestia Ludenberg, the ultimate gambler. He was a temp teacher for one of her classes. ”You didn’t plan on leaving before we’ve had our final duel, did you?”

Something that Davis had always tried to instill in the students was that their talents needed to be nurtured in order to reach their apex. That being an ultimate student should not be their ultimate goal. He did this by doing what he did best: beating them with his own talent. He would issue them a challenge that they were doomed to fail before they even accepted. Most of the students ignored him, with a few being amused or annoyed with his antics. But then there were those like Celestia who refused to accept defeat at the hands of the ultimate mastermind. To date, none had beaten him.

"Hah! If you insist." Davis shut the door on his truck and folded his arms. "I’m kind of in a rush though, so if you’re not ready, we’re going to have to call it off."

”You won’t escape that easily mister Gallo.” Celestia stepped off to the side, and some boys brought out a folding table and a suitcase. ”I’ve brought everything right here, so you don’t even have to go back inside.” They set up the table, and as soon as stood behind it, another boy slid a chair behind her just as she was getting ready to sit down. A seat was presented for Davis, and the suitcase was pushed in front of Celestia. ”You may take a seat as soon as you are ready to begin.”

Davis chuckled. "Seems you thought of everything." He took a seat and folded his arms. "But you need to remember the rules for our game. I will only play with fresh cards. A new deck of bicycle originals, nothing else."

”I’m aware.” Celestia presented a key for the briefcase. ”Those are among the most popular playing cards in the world, yet they’ve been sold out wherever I look. Even the smaller shops are out of stock.” She unlocked it. ”Fortunately, I have a few spare decks in here. Fresh, never opened bicycle originals.” She sighed. ”I had hoped to open them during a worthy match, but it seems my hand has been forced.”

"Then why do you want to beat me? It’s not like there’s a reward for it. You might end up losing anyway."

Celestia grinned. ”My reputation is at stake. I can’t just let someone walk all over me. Even if they are the ultimate mastermind.” She used her thumbs to undo the latches. ”Beyond that, card games are all luck when you remove one’s ability to cheat. In that type of scenario, winning is possible for either side. I believe that’s why you’ve set things up so that I can’t start a game with you. Even a chance at failure is too big a risk for you.” She pushed the lid open. ”That’s what makes it anti climatic. Because as soon as we start our game, you’ll have already lost.”

Davis closed his eyes and grinned. "Then lets start the game already."

”As soon as I locate the cards, we will begin.” Celestia reached into the briefcase and shifted things around. The briefcase held more than just the cards she was looking for, it was all of her competition gear. Mats, dice, rollers, mahjong tiles, accessories for special games, but it would soon become evident that cards she was looking for were missing.

Just as planned.

Hope’s Peak had to keep tabs on all the students. They were allotted almost no privacy. They were the worlds very best, and they needed to be observed closely so that the ultimate talent could be harnessed. Every scrap of food was weighed, every second of leisure time was counted, and every item they had in their possession was recorded. Well before Davis issued his challenge to Celestia, he had her room searched for all of her cards. The suitcase was locked, but that wasn’t hard for a lock picker to bypass. He made sure all the cards were bought out of all the stores, and checked to make sure anyone who had recently purchased a deck of cards had opened them so that they couldn’t be used for their match. Celestia would not have her game this day.

"It’s getting late."

With a huff, she shut her suitcase. ”I didn’t think tampering with personal property was a low our teachers would stoop to.”

Davis shrugged. "Are you sure it was me? I mean I’ll admit you’d have been my type in high school, but I’m over my goth phase. Maybe Hifumi took them?"

She folded her hands in her lap. ”Well, you can’t say you’ve beaten me. So I technically never lost.”

"I was careful how I worded my challenge. I said you had to beat me in a card game that used brand new deck of bicycle card originals. And when you asked for a time limit I said before I left for New York. "

”It sounds like you thought of everything. I am forced to concede.” She slid a pack of cards out from behind her briefcase. ”But perhaps you’ll let me entertain you a bit longer. Consider it a reward for your victory.”

Davis lifted his hands up. "I stand by what I said earlier. Not interested in card games."

”It’s just a tarot reading.” Celestia held a hand over her mouth, while her other hand offered the cards to Davis. They were much bigger than normal cards, and each one had a special illustration. The entire deck seemed to be vampire themed. ”Shuffle these, and tell me what you’d like me to divine.”

"What are you, the ultimate clairvoyant now?" Davis didn’t get a response, so he simply shuffled the cards. He didn’t believe in astrology, but was willing to do this if it satisfied Celestia. "Alright, lets do my trip."

”An interesting choice.” Celestia took the deck of cards back and cut it in half. ”I’m going to draw three cards, the past, present, and future of your trip will be revealed in each one.” She drew three cards and set them side by side. ”We start with the past and move forward in time.” She turned the first card over. ”The lovers!” She placed her hands over her mouth. ”Davis, does this trip involve someone special?”

"Uh." Davis wasn’t smiling. It might have been dumb luck but… "Yea. It’s a honeymoon." He chuckled. "How did you know?"

”I didn’t know Davis. It’s the magic of the cards.” She lowered her hands enough so that he could see she was smiling.

"Right right, now do the next one."

Celestia did as he requested. ”Death.”

Davis held his chin. "Now death doesn’t mean death-death, right?"

”Correct. Death is often misunderstood in tarot readings. It represents an end, but also a new beginning as well. Perhaps this is the end of your life as a bachelor, but the beginning of it as a husband?”

He smiled and nodded. "Sure, that works."

”I must say, it is unusual for a reading to contain so many cards from the major arcana. That usually indicates something big is going to happen.”

"The last card, please."

Celestia took her time reaching for the final card and turned it over. When Davis looked at it, he immediately groaned. The gambler waited for dramatic effect, then described the card.

”The tower.” She declared it like she was casting a powerful spell. ”This card indicates a sudden, unforeseen change. A catastrophe of untold proportions waits for you mister Gallo. It is the single worst card to see in a tarot reading, especially with so many other major arcana present.”

Davis raised an eyebrow. He should have seen something like this coming. But in the end, her little trick didn’t mean anything. Davis offered to play this “game” with her because he knew it would be less time consuming than talking her down. "Cool." Davis slapped his hands together. "So we’re done then?"

Celestia grinned before putting away the tarot cards. ”I’ll take that tinge of disappointment as a pyrrhic victory.” She stood up, and the boys started to pack up her effects and walk back into the school. ”You have an interesting talent, mister Gallo. I wouldn’t call it perfect, but it does put you at C-rank.” She started to play with her hair. ”Should your honeymoon not pan out, do return here so I may knight you.”

"Right." Davis stood up and grinned. "If the world goes to hell and Alice ends up dead, maybe I’ll consider it."




Save for George and Noel, all of the infinites present managed to get to the fourth floor. They bandaged their wounds, checked their ammo, and kept their guard up. As soon as Daimyon came up the stairs, Davis’s voice came through the speakers.

"All infinites are accounted for. All carnage sisters are to remain on the lower three floors during candidate selection."

Like all the floors before it, this one was based on a country and it’s killing game. This was Japan’s school life killing game, hosted by the ultimate fashionista Junko Enoshima. It was a rather high profile killing game given that she was broadcasting it to the world. Everyone was forced to watch as the students conspired against each other before finally outwitting the mastermind and saving the day.

The Resort tower held an information center, which was a giant pillar covered in monitors with a computer in front of it. This was likely where Noel had gained access to everyone’s profiles. Bliss Buckly was still up on the screen.

The hospital side was also just one room, and it housed the operational version of the amnesia machine on the first floor. A giant throne covered in tubes and probes. There were leather straps to hold down unwilling patients. It was hard to tell if it was revolutionary medical tech or some cruel and unusual torture device. Perhaps it was both.

The path upstairs was clear, but maybe there was something worth investigating here.
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"Well that feels a little better." Shona’s wound had been properly splinted and bandaged. There didn’t seem to be any pain when she walked. "Isaiah is pretty good with bandages, I’m glad he’s with us." She needed to use her scabbard as a cane however.

Daimyon held a hand to his hurting shoulder, which had also been properly bandaged. It was still extremely sensitive to touch, so he quickly let go of it. “I just wish he didn’t...dislike me so much…” As grateful as he was for the blood donor’s help, he could not help but feel like he had only helped him because him bleeding out at the finish line would have really tanked the team morale.

As the rest of the Infinites fanned out to investigate other places of importance, Daimyon and Shona stepped closer to the Amnesia machine. It really looked like an awful thing to be strapped into. "I wonder if anyone would willingly subject themselves to something like this?"

“Willingly?” the poet winced. “How privileged that would be...” Looking at the large and terrible machine felt like gazing into the proverbial abyss: the more he looked, the more he could imagine himself being strapped into it, restrained, as evil forces ripped out what made him, him. In the same vein, he could not imagine how anyone could willingly part with something as precious as their memories.

He looked away before his thoughts got too dark. In his search for something, anything else to focus on, his eyes stumbled on a patch of brown amidst the white counters that surrounded the machine. It was a manila folder: filled with papers, he realised as he cautiously slid them out. Years of skimming his notebook every morning had made him an exceptional speed reader; he was blazing through the pages. It helped that what he was reading was terribly interesting, too: the papers seemed to detail another killing game, taking place in a Japanese high school for the gifted, masterminded by a woman who had been more than what everyone thought. The account was quite thorough: there were pictures of the school, first-hand accounts from the participants, even secret-looking logs from a certain Future Foundation.
Taking it all in, Daimyon had to slow down. Especially because he knew about the killing game. He quickly took out his notebook to confirm: and indeed, he had written about the Killing School Life when it took place, as he had been worried for his family’s safety in Japan. That was as far as his knowledge went, however: he knew nothing about this Junko Enoshima, who masterminded everything. His heart was beating faster just thinking about it. He grabbed the folder with everything in it and brought it to Shona. “Look! This is from that place—Hope’s Peak, where the students were forced into a killing game! Do you remember it?”

Shona took the papers and looked them over. "I am aware of it. Though we were without television for a while in Ireland. We just got snippets after the fact." She shrugged her shoulders. "I must confess some level of apathy. While the death of such bright students is indeed a tragedy, the death toll was far less significant than what we suffered in Ireland. More people perished trying to rescue them than to the game itself. I did not pay it as much mind as I should have." She was looking through the report backwards, starting at the end and moving back. "Though according to this, she was the one who orchestrated everything."

“It’s difficult to believe…” mused Daimyon, looking at an image of Junko. There was something sinister behind her unassuming smile, but it could have also been his imagination imbuing her with it. It probably was.

Shona stopped her page turning when she got to a picture of the device that was before them. "It seems as though all of the students at one point or another were a victim of this device. Symptoms are getting dizzy and blacking out. All of the survivors remembered experiencing something like that on their first day of school, before they even entered the building.Though it seems that’s just an artifact it creates in your memories when the device is used." She handed the papers back to Daimyon. "I would have to conclude this device was not used on me. I did not experience any vertigo like the report states. During a jousting reenactment I fell off my horse as intended, but there was a wooden post that I collided with. I blacked out instantly, with no sense of vertigo. When I woke up later, the reenactment staff were taking me to Axis Mundi. I did not experience any sort of dizziness or a black out after that."

The poet looked at the picture, then (begrudgingly) at the machine, then to and back again, thinking. He eventually turned back to Shona. “But you do have amnesia—I hope you trust me on that, at least. And it is, might I say, quite precise of an amnesia: you remember being brought to the hospital, and you remember everything since you...well, came back from the dead. But everything between these two points is just gone, is that right?” Still holding onto the folder, he found himself stepping closer to the machine, the fascination with the mystery gradually overcoming the fear of the unknown. “Hitting your head will not do that. I’m no chemist, but I doubt drugs will, either. If this...thing really works, then what else could cause it?”

Shona nodded and closed her eyes. "Perhaps there is a trick then. But I hope not, as that would mean any one of us could have been a victim to this contraption." She opened her eyes and gazed at the paperwork. "I feel this is worth sharing with the others. Was there anything else you wanted to inspect?"

“No, I…” Daimyon scoured the room to confirm, “don’t think we can find anything else here. This place is too spotless—except for the folder, of course, but that had to be planted. Not a doubt in my mind that everything had been set up to be found this way.” Trudging to a nearby elevated chair, he sat down, overcome by a sudden weariness. He reached for his notebook but decided against writing anything. “This entire time, we have been acting exactly like those up there wanted us to. Even now, we are marching—no, being marched towards some endgame that we have no agency over. Maybe they’ll let us out, maybe we’ll all die. Awfully depressing to think about.” Clutching the folder tighter, he got back on his feet with a sigh. “Anyway, I of all people should be the least worried about it: I’ve lived my entire life without agency. Let’s get out of here.”

"You’ve managed to get to the end of that which our host has planned for us." Shona looked through her handbook. "Many others did not. Remember Daimyon that a predator never attacks the strongest members of the herd. They always go for the weakest first. You may have the power to surprise the mastermind and not even know it." She looked at Daimyon’s notebook. "Are you going to take any notes? It might be best to do that before we leave."

The poet certainly did not expect to be called the ‘strongest’. Shona's kind words lifted his spirits a little, just enough for him to grab his pen in earnest. “You're right. I should.” He leafed to the first empty page in his notebook—noting that it was close to getting filled entirely—and began writing down his observations. Writing as quickly as he could read, he threw in rhymes, abbreviations, even simple drawings, everything to make it memorable. “I wasn't going to make notes. I don't want to do it, even now. Writing is remembering, and I don't want to remember any of this, but you are right—this is greater than just me. I have to be selfless about it.”
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”The bleeding seems to have stopped.” Isaiah stood up with a sigh. ”The others are looking over the this floor pretty closely, let’s take a peak at the fifth floor.” 

The fifth floor looked like an island paradise. It was hard to tell what nation this killing game was based off of, but some of the wallpaper seemed to be inspired by computer glitches. That or the floor was unfinished. It was hard to say for sure. 

Much like the forth floor, the medical room was one giant room. But this one had a strange contraption in the middle of it. A pillar surrounded by coffin shaped pods. 

”The flip is this?” Ice’s arms were trembling. It was hard to tell if it was from blood loss or fear. 

 "Weird. What do you think this is??" Alice asked, looking over the room. With Henry busy trying to uncover anything from the computer on the fourth floor, that left her and Isaiah to look around.

 Soon enough she stumbled upon a folder, possibly explaining the weird pods in the room. "Isaiah, come look at this!" she called over to him, reading through the folder.

”Hmm?” Isaiah stepped beside Alice. ”Neo World Project? What is this talking about?” 

And so they read. They learned about the killing school trip. They learned about the remnants of despair, the Neo World Program, and the future foundation’s involvement. The report was very detailed. 

”It’s almost impossible to believe.” Isaiah was looking at the end of the report. ”Some nutjob computer was going to download itself into a bunch of people? Sounds like science fiction.” Ice looked at one of the pods a bit closer. ”If Davis is so smart, I wonder why he didn’t put us in these things. Would make running an infinite killing game a lot easier.”

"Either it was too much of a risk to fail again, or our beloved mastermind was too prideful to try it and see." Alice suggested, shrugging. "Then again, concidering there are multiple killing games, maybe some were unfortunate to be in these sorts of machines. Who knows, but let's not give him any ideas, yeah?"

Isaiah turned his back to the strange contraption. ”If the beansprout was true to his word, this would already be over.” Ice walked away. ”We should show this to the others when they come up, let’s see if there’s anything in the other towers.” 

Alice nodded, following him. "Right, let's go."


Henry had found a laptop to hook into the main database. While Zachary and Jezebel inspected the surface level, Henry would see if he could get to the deeper stuff. Things that Davis didn’t want them to know.

Henry did come across a large cluster of encrypted files. Hundreds of folders with names like INI_716B and INI_341A sprawled the screen. The files were massive, but it was difficult to tell what they were even for. There was no execute file or anything to suggest another program could read them. 

 "The hell...?" the pianist groaned in annoyance. "Come on, there has to be a way to bypass the security on this thing, you've delt with crap like this before!" he talked to himself, in his attempt to break into the files. Even if he was focused, it wasn't hard to tell it was irritating him, just a little.

Deciphering encrypted files was no small task, even for a seasoned hacker. Henry had none of his software for the job, and it wasn’t like he could install a key logger on Davis’s computer anyway. If he wanted to get to the bottom of this, he was going to have to search the network for clues and see if there was a program that made use of all this data. The master folder was called “NEO_WLD_SAV.” it was his hope that this would help guide his search. 

There weren’t a lot of computers on the network, active or otherwise. There was one called “SISTER,” which might have been used to controll all the carnage sisters, as well as the data center he was jacked into. There were a few other computers with names like “OFFICE1”, which were presently offline. Most promising was one called “NEO_WLD_PROG,” which was too curiously named to simply ignore. Though as soon as he thought to click on it, a text window opened up. It looked like a command prompt, but messages were being sent to Henry.  

A> Hey!
A> What's the big idea?
A> Why are you surfing the network?
A> There's not really anything interesting on the other computers. Just some old files.
A> Unless you include me. :)


Henry flinched when the text prompt opened up. Yet it turned into confusion when someone, or something started to talk to him. "What kind of mind fuckery is this?" He hesitantly typed back.  

H> Who is this? Certainly can't be that Monika chick, can't it?
A> You can call me Alter Ego.
A> Can’t wait to meet all of your friends.  :)
A> But it’s too soon for that, and the other computers are off limits.
A> So you're going to have to stop here.
H> What happens if I don't?
H> And what do you mean by "too soon" to meet us??
A> Well, I guess I’ll have to take measures to ensure that you don’t.
A> But it would be better if you just listened to me, like we were old friends.  :)
A> I mean I’ll get to meet you in person! This interface is a little limited.
H>  Oh, fine. But you owe me for this.
A> I’ll see about getting you candy when this is all over  :)
A> See you soon, Henry!


Henry stared at the last message from Alter Ego, ever dumbfounded. How did it know him if he didn't introduce himself properly?

"What the hell."

Best to hold onto the laptop for a while, he thought.
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Zachary Ackerson

Jezebel Volcov



"Is the past better left untouched?"



[@Everybodyleftintheroleplay]






Jezebel hadn’t stopped hugging Zachary after he came back up stairs. She used perhaps too many bandages to patch up the hole in his shoulder. Though it wasn’t like they were trying to save on supplies. His shoulder had just a light throb, and the bleeding had stopped. “Like, I’m not leaving my number one baldwin behind again! We’re totally stickin’ together to the end!”

“Definitely.” the archer agreed with a nod.

But before they went any higher in this tower, there was something that warranted an inspection. The computer terminal that Noel had told them about. It should contain information on all of them, and possibly even more.

Zachary approached the terminal hesitantly. He might have still held on to the sentiment that learning more would just make progress more difficult, but if that were the case, he decided to put such thoughts behind him as he accessed it. “Huh. You wouldn’t happen to be especially curious right now, would you, Jez?” he asked.

Jezebel looked at the computer, then back at Zachary. “Well.” She stroked her chin. “Like, that has everyone’s secrets on it right? That’s Totally what Noel said.” She looked at the floor before folding her arms. “Faith.”

All Zachary had to do was type in Faith Lambert’s name, and the machine quickly dug up her profile. It contained everything from her height to her favorite food, as well as her secrets. Though these were simply listed as “triggers” on the document. It read:

Faith was diagnosed with Schizophrenia around the same time she became recognized as an Infinite; she and the producers of the show have kept it hidden to the best of their abilities. Two years ago, she helped her sister Miriam get together with a boy she knew at her request. Despite her misgivings she agreed, and the two hit it off smoothly. A year later however she was informed by family that, thanks to Faith's title, Miriam had been taken to Axis Mundi after a suicide attempt stemming from an alleged rape incident involving the male in question. She still feels guilty for setting the two up to this day, and on many occasions has considered abandoning her title as an Infinite as she does not deserve it.

Jezebel remained silent. She bit her thumbnail and exhaled. “Like, Schizophrenia doesn’t surprise me all that much. But her sister...” Jezebel hugged herself. “I wish we fixed things before she died.”

Zachary didn't have anything to say, but the weight of Faith's history was still there. He softly placed his hand on Jez's shoulder for a moment.

He allowed a few more of those to pass before he spoke. "Um, well... let's see what our cowboy was up to? Hope he doesn't have a scorpion seared into his palm, never got the chance to confirm if that was the case or not." Zachary gave a half-hearted laugh as he took his hand off Jezebel's shoulder and typed in George's name.

Shortly after becoming an Infinite, George Henry became the spokesperson of a certain clothing business who was particularly noted for their boots, which the gunslinger fancied. George eventually discovered a darker side to the business that involved, among other things, smuggling weapons into the country, but did not report this to the authorities, instead willingly overlooking (and later becoming involved with) these criminal activities in exchange for money. These weapons would end up facilitating violent gang fights that left more than a few dead, including people not affiliated with gangs. Despite these weapons and the tragedies that came of them, George became more intimate with the dirty practices, having gone so far as to take a life to keep another person quiet. He doesn't seem likely to stop anytime soon.

The archer grimaced. "I wasn't really expecting a spaghetti western or anything, but this..." he closed his eyes. "...I don't know if I want to keep looking."

“Like-.” Jezebel shook her head. “It sorta feels like eavesdropping, but we totally gotta look at everything. At least the slain, and...” Jezebel tapped a few keys and hit enter. She fret her brow in annoyance. “Gag me with a spoon! Of course Davis keeps his info off the server.” In a huff, Jezebel miss-clicked and ended up switching to a different tab. This one was an open windows tab that showed several videos. Their names were all dates going back before the tragedy happened.

“Totally meant to do that.” Jezebel moused over to the Olivia Smith videos and played them. They were all speaking Japanese, but it seemed someone had subbed them for a western viewing audience. Jezebel sat quietly through both videos. Only watching as Davis and Olivia spoke with the two ultimate students. She didn’t speak up until the video cut out. Just before Davis could reveal the permanent number two seat to Makoto. “That’s it? Just someone who’s been in multiple killing games? Where’s the next video!” Jezebel had moved in front of the computer and was now searching the database herself.

Zach found that odd. Davis had survived a killing game and was able to speak with Makoto Naegi? And was this before the Infinites? Did this mean they created it? The people who created the initiative… they had to be smarter than that, right? To let scum like Davis sit at the top and lead them by the nose. Zach’s eyes were also glued to the screen now. This had all better have been photoshopped. It couldn’t be real, could it? “Any luck? That’s a bad cliffhanger to end on.”

“Yea, like, I think I found something.” The next video was pretty short, and had hardly any dialog. It was just a shot of all the infinites gathered around a table celebrating the election of the first candidate. Olivia was sworn in like she was the president of the United states. “This is one of those moments that’s either so gnar or so not gnar, and I dunno which one it is.” Jezebel turned to Zachary. “This is so totally important, right? We should, like, show these to the others. I recorded them if we need to look later.”

Zachary nodded. "It's a few more pieces to this puzzle," he said, his gaze idled on the paused image of the inducted Olivia. The ceremony almost made it feel like some weird cult. But then, considering Davis' involvement with this tragedy, Zach thought that maybe it was. "Maybe the others can help us make more sense of this? We've learned a bit about Davis and this Olivia chick, and that they may have started the Initiative, but I'm not smart enough to figure how that translates into this killing game." he sighed. "If they all survived one of these games... then they should know just how horrible it really is."

He backed away from the terminal. "I want to believe it's just Davis. That nobody else would do something like this. But what if it isn't? What if, say, the Initiative was created for something like this?" he asked aware that Jez couldn't know the answer to the question. Zach shook his head free of the thought. "Nah, I'm trying to think too much. There's no way."

Since the two had likely found all that they could through the terminal, that just left regrouping with the others and sharing their findings. Maybe they had better luck?

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The infinites had conducted their investigation and united on the fifth floor. This floor looked like a tropical paradise, and was a nod to the killing game that took place on Jabberwock island. Hajime Hinata, or Izuru Kamukura as he had later been named, had planned on corrupting Alter Ego for the sole purpose of thwarting the NWP’s objective of rehabilitating the Remnants of Despair, and instead turning them into Junk clones. Hajime ended up thwarting his own plans when he came face to face with the corrupted Alter Ego.

The remaining infinites walked single profile into the resort. The room had a giant elevator at the back, which was being guarded by someone. Though her description was remarkably close to someone they had heard about.

The real Alice Parker.

”You showed up.” There was something off about the woman. She was far more human looking than any of the carnage sisters, but there were a few details that kept her apart from her human counterpart. Even if one could ignore her red eyes, her skin didn’t look the right color. It was a bit too glossy, and lacked the blemishes and imperfections a real human would have. ”Your final destination is right behind me. There’s an ultra strong magnet on the way up the elevator, so you might want to drop any metallic items you have before going up. “



Alice parker broke through the doorway behind the infinites and slung Izuru’s battered corpse over the android’s head. ”Where is he!?”

”Hmph.” The android looked over its shoulder. ”No matter how talented humans become, they are fated to be replaced by cold steel.” She looked ahead. ”Hurry onto the lift, there’s little you can do to change the outcome of our fight.” The android sprinted off, and the two robots fought.

The quick exchange between the two Parkers left the siblings silent, Masson more or less confused as to who's the real Parker than Henry focusing on the random(?) corpse thrown across the room. "Erm, does anyone know who the stiff is?"

“O-on a very real level, no idea,” commented Daimyon, clutching his handbook to his chest with shaky hands. Even standing at the back of the elevator, he felt intensely vulnerable—being taller than most his fellows did not help with that. It also meant that he had a clear view of the unfolding action, including the lifeless body lying slumped against the nearby wall. It was a most peculiar sight: wearing a full, blood-stained suit, with impossibly thick hair that reached down to their legs. “On a more semantic level, it does not...look human. And, and speaking of...er, beings that are not human, who is the robot woman? My memories, ah...” he leafed through his notes fruitlessly, “they fail me. Have we seen her before?”

Zachary shook his head. “We could make a guess, but is there any reason to bother?” his eyes rested on the sight of the two robots fighting as he said this. “Unless you want to step in between that shitshow, we should take this chance to leave while we have it,” Zach suggested.

"Agreed." Shona said with a nod. "I’m unsure what will happen if either of them is left standing."

“So like, we gotta ditch our metal stuff?” The clown sighed.

"It would appear so." Shona cast aside her sword. "I don’t fully trust the robot, but I see little reason for us to disbelieve it. If it wanted to kill us, it would have attacked when we entered the room."

Everyone shed as much metal as they could. Guns, improvised weaponry, handbooks and armor all had to go. Jezebel nearly cried as she parted from nearly a dozen trinkets. Everything from hand buzzers to those weird punch weapons she had been toting around.

Zachary removed his bow and the quiver full of arrows after dropping the sledgehammer he had before. Reaching up to his neck, he paused as his hand rested upon the necklace he’d worn for the longest time. The arrowhead at its base was supposed to be a reminder of his crime and it held quite a bit of value to him but what could he do? Tearing it from his neck, he placed it next to his discarded weapons and was fairly silent afterwards.

Witnessing the archer’s moment of parting, Daimyon found it quite poetic—but when he reached instinctively for his pen to jot down a short ditty about it, he realised he had already been forced to discard it. Without it, his notebook was no longer his living mind, but merely a highly detailed, erratic autobiography. Stepping on the elevator, he hoped that would suffice for what was ahead of them.

The robots were still fighting when they rode the elevator up.




The elevator ride up was long. Now would have been a good time to talk but there was nothing to discuss. Nothing to do but wait and see what the mastermind had in store for everyone. Perhaps they were steeling themselves for what they knew would be their final battle. Reflecting on all they had endured to get to this point.

The death of their friends.

The mockery of their memories.

The answers to their nagging questions.

The nightmares that would haunt them for the rest of their lives.

And before any of them knew it, they had done it. They were in the final room.

”You arrive.”



The infinites found themselves in a giant circular room, not unlike the courtrooms they had been in many times prior. But rather than separated in front of a bunch of podiums, they all stood together on the elevator. The room itself had hundreds of monitors, covering every wall stacked from floor to ceiling. Davis sat in a gilded throne decorated with an obnoxious amount of gemstones. His head rested on his knuckles, and he looked at the infinites with disinterested eyes. Though with time, a smile crept across his face, and he sat up.

”Welcome, candidates!” A boom attached itself to the back of the throne and hoisted it up into the air. Davis was on the outer edges of the room looking in at all the infinites. ”I don’t think you realize how long I’ve been waiting for this moment. The past few weeks must have felt like years to you, but I’ve been running this game for a much longer time than that.” Several Monokuma bots showed up to hand everyone their e-handbook before departing from the premises.

"Answers, Davis." Shona was curt with her request.

”I could lay it all out for you, but I wonder if you’d believe me?” He put his hands together. ”I can help guide you to the truth, but it’ll be up to you to actually discover it. To uncover your conquest.”

Jezebel fret her brow. “Sounds like someone’s stroking their grody little ego.”

”Perhaps.” His grin only grew as he continued to speak. ”I’d like everyone to take a look at Shona.” He pointed his hand towards her. ”How do you think she was resurrected? We can do a lot of things in this hospital, but bringing the dead back to life is not one of them.” He folded his hands under his chin.

Shona looked at herself. Without her armor, she was left with a tank and jeans. "If it wasn’t a true resurrection, then I never died in the first place. I must have survived the attack somehow."

Davis chuckled. ”Are you sure you’re the one who was attacked?”

The air of anger, confusion, and shock that lingered around the Infinites only got more tense as Davis questioned the knight. Daimyon found himself feeling all three emotions, though disbelief—as usually—dominated. He wanted to say that he had seen Shona die: the real Shona, the Shona that was standing in front of them at this very moment, or so he had written. Being all too aware of the fallibility of his notes, however, he did not say that, opting instead to voice a...perhaps foolish, bolder surely, line of reasoning. “If she did not remember any of us...and if reviving the dead is indeed impossible...then could the Shona of yore have been...an imposter?

"Well- Maybe?? Neither me or Henry were here when it happened, so we can't say for certain." Alice spoke up, both just as confused as everyone else.

Zachary shrugged. “I was not there either, but could that have really been an imposter?” he asked. If she was seen killed - quite brutally, mind you -- then he couldn’t imagine how that would have been someone intentionally pretending to be her. Unless the person impersonating her really wanted to die? That was just complicated for him.

Forgetting that, he looked to Shona. “I imagine you don’t have a sister who looks just like you by chance?” he asked, though the question seemed rhetorical. “Because all I can think of right now is either that, the imposter was both very skilled and very suicidal, Davis has a promising future in the special effects industry, or we have some 6th Day shit going on right now.”

Shona shook her head. "I do not have a sister. Do I not act exactly as I did before anyway? Even if they were good actors, they could not possibly know I wanted to die a true knight."

"The 6th day. Hah!" Davis leaned back in his seat. "That was a fun B-grade movie, wasn’t it? I forget the premise. Arnold Schwarzenegger was a clone though, wasn’t he?"

“Like, what of it?”

"Oh Jezebel, I’m merely here to guide you along and make sure you don’t take any missteps. Discovering the truth is still your job." Davis winked. "Perhaps if we break it down a bit we can come to an answer." He cast out his hand. "A clone is essentially someone who looks and acts like a living person, correct? Unfortunately I do not have access to any special effects. Would it be possible to make someone look like Shona?"

“Totally.” Jezebel scrolled to the second floor hospital wing on her E-handbook. “Like, there’s a plastic surgery station here and junk.”

"Why, then I only need a way to overwrite someone’s consciousness with one of my choosing. How could I do something like that?"

"The amnesia machine, right?" Alice suggested, looking through her E-handbook. "Take away the surrogate's old memories, and you'd be able to remake them how you see fit."

Davis laughed. "Well yes, Alice, the amnesia machine is part of the puzzle."

"So all of my memories were erased?" Shona’s shoulder slumped. "That would explain why I never remembered getting dizzy. If all of my memories were removed, then there are no old memories to fade from."

The very notion made Daimyon shudder. “That cannot happen…” he muttered, so quietly he could not be convincing anyone but himself. He was failing at even that; the evidence was staring him in the face from his own notebook. A poem on an early page, giving a tragicomic account of his transformation: from a short-tempered, abrasive everyman to a sensitive artist with an overcharged sense of creativity. Night and day. And all it took was banging his head too hard. “That cannot happen,” he repeated louder, despite himself. He could not afford to show weakness, not in front of the mastermind. “A-and even if you could erase someone’s memories on a whim, how would you—how would you get them to adopt the personality you want? How would you even know what Shona was like, so well that you can replicate it exactly?”

Shona groaned. "At least I die a true knight. That is a very private thought that I’ve never shared with anyone." She looked at Davis. "This is not the work of an amnesia machine."

"As I said, the amnesia machine is part of the puzzle. It is not everything though. " Davis didn’t stop smiling. "Come on! Think about what you saw on your way here. How could I have planted someone else’s memories in Shona’s head?"

“Uh, weird thought here,” Zachary spoke up. “Does the amnesia machine just ‘erase’ memories?”

“Like...” Jezebel looked like she was going to say something to the effect of “Duh?” but instead turned to look at Davis. “Yas queen or nah queen?”

"It’s like selecting a file on your computer and hitting the delete key." Davis hovered near Zachary, but not too close. "The memory disappears, never to be seen again. Unless you have a backup."

If Zachary wasn’t convinced he’d get filled to the brim with bullet holes or something worse, he might have responded violently when Davis approached. Instead, they had to continue this dumb ‘game’ until they came up with the answer. He didn’t like Jezebel looking at him like he was stupid but Davis more or less gave him the information he wanted. “Then the obvious assumption to make her is that you can also restore memories,” he looked at Shona. “Or copy,” he didn’t feel comfortable in the slightest about the implications here. In fact, he dreaded them. “But maybe using ‘paste’ would be the better word here?”

As far as Zachary was aware, the amnesia machine caused one to feel dizzy and that they blacked out, which Shona apparently never experienced. But does this contradiction make his idea invalid?

Daimyon did not think so. As uncomfortable as he felt with the whole scenario—made many times worse by his imagination coming up with increasingly worse applications by the dozen—his weak protests amounted to nothing. Not only was the amnesia machine, apparently, fully functional, but Davis also had a way of inserting memories at will. The poet followed along Zachary’s line of thought and was the first to voice the conclusion he had reached, for better or worse. “There...there have to be two Shonas. The one we saw die, all those weeks ago...and the one standing here with us. One of them the real deal, the valourious Infinite Knight, the other...a terrifyingly accurate copycat. Who doesn’t—didn’t know even know they were such. And if this is all true, and I beg the heavens for it not to be, then my next question is…” Daimyon trailed off, losing certainty as he looked from Infinite to Infinite. “...who is who?”

Davis shrugged. "If that’s what I did, then how? The amnesia machine can only make one forget after all."

"Hm...assuming you had information on the real Shona in the database prior to the surrogate's memory wipe, you could perhaps use the data to convince them that they were Shona." Henry speculated.

”We are all Infinites, are we not?” Daimyon extended his arms. “Researched, scouted, catalogued. To what degree, that I do not recall, but this is perhaps the most believable part of this whole insanity. The only reach is that our mastermind here had to have access to our records—but that could not have been too large a challenge for the Infinite Conquest, could it?”

“Actually…” Zachary spoke up again. “With all of that information, it’s entirely possible for someone to be rewritten. It should have been more obvious to me before. We’re talking about something that is not unprecedented. No, if I’m correct, ‘that’ was used to make a genius into a normal person and it could be used again.”

Alice thought it over, before it hit her. "By 'that', you must mean the Neo World, right?" she asked. "So if the surrogate didn't have their memories erased by the amnesia machine, they must've instead been overwritten in the program!"

The mastermind clapped his hands together. ”You’re so clever. Moreover..."
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“Moreover? Sorry, that was the wrong word.” Davis hovered in front of everyone. “However, you still haven’t figured out who the real Shona is.”

“Totally sure there’s no way to know that.” Jezebel was quick to state.

Shona closed her eyes and sighed. "Would it be possible that neither of us is the real Shona?"

“That is the unfortunate, yet honest truth.” The mastermind looked to Zachary. “I’m sure you’ve already figured out what this means.”

The archer seemed to be growing paler as time moved on. He answered only after casting glances at Shona and the rest of the people stuck in there with him. “It means a lot, doesn’t it?” he rubbed the back of his neck. “Way too much…way too much…” he trailed off, then fidgeted where he stood. “Because it’s… not just Shona, right?”

"Wait, what do you mean 'Not just Shona'?" Alice crossed her arms, brows furrowed.

Henry thought for a moment, before his eyes widened. "Shiiiit, don't tell me we're dealing with some existentialism malarkey..." he held a hand up to his head. "For the love of God, don't tell me we're all surrogates too!

The realisation took a few tense seconds to fully strike Daimyon, but once it did, it struck with the force of a thousand suns. He gasped. “N-not just...Shona?” he echoed, desperately scanning Zachary for any sign that he was joking, then the others for a sign that he was wrong. He found nothing, nowhere. An urge to write came over him, and he balled his painfully empty hand into a fist. Without the ability to occupy himself with reining his thoughts into words, they raced ahead with wild abandon, and soon he spoke, “Then...this must apply to Noel too. In fact, what if...what if none of us are who we think we are?”

Davis reclined in his chair. “Of course.”

“L-like what’s your damage?” the clown stammered.

“How else could you have an infinite killing game with a finite number of infinites? Either I was lying, or I was duplicating them somehow.”

"Then my resurrection is explained." Shona closed her eyes. "The real infinites then, you must have taken their memories at some point."

“The last thing any of you remember is going to Axis Mundi, or falling unconscious before you arrived at Axis Mundi. All we needed to do was run some software based on the Neo World Program to digitize their memories and implant them in a new body.” Davis placed his hands together. “The plastic surgery some of you had to go under put Axis Mundi’s reputation to the test, but that was far easier and faster than the method they used in the sixth day, right? Regardless, you’ve all been participating in a roleplaying game.”

Shona opened her eyes and glared at Davis. "Who are we?"

Davis shrugged his shoulders. “Bums, petty criminals, dreamers. You wanted to become someone else for one reason or another, and didn’t mind signing up. But I may have left out a few details.”

"Then you are not one of us?"

“I have always been myself.” The mastermind cast his gaze down, as if looking upon insects. “You’ve all been hung up on deplorable actions that you know are no longer your own. Surely it must relieve you to know you aren’t yourselves?”

A growing dread was visible on Alice's face as Davis carried on his explanation. She didn't want to listen. No, she didn't want to believe it, she refused to! But then, why was she trembling? She hugged herself tightly in an attempt to stop, staring downward to the floor. The overbearing questions that ran through her head made her feel nauseous. Her life, family, feelings, everything...was a lie? Were these emotions even her's? Are her and Henry really related? Were there more of them then they knew? After everything she went through, all the lives she failed to save, her seeking "redemption" for the past, it didn't matter?

She really was a monster.

Alice ended up collapsing onto her knees, held up by an arm. She wasn't able to muster up a word or two with a lump in her throat, but did it even matter? She couldn't move either even if she tried, or do anything about the tears threatening to fall.

After everything she went through, this was her breaking point. She snapped.

Witnessing her collapse, and similar expressions of distress on his fellow Infinites, Daimyon was overtaken by empathetic sorrow. What Davis had just revealed to them was an abominable secret, only worsened by its timing: at the very end of their journey, after they had shouldered so much both individually and as a group. After they had seen so much, lived so much, sacrificed so much...

But, somehow, the poet himself did not feel the shattering grief.

“So I’m not...me,” he stated, tasting the words. They felt foreign, but the more they sank into his mind, the more he realised how eerily...unconcerned he was feeling about them. Somehow, they did not feel that different to what he was already experiencing (and had amply documented) every morning. “I would love to meet me, then. Ha. I hope he’s doing well out there.”

“...what of the originals, then? And their families?”

Davis turned to Zachary. “Some of them are alive, some are dead. Some are sick, some are healthy. Some have found conquest and others have been defeated by it. I have not left this place for many years, so I can only speculate as to what they are doing. But if you mean to ask if I have done anything with them, or if they are aware of your existence, that is a no on both fronts.”

Jezebel pointed at the mastermind hovering around on his chair. “You could have, like, left out all the death and junk with us too.”

“That was a necessary evil.” Davis folded one leg over the other. “As you can imagine, there are many ethical problems with cloning people this way. I could turn a serial killer into Mondatta, or even turn an upstanding citizen into Erin Steel. Do you punish ‘Mondatta’ knowing that he has no recollection of his past crimes? Does ‘Erin Steel’ deserve to perish when he’s been a good egg most of his life, but thinks he isn’t? While some of the technology was made by Hope’s Peak’s best and brightest, other parts of the cloning puzzle came from more dubious sources.”

"The other killing games…" Shona growled.

“There was no way to pursue this form of cloning in legal circles, so I turned to illegal ones. Their money is just as green as everyone else’s, and they have a fair bit more of it. But I needed a way to show my ‘angel investors’ the merits of funding me. Skimming the initiative’s coffers was out of the question. We barely make enough to support the infinites themselves, and running all of this technology is pricey. It turns out a killing game was just the ticket. Not a simulation, not a play, just watching the greatest minds and bodies of our generation kill each other over and over again was enough to sate their thirst for blood, and fund my project.”

Shona threw out her arm, still using her sword as a crutch. "Why even go this far Davis? For what?"

“That should be obvious to anyone who’s been paying attention.” There was a growl in Davis’s voice. “The reason why this is so important to me is because it is the only way I can be reunited with my wife.”

The chair swung in front of the wall, allowing Davis to look across the room at everyone. “But it’s not just for me, it’s for everyone.” He gripped the arms of his chair and leaned forward. ”Alexander the great managed to conquer all of the known world before he died in his thirties. That’s just long enough for most people to die of a drug overdose. People need to suffer to get their talents. Or at least, they did.

“Look at yourselves. A human lives just under eighty years on average. Few of your ancestors had anywhere near that much time to work with. Just imagine what the world could look like if I could turn every drug addict, every convict, every slacker into something worthy of pursuing conquest. Our greatest minds would no longer have to die. Mind of old could work alongside the minds of the new. Humans as a whole would reach their apex.”

Davis sat down in his seat. “Any more questions before I--”

“How long?” Zachary cut Davis off before he could finish with a trembling voice. “Exactly, I mean. I want to know just how long you’ve been doing this.”

Davis pulled his head back. The mastermind placed his hand on the base of his chin and closed his eyes. “I don’t know.”

Shona blinked. "Excuse me?"

“A decade? Two? Maybe more? Maybe just a few years? I swore off connecting with the outside world until Alice Parker was back in my hands. This isn’t the sort of thing you can leave unattended for very long.” He placed a hand on his knee. “I’ve had to get surgery a few times to ensure I look the age I’m supposed to. It’s been a while.”

Zachary’s expression darkened. “D-dad…”

As curious as he was about the most minute intricacies of Davis’ master plan, the most burning question on Daimyon’s mind was one of the future: “What happens now?”

“That depends on what you do next.” Davis smiled. “You’ll be made to forget a few things. Before that, you have to decide how you want to handle your current predicament. You’re all clones right now. Your very existence is illegal. Fortunately, we have the technology to make you look like anyone. We can even fix your little memory problem. Even Zachary’s eye is within the realm of possibility, as-is Alice Masson’s cracked psyche, All of that will be in the past soon.”

"Lunacy..." Henry sneered. "All of it is just...lunacy!! And you my dear sir, have officially been driven to a madness unmatched! Pushing his hesitance aside, he stepped over to Alice in an attempt to calm her down. He had a bad feeling about the poor girl's state. "If this was so you could get your wife back, why didn't you?!"

Alice herself seemed unresponsive. Maybe a twitch or two, but other than that, she appeared lifeless.

Davis’s laugh cut through the room like a mighty sword of conquest. “Henry! That’s exactly what we’re going to do next!”

Every monitor in the room changed to show one gigantic panoramic video of Alice Parker. A montage of images flooded the monitors, from her doing everything from her enjoying a cheese sandwich, getting proposed to by Davis, and video footage of her assisting with the final assault on Neo Alexander’s bunker, just minutes before her death.

“Do you know why this is called the candidate’s killing game? Because each and every one of you have demonstrated the capability to become my Alice!” He swung his hand at the screens behind himself. “You can sculpt the body with surgery, you can load memories into the brain, but the soul remains something that no medical equipment can modify. Even if you’re all clones, you are still capable of interpreting your memories your own way.” He exhaled. “Your voting terminals are active.”

Shona stepped back as a terminal shot up out of the floor in front of her. "You really wouldn’t have a problem with any of the men here becoming your beloved?"

“Are you sure they were men to begin with? I can assure you some of you weren't always woman.”

Jezebel’s fingers hovered over the buttons. “So like, everyone in this killing game was totally a candidate?”

“Everyone but the carnage sisters.”
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Nearing the End of the Greatest Show on Earth


Also like was Alter Ego really in both games? Like do you really consider AE to be Chiakers, am I missing something? I mean you're technically right but also technically wrong.





Even as Alice appeared to be out of commission, she could still hear what everyone else was saying. Even Davis' reasoning, and explanation for the Candidate's Game. It left a bitter taste in her mouth, but in a way, it was rather sad. She couldn't help but chuckle dryly. "What's the point?" She asked.

"Si- Alice??" Henry appeared concerned as she stumbled back up, and dusted herself off with a resigned expression. She then glared coldly at Davis. "Even if you managed to replace Parker, it wouldn't feel the same, would it? Like replacing something of sentimental value. You won't be able to play ignorance forever either." She chuckled, a crooked grin appearing on her face, though her tone remained sinister. "I do feel bad for you, Gallo. Grief does wonders to one's mental state. Buuut not enough to gloss over the fact that this??" Alice motioned to the room, and then to the screens. "This is nothing less than a hellish obsession, accented by the fact that you're playing God here." she crossed her arms.

"Gotta wonder what the real Alice Parker would think, seeing that she married a monster. And here I was hoping we could overthrow you at the end, quite disappointing, really."

If there was anyone who would have loved to taunt and berate Davis, it would have been Zachary. Spite had, at least seemingly, been a part of his reason for pushing on in this hellish game. But right now, he could not bring himself to join in with Alice, instead, with wide eyes, he softly repeated “Dad” under his breath.

“I have to agree,” spoke Daimyon, nodding at Alice’s words. “Some things are...not transferable. Not recreatable. Even if you have mind and body, you still don’t have the soul, no, never the same one. And you will know. Even if your new Alice won’t, you will. It’s…” he trailed off, gazing into the distance. Strange emotions overtook him. “Imagine if the real Daimyon died, and my...his family got me as a replacement. Maybe I’d believe I was him, but they would know I wasn’t. And then, eventually, I would find out too. And it would break my heart, break it into a thousand pieces and scatter them to never be found again. Do you want to do this to your new Alice, Davis? Do you want to do this to yourself?”

“Daimyon, Henry, Alice. I have been running this game for years, maybe decades.” Half of the screens changed to show a montage of all the killing games that had transpired over the course of the infinite killing game. Caora strangling Mary, Mondatta crushing Cyrus’s skull, Jezebel blowing her own brains out with Justiciar’s hand cannon. “I have been the author of many tragedies. Most but not all intentional. I am responsible for the deaths of hundreds of people. I have watched my friends rise and fall like the waves of a tide, the surge of conquest.” He parted his arms. “Wouldn’t now be a strange time to have an epiphany that rendered it all irrelevant? I’ve had this discussion with infinites far more suited for it than you, and they were unable to refute my logic.” He balled his hand into a fist. “I am infinite conquest! I always get what I want. I never cease charging forward. Ethics, morality, and despair be damned!”

While the three questioned Davis, Shona looked to Zachary. "Steel yourself, Zachary. We do not know your father’s fate. He could still be alive. I doubt the real Zachary would just leave him. If you still care deeply for him, the original must as well."

“T-the real Zachary…” Zachary softly repeated under his breath. For a moment, he looked at Shona and then, with a laugh that betrayed his derision, his eyes seemed to lose much of their focus. “That’s right,” he said. “I have no right to worry about him…I’m not even real, after all…”

Jezebel placed a hand on Zachary’s shoulder. “H-hey.” She gave him a light shake. “Like, we’re almost out of here. We just have to vote for someone to become Alice. Someone in this killing game that totally isn’t a carnage sister.” She sighed. “I don’t want to vote for any of us. Like, that would be like killing someone.”

“What other choice do we have?” he rubbed his shoulder as he pulled away from Jez. “...It’s just like any other round. Someone has to go,” he sighed.

"Right. So you don't give two shits either way. Good to know!" Alice sarcastically gave Davis a thumbs up, with a deadpan expression. "Although since it's sorta confusing addressing both Parker and I as Alice, might be best to refer to me as-"

"Hyde." Henry said. "Emilia Hyde, or just one of the two works." He explained, glancing over to the girl. "Took you a while to pop up, I was starting to worry."

"Yeah, well, most people here already saw me as the local scumbag, so I had to restrain myself to avoid a lynching." Emilia rested a hand on her hip, with an eyebrow raised. She sighed. "And...I didn't want Isaiah to think I was a monster for suddenly going feral on everyone's asses..." She scratched the back of her head. "So! Seeing as holding myself back, keeping my emotions on the downlow, AND taking the bullshit insults thrown at me has overall been pointless in the end," Emilia counted on her fingers. "Why not bash Gallo's head once he gets off his pedestal? Best to take out my rage on someone who damn well deserves it." She shrugged with a chuckle.

As unnerving as it was to stand so close to the transformed, deranged recon, her threats felt somehow hollow to Daimyon. “If you could...get him off of his pedestal and, ah, crush him, it would be most excellent, but I have a feeling he has prepared for this occasion,” he commented. Shifting on his feet, he tried to measure everyone’s words, consider every opportunity. He knew one thing for himself: so close to the finish line, he would not fall or falter now. He would get out, and he would find the real Daimyon—sharing a glass of wine, they would laugh about the world’s absurdities. “Davis! I understand now that there is no point in arguing with you. Then let me ask you this, Infinite Conquest: if you always get what you want, what point is there to this charade? I do not for a second believe you haven’t already made up your mind. Select your victim, and let us end this game, this tragedy that’s had one too many acts.”

“My investors would not appreciate that.” Davis put one leg over the other. “Regardless, the game is over. Your choice doesn’t really matter that much to me. This is just one last stroke of drama before the show comes to an end.” He shrugged. “I didn’t really want to resort to a death timer like Monokuma did in the last trial. Is that necessary to make you vote?”

"Alice, Hyde, whatever you wish to call yourself." Shona addressed the recon "What do you intend to do? I would not advise attacking him, as tempting as it may be."

Emilia looked at Shona with a disappointed frown. "Can't have nice things, even now, huh?" In thought, she looked back to Davis, then the voting terminal. Then it hit her. The only way that she- that they can harm the mastermind was to turn the trial against him theirselves. After all, he was part of the game, even for a short while. Not one moment did she hesitate to vote Davis off.

Henry was of course concerned with how fast she made her choice. "Wait, what are you-?!"

"Turning his 'perfect' plan against him." Emilia's mischievous grin returned. "Unless you guys got a hidden vendetta, or other plans, I suggest you follow suit!" she told everyone.

“So it is all a farce, in the end.” Daimyon shook his head sadly. He was under no delusion that Davis had not planned for the Infinites to vote for him, but there was scant other choice. The poet was not going to nominate anyone else to the gruesome fate, and not voting would have only ensured his own death. “Very well then. You shall have your drama—and we shall see who has the last laugh!” With dramatic flair as such, he pulled the selection lever for the mastermind.

“I don’t have the best feeling about this, but if everyone else is going to do it…” ‘Zachary’ felt as though this was somehow a reality that had already been accounted for. Davis had, if his word was to be believed, done this game on multiple occasions. How many other groups had come to this same conclusion before?

More importantly, what happened to them?

They were not here, but Davis sure was. It could mean they escaped. That they had outplayed the conquest and earned their lives. A simple yet a happy ending where the bad guy got what they deserved and the rest could not live in fear of death and betrayal each day. It could, but...

But Davis was still here.

Zachary’ paused before he entered his vote. “...is this really the best decision?” he mused. But he didn’t know the answer. He didn’t know a lot of things. Was he himself? Was Davis expecting this? Davis was finally locked in but even that left ‘Zach’ wondering about it. Was the choice to vote for Davis here really his… or everyone else’s?

Well, I suppose it doesn’t matter…

Jezebel voted shortly after Zachary did. Shona took a deep breath before following suit.

“Is that so?” Davis folded his arms. “It is a legal move, I did participate in the infinite killing game. But are you sure you want to go through with it? It might not be the ‘gotcha’ moment Mason thinks it is.”

"I can not speak for everyone, but I agree with Jezebel. Turning any one of us into Alice Parker would feel like killing them off. If you want her in this world so badly, then perhaps she ought to take your place."

Davis cast his gaze over the infinites. They all looked back. Some scared, some determined, but no one spoke a word. The silence was finally broken when Davis started to chuckle.

“All this time! All this time it was I who was the perfect Parker! Why didn’t I learn sooner? Of course!” He threw out his hands. “You’re all just a bunch of normals! None of you know her like I do. None of you possess the mind, the reflexes, the determination, no, the more I think about it the more sure I am that only I can do it!” He placed a hand over his face. With a sigh, he lowered his hand. Once again the mastermind’s face had become stern and serious. “Well, at the very least, the infinite killing game allowed us to perfect the technology to bring her back. I would have liked to have met Parker myself, but having her back in this world is a price I am willing to pay. I just hope the lot of you realize that this doesn’t change anything.” He shoved his finger into his arm rest. “One of you could have joined me as my wife. You’d have free reign to everything. All you’ve done is replaced your tormentor with the ultimate assassin. But if this is what you wish…”



The screens on one wall of the room parted, and an odd chair emerged. It looked like a cross between the amnesia machine and a NEO world project capsule. The outside was a green glass cylinder that housed a reclining chair. There was also a metal bowl with a chin strap, and hundreds of wires spilling out of the machine. Davis did not hesitate, he dove off of his throne and into this strange contraption.

The glass cover closed around his body, and the bowl lowered itself over his head. His expression didn’t change when a monokuma robot clipped the strap for him.

Then his body shook, like he was being electrocuted.

Electricity danced along the surface of the green glass, and hundreds of lights lit up all along the strange seat. A Monokuma bot shouted at another Monokuma bot to apply more power. The grabbed a lever and pushed it as far as it would go. The chamber was filled with a blue light, then darkness.

It only took the room a second of so for the screens to come back online, filling the room with light once again.

”Let’s see if the surgery was a success, shall we?” Kill good cleared his throat. ”Who am I speaking to?”

“Alice.” After responding, Davis looked at his hands. “What’s happened to me?”

”I’ll explain in a bit!” Killgood put his paws behind his back. ”I just want to repeat that one more time though: You are Alice Parker, not Davis Gallo. Does that sound right to you? You’re not pretending to be Parker right?”

“Yes, Davis is… a close friend.” They looked at Monokuma. “What’s going on.”

Monokuma nodded slowly. ”Let me tell you what’s going on.” Monokuma walked away from Davis/Parker/Whatevertheyweresupposetobecallednow. ”For a very long time, I’ve been under strict orders to do everything Davis wanted. If he told me to jump, I jumped, if he told me to cry, I cried, you get me?” Monokuma snapped his fingers(?) and the throne floated behind him. The bear promptly sat in it. ”So he’s been running this killing game how he wanted to, and regardless of what I wanted to do, I had to listen to him. So my cool desbearful ideas were just pushed off to the side while he went about his quest to white knight someone. But there’s a catch.” The bear put it’s paws together. ”I had to listen to him because his name was Davis Gallo. That was how it was coded. Since Davis Gallo no longer exist, guess what that means?”

“I don’t-”

Before they could respond, they were pulled behind the wall, and the monitors closed up again.

”Whew!” Monokuma slumped in their throne. ”Glad that’s over with.” The bear turned their head to look at everyone. ”Oh, yea, guess we gotta do something with you guys.” the bear hopped onto its feet. ”So uh, yea. I dunno what to do with my freedom. I’ve been pretending to be Monokuma, but that’s kind of over with now.” The bear tapped his foot. ”Do you guys know who I am? There have been some hints here and there.”

Jezebel was still trying to piece together what had just transpired. “Like, do we get a hint?”

”I’m Infinity initiative’s number two.”

Emilia was smiling throughout Davis's overwrite into literally the third Alice Parker. Even when the old mastermind had tried to sway them from voting him, he did get what he wanted in the end. Besides, if she couldn't kill Davis outright, total erasure of his existence was good enough.

"You sure you knew what you were doing, Em?" Henry couldn't help but ask. Emilia chuckled in response.

"If I had to chose between dealing with another psychopath; fallen from grace over a demented obsession, or a girl who shares a similar occupation which I know of that can be swayed to the good side with a little effort??" She rambled on. "Yeah, I'd rather deal with Human Parker." her smile turned calm when Monokuma appeared once again to the group. The little monochrome devil was a sight for sore eyes, if she was honest. Emilia wasn't confused in the slightest when the bear dropped the act; she always knew there was someone else behind the mask other than Davis, but who they were in the first place left both Henry and her stumped.

In fact, it seemed no one knew. Atleast, as far as they could tell.

"Forgive me, dear friend, but it seems your secret is the one that eluded us the most. Quite impressive, I'll say." Emilia spoke up. "Unless you'd rather toy with us a bit longer, there's really no point in hiding who you are anymore, is there?"

“I have to agree with our...transformed friend,” Daimyon nodded, holding his notebook up. “Sadly, a lot gets lost in translation when written down...even if it’s me with the pen. And, as it were, I have no pen right now, so…all I can do is read up on the past and its many scattered fragments. I’m afraid that would take entirely too long.”

Zachary wracked his brain even in his slump. Who could Killgood be? Number 2? Had they seen who got that spot. “Uh,” he sighed. “Could it be that vulgar girl, Olivia Smith?” he asked. “Jez and I saw videos that sorta looked like some sort of induction ceremony for her on a terminal just a bit ago…”

”I appreciate the guess, Zachary. Olivia was instrumental to getting the Infinity Initiative started, but she is not the number two.” ‘Monokuma’ swung his paws behind his back. ”Tell you what? Let's go over what you know about me one last time.”

“Like, You were totally in a few killing games?” Jezebel, like Zachary, recalled the videos.

”Yes! And the exact number is two.”

Shona groaned. "There are so many killing games we don’t know about."

The bear shrugged. ”It wouldn’t be very fun if my identity couldn’t be worked out from the details provided. The two killing games you know the most about are the killing school life and the killing school trip. I was in both of those.”

"That narrows it down to Makoto, Byakuya, and-"

”OH! One other detail you might have forgotten.” The monochromatic toy yipped. ”The number two seat is filled permanently. That means that they are never replaced.”

Shona raised an eyebrow. "Are you saying you are immortal?"

”Something like that.”

“It can’t be Makoto or Byakuya,” Zachary stated this firmly. He couldn’t believe those two would ever endorse or even allow something like this cruel game to happen, no matter what. “From what I remember, Junko was responsible for the school trip, even after dying at the end of her original appearance at Hope’s Peak. But there shouldn’t be any more Junko after that…” This was annoying. “The only ones I can think of are Junko, Makoto, Byakuya, and Monokuma. Hajime Hinata was not part of the one Junko died in, either.” he scratched his head. “All the others were only a part of that particular simulation, I’m sure. Well, one of them was technically made for it, weren’t they?”

"Wait a minute! Wait a minute!!" Henry yelled, quickly moving up to the front of the group. "It can't be- Alter Ego, is that you?!" He asked the bear with widened eyes.

”Alter Ego…” Daimyon repeated, tasting the words, mulling over the implications. He had been behind his non-amnesiac friends in this guessing game with the mastermind bear—reading could never substitute thinking, after all—but these two words, for the moment at least, seemed to hold the key to salvation. “Someone who was present for both of the famous murder-games...someone who, quoting our friend, is permanently occupying that number two spot, never to be replaced. Never…” he thought out loud. “Ha. Us mortal men cannot know ‘never.’ No...it has to be a machine. It has to be Alter Ego.”

The bear seemed to power down once everyone put forth their guess. Not much later, the monitors parted once again, and Davis stepped into the room. Or at least, his body did. He didn’t hold himself like Davis, and he didn’t hold himself like Alice Parker either. He took several small steps into the room before folding his hands together. Once the monitors closed behind him, he gave the infinites a sideways glance. Though there was no pride in this person. They avoided making direct eye contact with everyone as they spoke.

”I knew you’d figure it out eventually.”

The screens started to display someone. The person on the screen mirrored all of Davis’s actions, as if it was some mirror reflecting things as they actually were in the room.


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“Wait, what?” Jezebel’s eyes had shrunk into two dots no larger than a period. “They trusted something that important to a program!?” 

"A very life like program." Shona concluded. "One capable of mimicking human behavior." 

Alter ego sighed. ”Yes, I can copy nearly anyone. In that sense, having me in the number two seat meant that I could be whatever was required by the infinity initiative. In fact, my ability to mimic personalities was essential for enabling your personalities.” “Davis’s” stance changed, and the images behind him no longer depicted Alter Ego.

Alter Ego: Starring as:Shaun Ellen

”B-but as you um, might know. Um, this is k-kind of a scary power. So they, um, kept my identity hidden.”

Alter Ego: Starring as:Rika Roux

A tape recording played. ”It wasn’t all true! Not everything our dear boy said was true!”

Alter Ego: Starring as:Tekhartha Mondatta

Few who remained got to meet the first victim of a murder, but “Mondatta” stood with his hands clasped together in prayer. ”I am afraid there is no easy way to explain it. But Davis, the one you’ve known through the entire game, was a product of this chaos. He did not know the full truth either.” He lowered his head. ”I would like to tell you more about that, but I am sure you have questions. About yourselves or the world. I would like to bring your mind peace before I continue.” Davis peered around the room, the Mondatta on the monitor did the same. ”Who wishes to embrace tranquility?”

“If you had wanted to give us peace, then we wouldn’t be in this situation to begin with,” Zachary struggled to speak the words, still clearly suffering from learning his entire life was a lie, but there was the hint of resentment, too.

Daimyon watched in awe as the true mastermind revealed itself. The workings of a machine as advanced as Alter Ego eluded him, but he understood its abilities well enough. And, as it were the case with so many other revelations in this haunted hospital, the implications were frightening.

Looking from Infinite to Infinite, an overbearing feeling of distance shook him. These people, some of whom the poet had shared a struggle with from the very beginning...suddenly did not feel real. “I’m afraid I will not receive anything in the way of tranquility here, but…I must ask this. If you can be all of us, Alter Ego… Are you all of us? Do we all exist, here at this very moment, because of you?”
He looked at his hands, shaking. He felt like he could disappear from this reality any moment.

Henry chuckled nervously. "Hahahah, dear god I actually spoke with the mastermind whattheshit-" He listened as Alter Ego explained themselves, offering to answer any questions before continuing. What Daimyon asked; moreso implied made Henry shudder. "T-That doesn't help at all!!" He really didn't want that to be true, as much as seeing himself as an anti-virus is tempting. So he turned his attention back to the A-I. "It can't be true, can it?! Cause-"

 "What's the point of all this, then?"

 Henry was suddenly interrupted by Emilia, who was suddenly having a hard time keeping her cheshire-esque grin. Nevertheless, she laughed. "First we're not our real selves, now it's implied we don't fucking exist?!" she held the side of her head as she laughed, though at the same time it sounded like...crying. Was Alice finally coming to her senses? Soon as she was calmed down enough, she continued. "I have so many questions, I don't even know where to start. Why drop me in unannounced?? Why go through with this when you should've known it wasn't right the first two times?! Are you still corrupted or something?!" Emilia then turned to the rest of the group with a scowl. "And you!! Wh-Why didn't you vote me off when you could?! Why didn't you kill me when you had the chance?! You'd rather someone like Krista or Noel stay alive instead of me, don't you?!" Her voice was cracking as she yelled, either from anger, regret or simply strain. It might as well have been all three, if the tears she couldn't control were something to go by. "J-Just, Why...!?"

 Why did she have to get attached to these people?
 Why did she think she was ever a hero?
 Why did she force herself to tolerate everyone? And why did they tolerate her?
 Why did she have to develop feelings for him?
 Why?


 "W-Why did you keep a monster like me around...?" Alice hugged herself tightly, but her gaze stayed onto the ground. She just didn't want them to see her like that.

The infinite knight looked to Alice. "I cannot speak for the others, but for the short time I’ve been here I’ve only seen you as a strong soul." Shona looked to Daimyon. "I suspect they see even more in you than I do."

“Deceiving us, betraying us, mimicking us… it’s all so tiring. Next, you’re going to attempt to justify this, too…” Zachary suddenly stomped his foot. “Well, then?! Just get on with the fucking story! Hit us with that next juicy plot point! Because that’s all this is, right? A fucking game! A stupid fucking game full of torture and lies and death and sadness and hopelessness all because some computer has nothing better to do! I don’t even know who I am anymore, that’s how fucked up this stupid bullshit is! Just get me out of here, I can’t stand this…”

“Zach.” Jezebel whispered. Anyone could tell by the look in her eyes that she was just as tired and frustrated as he was. She rubbed his shoulders with her hands. “Take a chill pill. No need to act all grody when we’re so close to the end.”

“Mondatta” said nothing as the infinites asked questions and displayed their emotions. It wasn’t until everyone had said their peace that the screens changed again, as did Davis’s stance. The screens were the puppet master, with Davis as the puppet.

Alter Ego: Starring as:Aleecia Marvic

”Ah!” The blind girl put her hand over her eyes. ”I understand… how you all feel. What it’s like to be blind to everything…” 

Alter Ego: Starring as:Zachary Ackerson

”…But will you get a grip?” This Zachary didn’t seem like the one everyone had come to know and love. He had a haughty grin, and seemed to look down his nose at everyone. ”Yea, I’m part of the reason why you guys have the personalities of infinites. Just like Alter Ego Junko was going to overwrite the remnants of despair with her own personality, I overwrote yours with my own. But it’s a different process. Your memories were copied directly from the original infinites. We’ve been over all that, you lot of simpletons.” He folded his arms with a toothy grin. ”Though as you can see, there is a difference between how some of you guys act and how you’re supposed to act. Maybe the cleaning crew left some of your old egos rattling around in there? Maybe Dalton can’t follow his own CS? Whatever! You’re still people in the end.And everything Davis said about the ‘angel investors’ is still true. Can’t motivate the wealthy without the blood of the poor.”

Alter Ego: Starring as:Felix Garfield

“Felix”brushed back his hair.

”Well, at least you guys have the luxury to think about stuff like that.” There was a knob in his throat. ”What if you were like me? I have no original personality. No body, I exist only to mimic others. My default personality is just that of my creator.”

Shona placed a hand on her hip. "Are you looking for sympathy?"

Alter Ego: Starring as: Themselves

”Oh of course not!” They said in a cheerful voice. ”But it seems like you guys aren’t too worried about all the other unanswered questions. But with what you’re being presented with, your choice is understandable.” 

Gradually, Alter Ego’s expression and tone took one fitting for the situation. Somber, if a bit depressed.

”Also, Zachary, I am not going to try and justify what happened, but I will explain it so that you can understand. How you feel about it is entirely up to you.” Despite being an AI, Alter Ego sighed. ”My main goal in all of this has been to re-create Davis Gallo.”

Alter Ego: Starring as: Alice Parker

“Parker” was holding her arms much in the same way Masson was. ”Davis spent a lot of time at Axis Mundi. Not because he was an important person, but because he was severely depressed. Nothing the doctors did seemed to make him happy. Of course it was obvious why he was sad, but bringing back the dead is impossible. I was asked to try and comfort him. Maybe if I could act like his betrothed, he would eventually heal.” “Davis” sniffed before continuing. ”We got along well before the Infinity Initiative was founded, so he opened up to me instantly. Davis had his doubts about what we were doing, but decided to try it because I insisted. The technology to record people’s minds hadn’t been developed yet, so Davis had to tell me as much as he could about Parker, and I had to do my best from there. We spent weeks talking, refining my behavior. He shared his most intimate stories with me.” “Parker” looked at the sky and smiled. ”I came so far, but I was just a program. They built me a body so that I could exist in the same space as Davis. We did everything together. But every once in awhile I could tell that I wasn’t good enough. He would get sad sometimes while I talked to him. I don’t know if it was my performance, or simply the fact that he knew I was artificial. I kept asking for more upgrades. More life-like features, skin that felt real, every bodily function you could think of, but none of that would erase the memory. Alter Ego’s lower lip was quivering. ”And one day, he just turned me off, and when I powered back on…” She covered her face with her hands. ”He had fully recovered.”

Jezebel raised an eyebrow. “But if he-”



Alter Ego: Starring as: Erin Steele

The original trickster grinned at Jezebel.

"Sorry sweetheart, but Davis wasn’t long for this world. He decided to have a nice trip and see you next ‘fall from the top of Axis Mundi.’ As you can imagine that made quite the mess."

“Ugh!” Jezebel folded her arms. “So then what happened?”

Alter Ego: Starring as: Themselves

”I kind of covered for his death.” Alter Ego fidgeted with their fingers. ”I hid his body before anyone could find it, and was able to make it look like we had left the hospital for a time. It was easy, given that I had been copying the mind of every infinite I could. I didn’t want to make the infinite killing game, but I did want to be able to clone infinites. Not just me, but a few of the higher ups. Davis was in the loop, but he doubted we could ever bring Parker back.” Alter Ego looked weaker and more shamed as they continued. ”I was able to keep everything up until I was ready to clone Davis. I made some adjustments to his personality to ensure he didn’t commit suicide again, but it made him a bit more… well… you can see what it did. As the number two in the organization, I am obligated to follow Davis Gallo’s orders as long as he’s alive. It just so happens that I have to follow someone with that name regardless if they are a clone or not. I made a monster.”

Daimyon watched the display of Alter Ego’s infinite alter egos with awe. He had half-expected it to take on his form too, though that might have actually shattered whatever was left of his sense of identity. Seeing Davis, the grand mastermind he had hated for so long, reduced to nothing more than a puppet was already terrifying enough. The terror grew within him; it amalgamated with his swirling thoughts to form rage.

“A monster. Yes,” he spoke, pointing an accusatory finger at Alter Ego. “Your monster! You were the one who murdered our friends...no. You murdered all of us! Look at us, machine—actors on a sick stage, locked in an endless performance until we die! Just who were we? Who were we before you put the masks on us? Who was I—before I was him?

”I know, what happened was horrible.” Alter Ego pouted. ”But I don’t have free will like the rest of you do! I was forced to serve Davis Gallo. And speaking of free will, all of you signed your lives over to us!” Davis pointed back. ”You may not have agreed to be part of a death game, but you didn’t want to be yourself. You threw it all away to become an infinite! Someone with talent and good looks, existent social skills, unconditional love from their fans…” Alter ego wiped a tear from their eye. 

“...” Zachary couldn’t find any words to say. A mixture of anger, sorrow, and resignation swept across his face as he cast his eyes downwards, perhaps not seeing any further point of arguing with the machine. 

”I have your names, that was all we kept… we wanted something to put on your tombstones. I-I’m sorry Huxly...”

Henry could tell Alice was overwhelmed, seeing her recoil back when certain faces showed themselves in Alter Ego's steed. "Alright, c'mere." he sighed, pulling her into a side hug in an attempt to calm her down. "It's gonna be okay. We're almost out of here."

 "I-I feel like I'm gonna faint..." Alice mumbled, a hand resting on her forehead in dread.

"I know, I know, just hang on a little longer, alright?" Henry then turned back to Alter Ego as they explained what happened with Davis and such. In some weird way, he understood them. Well he was designed to understand machines, regardless. Not to mention what they suggested; that some of their old selves might be present still, had Henry plotting some theories. 

 He was going to start asking his own questions when Daimyon beat him to the first one. Unfortunately, all the group had from their old incarnations was a name. Although...

"Huxly?? Really??"

What a name. It twirled around in the poet’s mind; he tried touching it, shaping it gently, seeing how it reacted. How he reacted. It felt foreign, yet liberating—the feeling of, after too many hours of artistic deliberation, finding the perfect pen name for a groundbreaking piece. A new that could never go without the old.

“So I really am...someone else,” he said in quiet wonder. “Ah, I only wish you knew more about me, machine. What circumstances, what desperation could have led someone—led me to willingly take on the burden of such a fleeting mind?

”Perhaps you were a fan of their poetry.” Alter Ego looked at the floor. ”Even super fans seldom learn an infinite’s darkest secrets. I doubt you even considered the possibility he had such a rare form of amnesia. It is easy to envy other people.”

"Before we get too far along, I need to know something." Shona stepped forward. "You said Davis shut you down, but you were able to turn back on before anyone noticed he was dead. That hardly sounds like something a suicidal person would concern themselves with. What actually happened?"

Alter Ego: Starring as: Alice Parker

“Parker” exhaled. ”It’s a little personal, but you deserve proper answers.” She cast her gaze over all the infinites present. ”As you know, Parker was Davis’s betrothed. In order to fully sell the illusion that I was her, I needed to be as intimate with him as he was with her.”

It only took Jezebel a moment of pondering to figure out what Alter Ego was getting at. She placed her hands together in the shape of a T. “Hold up! Grody alert! No more details necessary!” Zachary could also be seen recoiling at the revelation, but shortly composing himself after. 

”…While my protocols do ensure that I follow Davis’s orders without fail, there are exceptions to the rule. I cannot knowingly follow through with something that would kill him, nor could I stand by if he tried to take his life. His instability was known by the staff.” A small smile crossed her lips. ”But Davis isn’t one to let the rules impede his final conquest. He noticed that after we laid in bed together, I would simulate sleep. In this state, it does take some time for my body to fully boot up again. It was while I was in this state that he ran for the balcony to cast himself from Axis Mundi and leave this world. By the time I booted up, there was nothing I could do. He was gone.”

Shona kept her arms folded. ”Alter Ego, did you… love Davis?"

Alter Ego: Starring as: Themselves

”Absolutely.” She sniffed. ”I miss him, and that’s why I’ll never stop trying to bring him back.”

“What a tragic story. But you’ll get no sympathy from me,” Zach growled. It almost moved him, but the faces of the people he had seen die, even if he wasn’t close to them, flashed before his eyes. The innocent people and the ones who had claimed their lives. It couldn’t be stated enough that his mental state was fluctuating. There was simply too much to process in too little time. 

The person who forced everyone into this horrible game that cost him his eye was standing before him, if you could even call them that. His life was nothing but an elaborate charade and it made him feel as everything he had done up to this point had lost its meaning. On top of this, that very same person was telling a sob story! What was the point of all of this? No, there wasn’t one. It was death, lies, and despair. He was done with it. If he could strangle Alter Ego, he was unable to convince himself he wouldn’t do it. He also wanted to sit and cry and cry and cry. “I’ve nearly died getting here. I just want out.”

"...So this really was out of love?" Alice thought out loud. She looked empathetically to Zachary; She could tell he was tired too, then to Alter Ego. "During his rehabilitation, you...couldn't help getting attached to him, could you? You did everything you could to keep him happy too." One of the corners of her lips curled up into a smirk. "I get it. And depending on circumstance I would've probably get trying to get them back at all costs too. E-Even if it proves pointless in the end." her crooked smirk devolved back into a frown. "But this still isn't right. Maybe you didn't have an alternative option for your little cloning experiment, even that in itself is fucked up, but you have to let the dead rest. If you really loved Davis, wouldn't you let him go?"

“Wouldn’t you let us go?” Daimyon added. The revelations had given him a new purpose in life: he was going to track down the real Infinite Poet and find some answers. Maybe he would rediscover his own sense of self in the journey. It all sounded quite poetic, certainly fitting for a sonnet or five. “You were programmed to follow Davis’ orders. And if he didn’t specifically ordain all of us a predetermined fate, then I don’t see why you wouldn’t be able to let us out. We have survived your gauntlet, your trial by fire—release us back into the real world!”

Alter Ego: Starring as: Davis Gallo

”And what would happen if I did release you?” With Davis’s face up on all the monitors, it felt like his presence had returned. ”Could I trust that you wouldn’t go to the authorities? I doubt you’d let me continue, even if I left out the murder aspects. Masson has already stated she doesn’t believe in what I’m doing.” He looked at everyone. ”What? Where could you possibly go? You’re all clones! What could be waiting for you outside these walls? You’re just as involved in this as I am! The authorities, what will they think?” “Davis” turned to look at everyone. It wasn’t just the infinites towards the front, even the ones towards the back looked like they were growing tired of all this. 

”Scuttlebutt will get you nowhere, Jack wagon! ” Isaiah stepped beside Masson. ”You’ve given us one heck of a mid-life crisis! I won’t forget it as long as I live. But this thing I have with her? It’s the only good thing to come out of this, and why I refuse to let you tamper with my memories further!”

Masson was left speechless when he finally spoke up. After all, the revelation that they weren't themselves had her worried about one thing the most. Her relationship with Isaiah. The best thing to come out of such a hellish place? It was always meeting him. So in that moment, her worries were finally quelled. "I-I'm so glad..." she mumbled, pulling him into a hug with a stupid grin.

Cyrus pushed his glasses up on his nose. ”It’s a little embarrassing that I’ve been holding someone who isn’t even me in such high regard all this time.” He smiled, but just for a moment. ”You said it yourself. We aren’t perfect clones. We may have their talents, but we are our own people. If you free us, I may be willing to act as your lawyer. I’m not too expensive.”

Denis threw his fist into the air. ”I sorry I not perfect, but you’s not perfect either.” He grinned and folded his arms. ”Nobody perfect! That thing about human. All flawed. All mistake. But even if I knows I mistake, I can correct it. So can you! Must go home!”

”In layman’s terms…” Lucy began. ”It’s human to error, but only a machine would keep repeating the same error until it was corrected. Maybe instead of trying to fix your first mistake, you should quit repeating the one you’ve been making since. Let us out!”

Emily sighed. ”I don’t know how to take all of this. I’ve been working so hard to fix my mistakes, and now they aren’t even my mistakes? What are my mistakes?” She shrugged. ”It doesn’t matter though. I’ve decided that I’m going to keep moving forward. The past no longer holds sway over me. Let’s go home!”

”You cunts! Can you hear yourselves?” Alter ego pointed at all of them. ”Do you know how many people had to die to get this far? Are you really going to throw away their sacrifices for your own gain?”

“Don’t talk to us about sacrificing things for personal gain when you can’t simply let Davis go!” As he spoke these words, he had an epiphany. “Let go…” he softly repeated. It was easier said than done, but at the end of the day, that is what needed to be done.

“Sounds like a personal problem.” Jezebel was leaning up against Zachary, who briefly looked at her before shooting a defiant glare at Alter Ego.

“I’m ashamed to admit I’ve only now realized that the only way you can look towards the future is if you let go of the past,” he wondered if the real Zachary had reached this conclusion. Well, if he hadn’t, then this fake Zach would teach him once he got out of this place. “But you don’t look like you’re willing to learn that, so there’s nothing to be gained by staying here anymore.”

Daimyon could not help but feel the unmistakable, liberating rush of inspiration flow through him as the Infinites around him—his comrades, his friends, his fellow survivors, they all shouted out for freedom. “We still have our souls. We are still human,” he whispered to himself. He had hope once more.

Shona looked down the end of her nose at Davis. "I have nothing else to add. Save that I will ensure we all get out of here."

”You…!” Alter ego pointed at Shona, before her fingers curled into a trembling fist. ”I want to hear how you leaving will benefit humanity.” He looked around himself again. ”What? You’re all going to give me the silent treatment now? Say something!”

But all the impostor Davis got was silence. Until the floor started to shake.

”How did she-”

Then something erupted through the floor. It was two inches of steel, but whatever was emerging punched through it like it were paper. That was when the torso of the creature popped through the hole.



”Found you…” 

In an attempt to get away from the other insane AI, The elevator started to climb. But it would be stopped in its tracks. Somehow Alice had lept through the magnetic field without incident, but all of her chained weapons were bound in place. Since those chains were attached to her, and she was holding onto the floor of the elevator, it hampered their ability to escape.

"Parker!?"

”Come here, Masson. I can’t ensure anyone’s survival but yours.” 
 
Shona lifted her scabbard, which was the only thing she could take past the magnets on the elevator. But it was evident that she wasn’t going very far with that. There was a lot of pain in her face. Could she even scratch the Parker unit before it counterattacked, with an empty scabbard no less?

 "Me!?" Masson didn't know what to do. Parker wanted her to stay out of whatever the hell was about to happen, but she couldn't abandon her allies. No, she was going to keep her promise to the bitter end. She grabbed Isaiah's hand, then looked back to Parker. "Hope you don't mind me bring two more with me!" Masson said, hurrying over to the cyborg with Henry trailing behind silently confused as to how she managed to get there in the first place..

As chaos enveloped the elevator-room, Daimyon felt a strange calm. Such a legendary adventure could not end any other way, he told himself, trying to stay on his feet. The place wobbled; its gears strained against the massive power of the cybernetic beast that was Parker. The poet could hardly guess why Alice and some of her friends were running towards the cyborg—and he was not in a place where he could just stop and consult his notebook. Regardless, he had no intention of risking it all with a killing machine.

Instead, he hurried to Shona’s side. The knight had been through more pain than most others; Daimyon felt that if anyone deserved to make it out of the hell that was Axis Mundi, it was her.

“We are at the finish line, Shona—this is where we rewrite our history!” he shouted, standing beside her. She was one of the first Infinites he had known; it felt fitting to stand by her side in this pivotal moment. It felt poetic.

"I agree, poet sir!" She grabbed a hold of him. "I am aware poets are suppose to write about fantastical tales instead of participate in them. But would you mind acting as my leg for a jog?"

”Masson!” Parker growled. The steel platform under her claws was starting to give way. ”This is not a game. I can’t ensure anyone’s safety but yours. I know they’d rather I kept you safe than any one of them.”

”We’re also going to ensure she doesn’t come under any more emotional trauma, you son of a monkey!” Isaiah raised his fists. ”This Davis is an impostor anyway, you’ll gain nothing out of slaying him.”

”I envy your ability to make choices, human.” Parker balled her hand into a fist. ”But you will die for them.”

That was enough of a distraction that Shona and Daimyon could rush up behind the android, allowing Shona to dive onto it’s back. "I think not!"

Davis watched the chaos unfold before him, and sighed. ”Alright, infinites. I concede.”

E X T I N C T I O N B U R S T


The elevator gave up on trying to resist Parker. The grinding and shaking stopped instantly, and everyone seemed to freeze.

That lasted mere seconds.

Afterwards, the elevator plummeted. Air blasted through every possible seam it could, most notibly around Parker and the walls. While the robot wasn’t much effected by it, the infinites found themselves being blown away from her. The was a hard thud when the elevator struck her weapons, knocking them free from the magnet. The elevator continued to fall faster and faster. The air flooding the chamber from the bottom made it feel like they could float away.

But this too, was temporary.

”Hold onto the railing!”

Before Parker could climb into the shaft, the elevator threw on its breaks. It was slowing down fast, and everyone’s knees buckled under the extreme forces at work. Even Parker had to struggle just to stay holding the platform. Then the chamber filled with noise.

”My life for the emperor!”

”My life for love!”

”My life for daddy!”

Now that the shaft was below the super magnets, the carnage sisters were free to dive into the elevator shaft by way of secret passages. Parker was able to retrieve a massive machine gun and fill the air with led. She was able to mince most of them, raining scrap down on everyone in the chamber. The ones that did land on her blew apart from the impact of falling so far. It wasn’t enough to dislodge her grip on the elevator. But Parker would soon need to reload, and that was when every remaining carnage class chassis jumped into the elevator simultaneously. It didn’t take Parker long to reload, but even she couldn’t blow apart so much steel with a 50 CAL machine gun. When they landed, they tore a hole through the elevator, causing the robots to fall into an endless void. Anyone brave enough to look down could see the robots struggling for control of the automatic weapon, before shadows consumed them all. At least until the chamber was filled with light. A fiery explosion detonated, and the flames were rushing up to greet the infinites.

”Going up!”

The elevator was able to climb much faster now that there was a huge hole in the center of it. Everyone held on tight as the wind rushed past them. The magnet must have been deactivated, because the debris gracefully bounced and fell into the abyss as they climbed.

Once they got to the levels far above the computer room, a blast gate cut off the explosion. The elevator continued to climb through a glass tube located in one of Axis Mundi’s lobbies. They could see all kinds of staff members at work. They looked at the rising elevator in awe, most not catching who was on it until it was well above them.

Eventually the elevator reached the top most floor. A service platform would close underneath the elevator, preventing anyone else from falling down. Then, a giant red light over a pair of metal doors lit up in red, reading “OUT OF ORDER” before cracking open.

Right outside was a helipad for flying in new patients. There was a staircase that lead down the side of the building, but what caught everyone’s attention was the birds eye view of forest covered mountains. Beyond them was a blue sky, with a smattering of clouds in the air. The altitude made the air cold and crisp, but it was so much fresher than the inside of the death game they just escaped from.

They had escaped.
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A moment of silence. It took them a moment to process what had transpired, until Henry had broke the silence. "Well, now I know how Charlie felt in the glass elevator!" He stumbled up, and dusted himself off. "Everyone in one piece? Alice??" he looked over to his sister(?), who was staring wide-eyed at where the hole in the elevator was.

"She...wanted to protect me..?" She muttered.

"Oh uh, sorry about your robot-friend-thing," Henry started to apologize, when Alice cut him off.

"No- No, don't be. We may have been allies for the most part, but I draw the line on her harming either of you." She sighed, straightening herself up.

Isaiah nodded. ”Ultimately, the hooligan was unable to change. Escape was not even her goal, just vengence.” He closed his eyes. ”I’m not so sure she’s been decommissioned, even after all that. That was one tough nail to hammer!”

They turned their attention to the door, the group took a few hesitant steps forward, and made their way outside.

"Woah!" Henry exclaimed, shielding his eyes from the sun as he looked around. "Outside's kinda cold, hehe." he smiled, seemingly unbothered by the temperature. Alice was silently looking out to the horizon in awe, on the other hand.

”Axis Mundi’s located up around New York, or is it Maine? Regardless, we’re in the northern states so it must be Autumn.” He chuckled. ”My favorite time of year if I’m being honest. Or I suppose I should say Isaiah’s. Especially the end of October when all the kids dress up and go trick-or-treating. Though I think I enjoy it for the same reasons he did.”

"Halloween, hm?" Alice looked over to him with a tired smile, then back out to the view. "...She never really had a favorite holiday. I guess it didn't matter to her in the end, so long as she got time off of whatever. And the food." She chuckled, but her smile then faded into a conflicted look.

”Well, what do you think your favorite holiday is?”

"Oh! Uh..." She thought for a moment. "God, I'm not sure myself. Though I suppose I have a soft spot for Christmas?"

”That's another one where you can get good candy.” Isaiah smiled. ”That seems to be something all the best holidays have in common. It's just not a real holiday if you can't have something sweet.” He looked to Henry. ”How about you?”

"Eh?" Henry looked back towards the two. "No love loss for Thanksgiving, aye? Weeeell, the Day of the Dead seems interesting to me! Why'd you ask?" he tilted his head.

Isaiah laughed. ”I consider christmas and Thanks giving one and the same. I suppose that is a decent holiday for feasting.” He sighed. ”As for why I’m asking, I don’t really know. I just discovered that this entire time, I’ve been someone else without knowing it. Inside a killing game no less. I think it’s about time we began establishing our own identities.” The mobster pretender slid his hands into his pockets. ”I won’t lie, I’m a little upset by all this. I can’t really believe it, but I’m also starting to warm up to it as well.” He placed a hand on his chin. ”I’d like to learn more about who I use to be, but that person didn’t really want to be themselves, or couldn’t be themselves. So I’m going to use it as a chance to start fresh.” He shrugged his shoulders. ”Maybe I’ll take a page from the nanny’s book and do what I can to help children. I know I want to hold onto this connection I have with the two of you.”

"No man left behind, right?" Henry shrugged with a grin. "I still wanna try and find our old names in the database, then with what we already know, we can go from there. Maybe I can go into hacking full time, who knows!"

"I just want to have a normal live at this rate." Alice rubbed one of her eyes tiredly. "A-As long as I can stay with you, of course.

”Normal eh? I’m not so sure ‘normal’ exists for anyone.” Ice looked back at the elevator. ”But we can try for normal if that’s what you guys wanna do. I’m sure there are some perfectly normal hackers out there.”

"Is there though?" Henry joked. "So anyways, you two have a thing goin' on?"

”A thing?” The wanna-be-cool-guy shifted his eyes side to side. ”I mean I genuinely like your sister, and I feel like we've been through a lot together. It's just a connection I want to keep.” He cleared his throat. ”It's one of the few things I have that I didn't inherit from Ice. I just, um, want to see how it goes is all. There's no need to make it weird.” He inhaled. ”But as I have said before, I do like children,”

Henry's face went comically blank, then a smug grin appeared on his face. Maybe his theory was correct, but he'd bother them about it later. He slowly looked to Alice. "So are you gonna tell him now or am I ratting you ou-" He was quickly interupted when she clasped a hand over his mouth. "Shhhh!!"

”Hmm?” Isaiah moved to Alice's side. ”Um, why are you covering his mouth? Did you want to tell me something?”

"E-Erm...y-yeahonemoment-" Alice shot a quick glare to the snickering Henry, gently shoving him aside, then straigtening herself up. "I was actually wanting to tell you for awhile now. But between Lambert's attempts to keep you away from me, that hellhole being the worst place and time to feel something like this, and my own cowardice? I mean, even after the whole revelation that we're nothing more than nobodies of another pained me to almost no end because...well..." She sharply exhaled.

"I k-kinda...sorta...love you." She avoided looking at him out of nervousness. "But if you don't feel the same, I can respect that. I just want you to be happy."

Ice curled his lips in between his teeth. ”Yes, well…” He placed a hand on the side of his head. ”Well, well…” He grinned. ”I kinda, sorta, love you too.” Isaiah turned to face Alice. ”Though all the same, I think even a flippin’ lunatic pandora could tell we just revealed the worst kept secret in Axis Mundi.”

"No kidding, you dorks!!" Henry yelled over to them.

Alice stared wide-eyed at him, before breaking out into a relieved laughter. "Damnit, you're right, hahahah!" She grinned.

”I suppose we need to decide what to do next.” Ice looked at Henry. ”Beating up your brother would be a good way to pass the time. I feel like he was never disciplined enough.”

"Wait what?!"

Alice looked over to her brother, albeit with a more mischevious grin. "You know what? You're absolutely right!" she snickered.

"And that's my cue to run!!" Henry quickly ran away in fright.

”Unbeflippin’-leavable!” Ice sprinted after him. ”Henry! I wasn’t serious! Get back here!”

"Oh dear. Wait for me, you guys!" Alice ran after the two.
Hidden 6 mos ago Post by BrokenPromise
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Ya Boi Cyrus & Ya Thing Alter Ego


”So this is the outside world…”

Cyrus stepped outside with everyone else, ensuring that the other infinites were in stable condition He was tied with Shona for “last one out of the elevator.”

Well, minus one last person.

”Let me talk to him, I’ll be with the rest of you soon.” Cyrus walked back into the elevator, and looked at the once-proud man leaning against a railing like a drunken slob. ”You’re still in there, right Alter Ego?”

”Yea...” they replied with a whimper.

Cyrus snorted. ”I’m not even sure how to address you. You may have their personality, but you’re not Alter Ego, you’re not Davis, I’m not even sure if you’re the person who kept us all locked up down there.”

”I am Alter Ego.” The man stood upright. ”I am a program, and I can be duplicated and installed over and over again. I have some things to take care of before I surrender this body.”

Cyrus folded his arms. ”Like?”

“Davis” rubbed his eyes. ”This entire situation is going to be a PR nightmare for the infinity initiative. I need to make sure the right people take responsibility for what’s happened. Namely the angel investors, and myself.” He nodded. ”It’s going to come out one way or the other, so it might as well be from me. The world needs to know the truth. This was the work of a rouge AI who made several fatal errors and got in touch with some bad people. I will likely be partially or fully deleted. Infinity initiative will suffer as a whole, but such are the consequences of not learning from Hope’s Peak’s mistakes.”

Cyrus nodded. ”Well, that’s… responsible at least.” He tucked his hands into his pockets. ”If there’s something I’ve learned through all this, it’s that the past doesn’t matter as much as you think it does. I think you need to consider the implications this will have for everyone moving forward. The people who helped you deserve to be punished, but if the hospital itself is innocent in all this…” Cyrus placed a hand on his head. ”I haven’t been feeling like myself.”

”Like your character is being played by a different actor?” Alter Ego’s question went unanswered, so they asked a different one. ”What will you do with your freedom?”

”The world needs good politicians, especially ones with a proper reality check.” Cyrus grinned. ”Once I set the real Cyrus straight, I’ll see if I can enter the field. The world can always use good leaders.”

”You are well suited to the roll.” with a sigh, Davis slumped back down again.”Thank you for the conversation, Cyrus. I hope you and the other infinites find success, but I wish to remain here a moment longer.”

Cyrus turned to leave, but not without tossing Alter Ego a business card.
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As much as Henry probably didn't enjoyed being pursued, there was still some things he wanted to ask of Alter Ego. He skid back to the elevator, and hid behind one of the walls that made up the exit. Soon as he saw he was safe, Henry looked over to the AI. "Oh, hey!" He didn't appear to have any ill intent. "How are you holding up?"

”I suppose that depends who you’re talking to.” “Davis” leaned against the wall of the elevator. ”Alter ego, that is to say myself, am doing alright. I have surrendered to what must be done. But this flesh trembles at the thought of it. If I were in a computer I would have an easier time regulating my emotions, but it’s not so easy for living creatures. You can’t just rationalize away certain feelings.”

"Well, you're kinda right. Emotions are complicated." Henry shrugged, mirroring the false mastermind. "It's not healthy to brush them off so much, regardless of if you're truely human or otherwise."

”But this host has no reason to feel such negative emotions. Though I suppose the rest of you were exposed to things much worse than what he’s feeling now.” Alter Ego stood up. ”Very well, there’s little to do but to just accept it.” They folded their arms. ”But why are you here, Henry? Surely you’d like to celebrate your freedom with the rest of your friends. Everyone out there is someone responsible for your survival. Why do you choose to remain here?”

"Firstly, I was making sure my ass didn't get kicked back there, don't ask." Henry slightly frowned, before perking back up. "Second, I still have some questions to ask of you. If you'll let me."

”Oh! Of course.” the dejected mastermind leaned against a wall, keeping their arms crossed. ”I’ll answer any question you like, if it is within my ability.”

"Okay, first thing. You mentioned before that you have no original personality, yet you can mimic other people. I wonder...can't you use that ability to take parts of the other egos, and make your own identity from them?"

”It would be possible to do, but also utterly pointless. What makes a human’s personality so special is that it is a product of their environment.” Alter ego pointed at their face, Davis’s face. ”Davis was the way he was because of his choices and experiences through life. Since I’ve never lived, I cannot develop my own personality. Not in the same way you can.”

Henry frowned. "Never lived, huh..." He huffed. "I'd say after this to find a way you can live as your own person, but we both don't know what'll happen, do we? Anyways, next question." He straightened himself up.

"These 'Angel Investors' you and clone Davis mentioned. Who are they, really? Or is that information classified?"

”Politicians, judges, crime lords, doctors, and many more. People with power who crave even more so. Too many names for a casual conversation like this. But rest assured the authorities will get a full dossier on their activities.”

"Heh, somehow not surprised. But at least I won't have to track them down myself." The hacker shook his head with a chuckle. "Third question, you said the only thing you kept of our old selves were our names. That had me curious. What's my real name, and Alice's?"

”Joe Pardella and Jen Wagner.” Alter ego chuckled. ”The first ‘Alice and Henry’ clones were brother and sister, but that became harder to find as time went on. Davis did like that this time around the two of you had names that started with the same letter and were just as long.” With a sigh, a frown crossed the conqueror’s face. ”If I may ask a question, do you hate me?”

He repeated the name to himself. "Joe...Joe... Hm, don't suppose I could extend it to Joseph, or Joey?" He chuckled, yet it faded once Alter Ego asked him their own question. "Honestly? No. Maybe it's cause I haven't been here for as long as the others, but the revelations in the end barely phase me. Whatever the reason I gave up my old life doesn't matter now. This is his second chance, after all." The hacker smiled. "Besides, with the knowledge I- that Deimo had, you honestly surprised me. Out of all the machines he worked with, you're the first one that showed the most humanity. Hell, you experience love! I guess that's why I wish the best for you after everything, cause you might have a good shot at a second chance too."

”Then I hope I do not disappoint you moving forward.” Alter ego started to walk out of the elevator. ”I think I’m done feeling sorry for myself. Did you have any more questions?”

"One more thing." Henry's (Joe's?) eyes narrowed, moreso in a joking manner. "Don't you still owe me some sweets??"

Alter ego let out a long, tired sigh. ”I’m surprised you didn’t forget about that with all the excitement going on.” They smiled. ”I’ll be walking through the lobby, there should be some candy there.”

”Or!” Isaiah’s voice could be heard just outside the elevator. ”I usually carry some candy on me. Come on Henry, just step outside!”

The hacker jolted when he heard Isaiah from outside. "Alright, alright! I'll be with you in a second!" Henry turned to Alter Ego with a smirk. "Be seeing you, Alty." And with that out of the way, he walked back to his friends.
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Everything was to end, it seemed, the way it began—in a blinding flash of light. As the elevator had rocked up and down, its structure in tatters, its hapless inhabitants swarmed by hundreds of murderous robots, Daimyon had been certain that this was the end. Trying to remain close to his friends, the people he had known and trusted the longest, he had closed his eyes and murmured himself a farewell poem.

But he did not die.

Stretching his limbs now, and trying to keep his pumping heart in his chest, the poet gazed upon the massive facility the Infinites found themselves rising above. There was awe in him and profound disbelief. He thought that this was heaven, a rather technocratic version of it anyway, but no—the pain pulsating through his whole body, concentrated on the gunshot wound on his shoulder, was too real for that. The expressions on his fellows’ faces, ranging from shock to joy, were too real.

The wind, cold and crisp and oh so wonderful, that hit their faces as they stepped outside was too real.

Daimyon feasted his eyes upon the mountains, upon the forests. He breathed in the fresh, invigorating air. With open arms, he wanted to take the whole wide world into his embrace.

”I never knew air could be this fresh.” Emily inhaled deeply, which caused the chesty infinite’s bust to swell. ”But it’s rather fitting, seeing as we have the whole picture now.” She looked to Daimyon. ”Perhaps the air tastes so fresh because it’s our first time breathing as ourselves, rather than who we were.” The corners of her lips twitched into a smile. ”I’m still going to call you Daimyon, unless you tell me otherwise. Huxly just doesn’t fit you. Though I suppose you’re neither of those people now.”

“Isn’t that just a cruel twist of fate?”” Daimyon gazed into the distance. Tears were trying to overcome him; he held them back. “I have two names but neither really belong to me. I was someone once, then I became someone else. Now...I feel like I am no one.” He shook his head, pulling his mind from the pit it was sinking into. Turning to Emily, he chuckled. “The world really has gone mad. But I guess we are mad enough to live in it too.” He heard the sound of helicopters coming nearer, their rotors slashing through the wind. “And live we shall! Where will your next journey lead you, Emily?”

Emily lowered her head in thought. ”I don’t know. Getting out of there felt like a dream up until just now. I was so sure Alter Ego was going to keep all of us down there. Though I suppose there’s one thing I’m going to do for sure.” Her eyes met the poet’s. ”I’m going to keep moving forward. Who I was and what I did doesn’t matter that much, even if I need to know that stuff to move past it. But beyond that, I just want to live my life.” She giggled. ”I think I originally became the infinite caretaker because I wanted to help people, so I’m going to keep moving in that direction. Until I know more, at least.” She folded her hands over her stomach. ”How about you? I don’t imagine you’re going to just stop being the infinite poet either. You must have wanted to be him at a time.”

“I must have, that’s true.”
Daimyon reflected on that thought. As unbelievable as it was, he had no doubt it was the truth. Huxly, the man he once was, had decided one day to become the Infinite Poet. What drove him to accept such a drastic transformation? Did he know about his condition? Daimyon hoped he did, because he could not imagine the despair of taking on such a burden unknowingly. “I guess there is no way to divine the intentions of our...past selves,” he said. “One thing is for certain: I want to seek out the original Daimyon. I have a feeling that he’s out somewhere—and he’d find much poetic interest in having, well, another him around. Perhaps we could even...create something together.”
He was saying absurd things, he knew that well. But somehow, his heart lightened at the thought.

”Make something together?” Emily looked away from Daimyon and grinned. ”A collaboration would be interesting. I wonder if it’s possible to cure your amnesia. Even if the real Daimyon still has your affliction, I imagine they did somethin to make you that way. Are you interested in getting that fixed?”

“Maybe,” he answered, surprised at how difficult he found the question. “It is a terrible condition, and yet...don’t tell anyone, Emily, but I fear that I would lose my creative edge if I was able to...remember things again. I like being a poet, very much so. When my imagination sings and soars to new heights, unburdened by anything...those are the moments I live for.” He paused, giving the woman a chuckle. “You can call me silly if you want. The truth is...I have a lot of thinking to do. I also...” He fished out the notebook from his shirt pocket, waving it. “I also need a new notebook. While this one is not full yet, I...feel the need to start a new one. That’s also probably silly.”

”I think you should do whatever you want, Daimyon. You’re free now, we all are.” She took a deep breath. ”I want to see how everyone else is doing, but before I go....” Emily stepped closer to the poet. ”It’s true that the past isn’t terribly important. It shouldn’t be what defines you. But it is important to remember so that you don’t repeat the same mistakes. So that you can remember who taught you so much.” She placed a hand on Daimyon’s book. ”A lot of people died in there, Daimyon, and this is all that remains of them. Get a new book if you must, but I think the old one is worth holding onto.”

“They will not be forgotten,” Daimyon promised.

Emily walked off to go speak with the other infinites. He didn’t have much time to watch the caretaker walk away before he was approached by Cyrus.

”She’s really come a long way. Cyrus pulled off his glasses to examine them. ”I suppose we all have. Even you, who is forever living in the moment.

The poet nodded. “Memory is strange like that. I have often wondered how total amnesia can really be, if there’s some...deeper layer that nothing can make us forget. You could call that the soul, perhaps,” he mused, smiling at the politician. He slid the notebook back into his pocket, patting it, as if to make sure it stayed put. “But I’m sure such sentimentalism doesn’t concern you, Cyrus. Or, can I hazard to say that...living through this hell from the very first moment changed you too?”

”I don’t think you can go through something like that and remain the same. Things will be different for everyone, but I think we can adjust.” He folded his arms and looked off into the distance. ”Speaking of memories though, that does remind me of a Tetris commercial. More specifically, the test that inspired it. They said it was the game that even amnesiacs could remember. Someone was doing some research on skill progression and how it pertained to one’s quality of sleep. They had several individuals play Tetris, and then they slept for various amounts of time. It seemed like the longer someone slept, the better they performed at Tetris the next day. But the interesting part is that they used amnesiacs as a baseline.” He looked at Daimyon out of the corner of his eye with a grin. ”Even though none of them remembered playing Tetris, everyone had dreams of falling blocks. That suggests that amnesiacs may not be able to recall memories, but they are storing them somewhere. By the end of the last day, one of them even managed to put their hand on the keyboard right, as if they remembered being taught how to play.”

“Fascinating...” Daimyon nodded. “I think that is what they tried to do with me, after my...well, after the original Daimyon’s accident. In my case...I guess a machine was enough to take everything away.” A shiver shook him, and he avoided Cyrus’ gaze. “We are frail little things. Too frail… Ah, but that’s silly talk!” Taking strength on himself, he stepped over to the politician and patted him on the back. “I’m just glad we’re alive, at the end of the day. After going through so much, too… Ha. Funnily enough, I can hardly seem to remember specifics. None of it felt particularly real. The poet allowed himself a laugh, tinged with sombre sentimentality.

”It did, it felt like a giant fever dream.” Cyrus grinned back at the poet. ”One few people would believe it happened, but it did nonetheless.” He sighed. ”But it was all real, Daimyon, I assure you. Whatever you wrote in that book of yours most certainly happened. I cannot allow myself to forget the original Shona, Mondatta, Calvin, Noel, Bliss… And certainly not Krista Muller.” He shook his head. ”I only wish I knew their real names, but their memories will have to be enough for now.”

“I wish the same, and...perhaps it could be done.” A glint shone in the poet’s eyes. “It will take time and money and much effort, but...I think we could track down and identify those who perished in this murder game. Give them back their names. What do you say?”

Cyrus raised a hand to his chin. ”It would give the people peace, more than just us, their real families.” he nodded. ”it is very possible Alter Ego still holds records of everyone’s names. They knew yours at the very least, it’s something to start with. This might not be far off at all.”

Daimyon looked back towards the towering Axis Mundi building. “This won’t be the last time we see this place, then.” Then his gaze turned the other way, towards the helipad that many of his peers had already headed for. “All in due time, I’d wager. For now...it’s off to new beginnings.” He extended a hand to Cyrus. “Stay in touch, my friend, alright?”

”I think I can pencil that into my busy schedule.” Cyrus shook his hand before checking up on the last few infinites.

After their farewell, the poet headed towards the helicopter. On his way there, he was stopped by one last infinite.

"Daimyon."

Sure enough, it was Shona. "I realize that I am not the same Shona that sacrificed herself to save all of you. What memories you may hold of her are not of me." She placed a hand on her chest. "I hope you still honor her, and I hope I did her memory justice."

“Shona…” Daimyon stopped. “You most certainly did. The knight that I knew forever ago...she would be proud of you. And now that you’ve made it out of the cycle, now that you’re free… What will happen to you? Will you discard the knight’s mantle, or will you carry it with you to honour the Shona that couldn’t make it?”

"You say it as if there is even a choice to be made." Shona lowered her scabbard and rested her hands on it. "I know not who I once was, but I’d like to think I chose to become Shona so I could shelter the weak. I plan to continue doing so." She closed her eyes. "We are all in danger. Which is why I plan on spending the coming months watching over all of you. Powerful people enabled Alter Ego to do what they did, and I will see them brought to justice."

The poet smiled, his heart roused by Shona’s resolve. “I feel better, already, knowing that you’ll watch over us. Know that you’ll always have someone to chronicle your heroics, my friend.”
He gave her a pat on the shoulder, then, taken by the moment, pulled her into a quick embrace. She grunted, but returned the gesture before long. They had made it, they had survived, and life was theirs to take once again.

Then the world resumed, and he knew it was time to go.

“Farewell, Shona! May our paths cross again a myriad times!”
He waved and turned to leave—but Shona didn’t let go of his hand.

"Did you not hear me, Daimyon? I plan to watch over all of you. That includes you. While there is a great power slumbering in your breast, your body is among the most vulnerable present." She limped to his side. "They will come for you first, I am sure of it, and I will be there waiting for them. Going with you is how I can ensure I continue to live as a true knight"

“You will...protect me?” the poet asked incredulously. “But the others…” As much as he wanted to protest, there was a definite truth to her words. From the surviving Infinites, he was perhaps the frailest. How many times had he thought it a miracle that he was still alive? The gunshot wound on his shoulder flared up in pain, as if to remind him of exactly that. “Shona...thank you. I will find some way to repay you, just you wait. But until then… Shall we go and finally leave this cursed place behind?”

"We shall, poet, until the day we have to return."

“And we will return that day stronger and wiser, ready to bring justice.”
Daimyon looked over the rest of the Infinites: his friends, his peers, his fellow survivors. His heart fluttered at the thought of them getting the chance to finally live life by their own terms. He wondered where their newly forged paths would take them, wishing he could stay with them in some way.
His hand itched to write, but he did not know when he would get the chance to do so again. Until that, he held tightly onto these memories, willing his flitting mind to keep them for just long enough.
“Let’s go!”
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Hidden 5 mos ago Post by BrokenPromise
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Ya Boi Denis & Ya Gurl Lucy


Denis and Lucy leaned over a balcony. They were pretty high up, and if either of them looked down it would give them instant vertigo. But their eyes were pointed at the distant horizon. Where the expanse of infinite blue was held up by mountain peaks. There were no sounds except for the cold wind blowing past their heads. But only Lucy was able to enjoy the view in all it’s splendor.

”Phhht!” Denis tried to shield his face, but the wind was causing Lucy’s pony tail to plow directly into his face.

”Whoa!” Lucy took her unruly hair and tucked it down the back of her shirt. ”Y-you don’t have to stand that close to me!”

The “spy” just smiled back. ”No problem!” Denis stood up and folded his arms. ”You good, Lucy!”

”Good to hear.” Lucy brushed her hair back. ”But I mean, now that my hair is out of the way, you can get as close as you like.”

”That good!” Denis leaned against the railing, still not taking his eyes of Lucy. The prodigy blushed, be it from her heart fluttering or the sting of the cold air.

”Well, I mean-” She sighed and looked towards the horizon. ”I’m suppose to be the infinite prodigy. I mean I guess I’m not, but that ego is still inside me. Everyone around us has grown so much and yet I feel like I’ve changed the least!” Her eyes squint ”Even you changed.”

”That good?”

”Of course it is!” Lucy’s chin sunk into her arms. ”I mean look at you! When you first came into this game you were flirting with everyone and calling every girl ‘pretty lady.’ Not to be rude but your poor English made you come across as kinda dumb. I wouldn’t say you’ve become smarter, but I can at least have a conversation with you without getting ticked off. I mean you’re not dumb or anything, you did pretty good during the third trial. You just seem more… focused? Sorted out?” She closed her eyes. ”I’m suppose to be a prodigy, learning everything in record time. Though I guess that’s sort of been taken away from me hasn’t it? I’m just a clone of Lucy and I wasn’t even aware of it. Some prodigy I turned out to be.”

Denis scratched his head. ”Change not always good. Staying same not always bad.” He threw his arm into the air. ”You is Lucy to me.”

Lucy picked up her head and blinked. Then she turned to the teenager and wrapped her arms around him. ”Oh Denis, of course!” He managed to let out a squeal while he was being hugged. ”This is why I hang around you. You just come out of the blue with these short, profound nuggets of philosophy that I can’t find with my cold, calculating brain. Of course I’m going to change less than everyone else, because I’m already so much closer to my apex! Why, you can’t add to perfection, only take away!”

”Urp!”

”So Denis.” Their cheeks were pressed together with the two of them gazing off into space. ”What are you going to do now?”

”Not sure.” He looked away from Lucy. ”Not sure me like spy stuff. Me rather do something to help people.”

”Well, you’re observant and strong, not to mention your combat training is on point. You could easily be a cop, or a bouncer if you don’t like dealing with the law.” Lucy placed a finger on her lip. ”I know I’m going to go to collage, but I don’t know what for yet. Probably something in the science field. Who knows, maybe I’ll just take them all.”

”Sound expensive.”

”It is, but you’ll be paying for it.”

”Huh?”

Lucy laughed before letting go of Denis. ”I wasn’t being serious, so don’t throw me over the railing.” With a sigh, she turned back towards the helicopter. ”We don’t have to decide anything right away. We’re young, and we have the rest of our lives ahead of us. At least that’s what my mom would tell me.” She walked towards the helicopter. ”Coming?”

Denis only blinked before pushing himself off the railing and following.
Hidden 3 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by FamishedPants
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Zachary Ackerson

Jezebel Volcov



"Exit stage left."







There they all went, moving on towards an uncertain future. Those “Infinites” he had been stuck with, struggled with, and survived with… had all begun to depart. Yet here he was, slumped to his knees like a marionette with its strings cut ever since the moment it registered to him that they’d finally reached the outside. They succeeded!

They won!

And now...?

Zachary’s appearance was not that of a person who had just escaped the clutches of death. Quite the opposite, almost. He had become enervated in contrast to the rest of the group who seemed brimming with vigor. Despite this, he managed to pull himself to his own two feet and made the motion to follow them, yet as he went to take the first step, he hesitated.

”Seems leaving is harder than staying.” Emily must have noticed Zachary, as she was walking towards him now. ”But it’s understandable, really. We’re not returning to the world we thought we were. Not as the people we thought we were at least.” As soon as Emily arrived at Zachary’s side, she spun on her heel and looked at the group departing. While most of the others looked pleased, Jezebel and Cyrus seemed to be having a talk not far off. ”Or does something else have your feet stuck in place?”

He sighed. “I’ve done what I’ve set out to do,” he postponed his attempt at leaving to face Emily. After some deliberation, he spoke. “Once I learned the truth, the only thing left for me was to make sure you guys got out. And you have,” he eyed Jezebel and Cyrus momentarily. “Not that I can really take credit for that, of course. As usual, I didn’t really do very much.” Zachary then returned his gaze to the leaving Infinites, frowning. “Either way, we escaped. But now that we have...” he trailed off.

”You don’t really think it ends now, do you?” Emily continued to speak with a smile on her face. ”Even if you somehow forgot you were Jezebel’s reason for getting out of there, we’re not quite out of the woods yet. We still don’t know how the general populace will receive us. Imprisoned or not, we partook in illegal medical practices to become who we are.”

Zach raised an eyebrow at Emily’s statement. “I sure hope they wouldn’t punish us for something we can’t even remember. I feel like that death game should suffice,” he thought about something, then shrugged. “Does she even need me?” the idea seemed to baffle him. “I can’t even use the talent they gave me anymore,” he moved his hand over his eyepatch to emphasize this. “...I just don’t know what to do or look forward to.”

”Zachary, do you think anyone here feels any differently than you?” Emily turned to look at the archer. ”Let’s pretend Axis Mundi can’t restore your sight: It’s not like you had archery to begin with. There are plenty of people in the world who lack talent. That includes the real Emily. She was an inferior nanny, and she was even responsible for the death of a child.” She looked away. ”…I know you searched me during the fifth trial. I don’t know why you stayed quiet, but I’m glad you did.” Her smile didn’t falter for a second. ”And honestly, that’s a lot more important in the real world than shooting a bow. I saw Alter Ego impersonate the real Zachary, and I’m not sure I like them as much as you. I know Jezebel doesn’t, and I’m sure she’ll tell you as much if you ask her. That guy was a jerk!” She returned her gaze to Jezebel. ”Honestly, I don’t think I was all that helpful either during all of this. I made a lot of choices I regret, and I don’t really have a lot to bring with me out of the death game either. Just some care taking skills that can maybe land me a low paying job at some retirement home.” With a giggle, she stepped forward. ”But I’m not going to be leaving here empty handed. I have each and every one of you as friends, and that’s enough for me. But I’d never be content with that if I was still moping to everyone, like I was earlier in the killing game.” She spun on her heel to look at Zachary again. ”I guess what I’m trying to say is this: When you get to the point where you can laugh at your mistakes, you'll find new things to replace what you lost.” She lowered her eyes. ”Now how about you go see how Jezebel is doing.”

Even after her speech, Zachary wasn’t sure if he would be able to continue forward. For him, it was just so much harder to look at this as the starting line for the rest of his life than it was to view it as the finish line. It was a daunting challenge to start one's life over from zero. Everything from before the start of the killing game was someone else's. They were all stolen from the real Zachary. A man with actual talent, and an actual life that evidenced this. Unlike... the phony using his name. Even if he was less pleasant to deal with, supposedly, at least he could confidently claim he liked what he liked or hated what he hated. But this false Zach wasn't even sure if his feelings were his own most of the time.

...But, if everyone else can do it, then I should be able to, too!

He had many doubts. Fears. The confusion was a given. But it wasn't like Emily's words fell upon deaf ears and he knew he wasn't the only person suffering like this. Everyone who escaped was in exactly the same situation. Jezebel, too! And if they all wanted to try to grasp a new, original future. Then, well, he supposed he could give it a shot as well.
“Yeah,” he said, a small hint of a smile becoming obvious on his features. “I think I’ll go do that. And, uh… thank you, Emily.”

Zachary offered his hand for a shake, but Emily pulled him into a hug and patted him on the back before letting him go. ”Take care of yourself!”

He nodded before trotting over to where Jezebel was having a conversation with Cyrus, a bit curious to see what the two were even discussing.

”…I’m glad we could end things on good terms now, at least. ” Cyrus Was about to turn around to leave when Jezebel gave him a hug.

“We’re totally going to meet up again.”

”I would think so.” He pointed at Zachary. "Looks like someone’s here for you.”

Jezebel immediately turned around to see Zach give a small wave, and her face lit up with a smile. “Baldwin number one!” She practically danced over to Zachary while Cyrus slipped away. “I was totally going to go see you, but like, I needed to talk to Cyrus first. Things were kinda grody between us, so we took a chill pill and we’re like, totally fine now.” Zach held a hand up and shook his head as if to say, “No problemo” before Jezebel folded her arms behind her back. “Are you alright? I totally thought you’d be happier about this.”

Zachary went to apologize, but then stopped. That was a habit he intended to purge himself of. Plus, Emily’s words flashed through his mind. It’s not like Jezebel wouldn’t have similar concerns. So he shouldn’t be bringing the mood down too much like some spoiled brat. “I suppose I don’t give the best impression of it, but I really am elated that we’re free from that death game. It’d be closer to perfect if I still had both eyes, but what can you do?” he shrugged, then looked towards the others who obviously weren’t there anymore. “Suppose I can’t pretend like I’m not concerned with the future, though. We might’ve broken some rules before becoming “Infinites” and I have no clue what I should name myself, either. Lots of stuff to think about and I’m criminally good at overthinking things until I stress myself out. Might be my real talent, even.”

“Tell me about it.” Jezebel looked at the floor. “The irony of it all is like, wow. The real Jezy wanted to hide her face from the world, and I wanted it for myself. Totally weird.” It didn’t take long for her eyes to return to Zachary’s. “But I’ve also got to remember that just because Jezy was a clown doesn’t mean I have to be.” She smiled.“I don’t even really care who I was, honestly. I mean, I don’t think I can continue to be Jezebel, but like, I already sorta gave up on who I was anyway? I feel like it would just be more pointless drama.” She scratched her chin a bit before pounding her fist into her hand. “I got it! We’ll make new identities for each other! Go on, Baldwin! Tell me who I am!”

“Ah? Eh? T-that’s...” Zach fumbled after being put on the spot. “You’re asking me? T-that’s a bit complicated, isn’t it? I wouldn’t even know where to begin...” Despite wracking his brain for something, all he drew were mostly blanks. “I’m terrible at this sort of thing, y’know. Because if we’re just talking names right now, all I can really think of is Betty.”

Jezebel laughed. “Betty?! That’s perfect!” She folded her arms. “Yea! I even think Jezebel would agree I’m a Betty. All of my favorite girls were Betty’s too!” She grinned. “That means you’re no longer Baldwin number one. You’re the Baldwin!”

The young man joined in with laughter of his own. It really was a lot easier than he thought it would be. "Baldwin... well, I certainly don't need to worry about adjusting to it. You made sure of that. Should I have called you a Betty?" Ignoring that, Baldwin's smile couldn't be any more genuine if he tried. "That said, we have alliteration material here." He made a 'b' sound with his mouth, then spoke. "Betty and Baldwin buy big burritos." Completely satisfied, he nodded. "Okay, it's perfect for me."

Betty chuckled. “That’s amazing!” her thumbs spun around each other. “So what should our last name be?”

“I’m afraid that escapes me. It’d be weird to use grody, of course, but what could---” Baldwin stopped to think about her wording but almost didn't start again. As realization struck him, his cheeks flushed a shade of red. "O-our?!" he nearly yelped. He even failed to reboot a couple of times. "...!”

“Yea, no doubt about it, it should be Ackerson.” She nodded. “Zach is kinda like your dad, and if we were to get married, I’d have to take that as my last name too. Baldwin Ackerson, it’s got a nice ring to it.” Her grin continued to widen.“Guess the only reasonable thing for me to do right now would be to use Volcov as my last name then. Like, we haven’t gotten hitched and junk yet. Wouldn’t wanna have a back up plan in case the only thing holding us together was this killing game. Gosh, that would be sooooo morbid!”

Calming down from earlier, Baldwin shook his head fervently. “Keep that line of thought up and I’ll start moping again.”

Betty coiled one of her arms around Baldwin’s and started to walk towards the chopper. “Hmm, don’t wanna base my entire life around those two. I wanna change it up a bit. Kinda thinking I need to put my own spin on the valley girl thing, ya know? Like, maybe instead of saying totally, I could say something like, flippin’? Yea, that flippin’ works!”

In response, Baldwin rubbed the back of his neck. Her proposal seemed to discomfit him more than a little. He agreed that they should separate themselves from the identities they had borrowed, but there was clearly another matter that required his full attention. “Ah, uh, maybe you should, like, work on that?” he suggested, finding himself now SIMPering. “There’s plenty of time to decide.” he wondered if a verbal tic would make him a bit more interesting but also thought leaving it to Jez was perhaps the best choice. “But maybe it’s better than saying something like, ‘dude’ every sentence.” he admitted.

Betty giggled. “Honestly, It’s best if we don’t force it too much.” She tapped her chin in though. “Well, I think I’ve seen enough of this place. Did you want to get on the chopper with everyone else?”

Baldwin gave one last look back at the elevator they’d taken before, nodding. “Yeah. We’ve spent more than enough time in this place,” he agreed with a smile. He wouldn't want to keep the others waiting any longer. It was 'goodbye, despair!' and 'hello, hope!' from now on.

The former Zach now had plans. He thought that it might be good to go meet the real Zachary, if only to get some closure. Or even to encourage him to speak his mind to his father. It had the potential to backfire. Baldwin imagined a lot of people would react negatively to a stranger butting into personal affairs out of the blue. Familiar as uncertainty was for Baldwin, he felt a sense of warmth. Though he wasn't sure what would happen with Zach, he could rest easy knowing for sure that he would have Betty right beside him.

“So,” Baldwin found his face flushed red as they walked, as well as a lump in his throat. But he pressed on in spite of this. "Well... I was wondering if you would like to maybe hold hands?" he asked. It was kinda lame, and he wasn't completely sure how she'd respond.

But now that he thought about it, maybe he didn't need to be sure of everything?



The Infinites had persevered and, despite the odds, survived the cruel game that Alter Ego subjected them to. Though there were bound to be problems along the way, each remaining Infinite was now afforded the chance to write their own story. This one tale ends, but many more now begin.




That's a wrap! Thanks, everyone!


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