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  • Okay, so you all know how in Virtue's Last Reward, the Ambidex games: Round 1 of both Tenmyouji and Alice will always result in Betray/Ally or Ally/Betray; no matter how you try to change your choice, these two will always mirror it. Sigma talks in depth about this when you exhaust both options in Alice's game, and the game in general just shrugs and goes "Oh, well here's a Schrödinger's cat theme and some mumbo-jumbo about the future affecting the past" to handwave it.

    I believe I've stumbled upon a very sound and logical theory as to what's really going on here. Phi happens to get stuck in a similar situation with you in one of the Ambidex Games, but because of some SHIFTing for some information you're able to get out of the deadlocked results. In fact the only reason Phi does this is because she herself is a SHIFTer as well, so she's doing what Sigma's doing, hence the deadlock. At the time VLR came out it was unclear if Tenmyouji had the same powers as Sigma. I mean sure, he was in contact with these powers in 999 thanks to Akane, but he was never in control of it or anything.

    Enter Zero Time Dilemma. The events that lead up to Virtue's Last Reward's timeline happen to have a Junpei and Akane that have been SHIFTing around a few times, and with more Espers around the connection to the field strengthens and the easier it becomes to tap into your potential Esper abilities. Of course Junpei loses his memory of the events at Dcom test site but his power still remains strong. This is why he's able to Ally one moment and Betray the next in the Ambidex Game; he's doing what Sigma is doing, SHIFTing between timelines. And as a matter of fact, Junpei does the exact same thing down the path he takes to VLR; he betrays in an AB game when you ally and allies when you betray as Carlos.

    So then the next obvious question is why Alice does the same thing? It's not as if she's an Esper herself, nor has she been exposed to a group of Espers, right? Well actually, it turns out that her organisation was recruiting participants from the First Nonary game and keeping in contact with the 999 participants as well. What were they chosen for again? Oh yeah; they exhibited a strong connection to the morphogenetic field.

    Yes, I am saying that the reason Alice is able to Ally/Betray deadlock your results in the Ambidex Game is because she is a SHIFTer herself, thanks to being exposed to her Esper recruits using their powers to stop Free the Soul for extended periods of time. It might not have been enough for her to utilise it much like Sigma himself at the start of VLR, but it's a start and only gets better being around Akane, Tenmyouji, Phi, Clover and Sigma(?)

    Suddenly this whole problem in VLR makes a whole lot more sense now, doesn't it?

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    • In your theory, is Junpei aware that he's SHIFTing during the Ambidex Game or are his decisions based on subconscious feelings?

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    • It's uncertain. For all we know he could be receiving a vision of betrayal and deciding to Betray instead of Ally. For all intents and purposes though, his SHIFT ability would be influencing his decision.

      EDIT: Upon some reflection I would assume he uses it based on subconsious feelings. The way he talks about Sigma and Akane's plan and his biker metaphor seems to suggest that he either doesn't know he himself could do it consciously, and even if he did it's a bit late now since Quark is in his life.

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    • I dunno, very interesting theory.

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    • I always saw this situation as more of a "some other story" scenario. Every instance of Ambidex Game has four possible outcomes (unless either solo or both members of the pair don't vote): pair allies and solo allies, pair allies and solo betrays, pair betrays and solo allies, pair betrays and solo betrays. Every round of Ambidex Game has three instances of the game, which brings the amount of outcomes of a round up to 64 (assuming everyone is still capable of voting). We as players see only a small fraction of those possible outcomes. We experience a specific set of timelines that Sigma SHIFTSs in and out of, but the game implies that there are other timelines that go unexplored by us.

      For example, if during the first round we play against Luna and pick "ally", Phi says something like "maybe it's different this time", implying that she SHIFTed from history where Luna picked "betray". But we don't see that timeline at all. Those timelines that we don't see potentially have their own story of how Sigma and Phi jumped between them to an eventual but slightly different success of the AB Project. Sigma and Phi from that "story" are also different, due to going through different experiences.

      So yeah, that's my take on it: every possible combination of choices exists, we just don't see all of them.

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    • Exactly my theory, Erik1310 (though I feel like Phi was referring to the AB Games we see against Alice and Tenmyouji, since they Betray if Sigma Allies and vice versa). Especially since I heard that the game's creator has said something about the player only seeing a small drop of the potential timelines. Makes you wonder about the possibilities.

      If you think about it, it also resolves the "Schrodinger's Cat" paradox with K, to a degree. In timelines where the Sigma we play as picks the Magenta or Yellow door first, when he later SHIFTs back to choose the Cyan door, he actually SHIFTs to the timeline where Akane wasn't killed. And if he chooses the Cyan door first, then he's the Sigma that ended up in the timeline where Akane wasn't killed and eventually SHIFTs to timeslines where Akane was killed (but eventually has to SHIFT back). Meaning there could be timelines where Sigma goes through the Yellow or Magenta door and Akane is in the suit and a timeline where Sigma goes through the Cyan door and Kyle is in the suit.

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    • Because of the multiverse theory, of course the AB routes we see in VLR are just a portion of the actual timelines.

      Also, interesting theory. I guess people who are in contact with SHIFTers, after a specific amount of time, they get to experience their powers too. 

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    • Yeah that is how Eric and Mira were able to escape as well.

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    • He might be SHIFTING without knowing, but it doesn't seem likely.

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    • Gbertolini wrote:
      He might be SHIFTING without knowing, but it doesn't seem likely.

      Did you mean in regards to my edited post on Tenmyouji? Apologies. When I said without knowing, I meant in the sense that he didn't understand what he was doing. Think of Sigma in VLR; in the early stages of his awareness of his ability to SHIFT, he likens more to a scenario that happened before or in the case of finding Alice, a premonition. Either way he doesn't know what it means until much later in the game, when him and Phi discuss it in-depth.

      The way VLR liked to showcase SHIFTing was as if the the esper suddenly had an epiphany. It would follow that Tenmyouji would be doing the same and as far as it concerned him it was nothing more than a sign, stress (especially in that timeline since Akane's body was found), a bad feeling or some other factor. Mainly because whatever he did know about SHIFTing was rendered zero when his memories were erased in ZTD, and the morphogenetic field knowledge from 999 on its own isn't enough to explain anything or even be perceived as related to it since Junpei wasn't doing the SHIFTing so much as it was Akane planting alternate timeline information directly into his mind, like a third party making the exchanges.

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    • To Erik1310Queenofdragons6 and PokeFanClaire (thank you by the way), It does indeed go without saying that the timelines we see in Virtue's Last Reward are only a portion of all the possibilites. It seems to be easy to assume it's a "story for another time" deal but there's two problems with this: the first is that we are exploring everything from Sigma's perspective, so any possibilites missing otherwise are simply due to Sigma being unable to access them since he only SHIFTs to make certain specific choices.

      The second is that while all those possibilites exist, they are for better or for worse closed systems. Nobody can change these possibilities because they cannot interact with them. They have become static. The exception of course is Sigma, Phi and any other espers who can SHIFT and collect information from these closed systems.

      Let us assume for simplicity's sake that Sigma doesn't jump to a timeline that's 0.01% different to the one he was just in. Instead, when he jumps back earlier in a timeline it's the exact same timeline until the different choice is made. The fast-forward button showcases what's already been read (excepting instances where multiple timelines use the same dialogue) so it's safe to assume that no particles have been changed.

      So, if somebody picked betray in round 2 on timeline X, they should by all rights be incapable of changing that choice in timeline X, leaving Sigma the freedom to take advantage of it. However, as Phi demonstrates in Alice Timeline Round 2 against Phi, more SHIFTers can complicate this. Phi attempts to take advantage of Sigma's choice but it cancels out because Sigma's attempting to do the exact same thing.

      Tenmyouji and Alice are the only anomalies here as they defy their static choice with no explanation (at least, before ZTD came out.) The game does do good trying to explain this but it begs the question of why only them doing this? Why doesn't everyone do this also? (Besides a big writer's mess, that is.)

      Anyway, that's my stance on the "story for another time" and the game's explanation. If anything I'll give it to you that Phi is an unaccounted variable here, but since these choices happen at Round 1 with her on your side it minimizes the potential changes she could've possibly made.

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    • Also Phi is an unaccountable variable since she is patient 1 of Radical 6 and possibly the snail for the pandemic.

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    • Exactly, we see VLR through Sigma's POV but there are other timelines with Phi's POV. 

      There's a fanfic called "Empty Virtue" which is canon-compliant (and with some necessary divergences) with Phi as the main character and we get to experience her timelines.

      For example, she is the one who votes instead of Sigma and there are some game-overs where she dies, totally absent from the game but it would still make sense because multiverse theory is the main focus of the series.

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    • Well my fanfic for after ZTD, basically has Another Time as canon, since I use most of the stuff in there in my fanfic, since Akane would know about the Fanatic, Kyle's existance is also to help a D-COM but more importantly to stop the terrorist.

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    • PokeFanClaire wrote:
      Exactly, we see VLR through Sigma's POV but there are other timelines with Phi's POV. 

      There's a fanfic called "Empty Virtue" which is canon-compliant (and with some necessary divergences) with Phi as the main character and we get to experience her timelines.

      For example, she is the one who votes instead of Sigma and there are some game-overs where she dies, totally absent from the game but it would still make sense because multiverse theory is the main focus of the series.

      Ahh, but while it's true we only see from Sigma's perspective it's also true that we see the effects of Phi's SHIFTing through Sigma so they are sharing the same timelines. The only time this crops up before Round 1 is knowing Sigma's name, and whether or not she votes shouldn't change the outcome since Sigma and Phi are a pair.

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