The year is 2030. Business is as usual in the isolated research city of Rokumei–that is until several explosions suddenly go off in the nuclear research facility known as “LABO.” The city sends in “Sirius,” an elite rescue squad, to deal with the situation. But the situation only gets worse when LABO’s nuclear reactor melts down, sending the facility into lockdown–with members of Sirius and survivors still trapped inside. With lethal radiation leaking everywhere and not enough anti-radiation medication to last until lockdown lifts, the survivors make more and more grim discoveries. In their struggle for survival, in a deathtrap full of fire and radiation, they learn that doubt is their greatest enemy, and trust their greatest asset.
The story of Root Double features two different protagonists: Watase Kasasagi, a rescue squad captain who has lost his memories in the hours after the incident, and Natsuhiko Tenkawa, a student piecing together the clues in the six days before. The only key to survival lies in the player’s hands with the Senses Sympathy System (SSS). Unlike traditional visual novels, Root Double does not have clear cut “choices,” but rather, the game uses SSS to allow the player to manipulate the story based purely upon emotion. Your emotions projected upon the characters, particularly your trust in them, shape the progression of the story. Only with effective use of this system and completion of both protagonists’ stories can the player piece together the truth and hope to discover a way out of the facility.
The rescue squad that Watase, Kazami, and Jun belong to. A group of life-saving experts that only firefighters that have passed a harsh test can join. They are comprised of two separate teams. Each team has six members (one of them a firefighter who manages the team). Each team also has a commander and a sub-commander.
“Sirius” is a name for Alpha Canis Majoris. It is the brightest star visible from the Earth, save for the sun. It comes from the Greek “seirios”, which means “aflame with rays” and “shining one”. A rescue dog. The ray of hope to save the survivors. A marker for an escape route.
Gates built at the entrances to Rokumei City. There are six “city gates” that encircle the city. The six roads that lead into the city are all connected to these gates. Tall fences akin to those found in military facilities surround the city borders, with surveillance cameras that keep an eye on every important point. Checkpoints are set up at each gate, where guards carefully inspect everything and everyone going in and out of the city.
Trying to tunnel one’s way under the fence to get in and out of the city is useless. Even if someone shakes off all attempts to stop them and try to destroy the gate, the guards can seal off the tunnels with bulkheads, so illegal entry or exit into the city is very difficult. There is a system that informs the security department and police when a bulkhead is shut.
The city gates are broken down by their individual color schemes, with four of them representing the four Chinese celestial guardians.
- Guarding the northern route is the “Black Tortoise Gate” (Black).
- Guarding the eastern route is the “Azure Dragon Gate” (Blue).
- Guarding the western route is the “White Tiger Gate” (White).
- Guarding the southern route is the “Vermillion Bird Gate” (Red).
- Guarding the farmland by the southeastern route is the “Rural Gate” (Green).
- Guarding the research facilities through the southwestern route is the “Research Gate” (Grey).
The one pictured here is the White Tiger Gate. The White Tiger, being the representative of “metal” in the Five Elements of the Way of Yin and Yang, corresponds to metals and minerals, possessing a cool, firm, and reliable disposition akin to metal. He is also a symbol of “autumn”, the season of hunting, white, the west, Venus, the lungs, rage… and so on.
There are surveillance cameras set up all over Rokumei City to keep an eye out for criminals. Most would consider them a very uncomfortable and bizarre sight, but it’s a necessary measure for a “government designated top-secret city” like Rokumei. Government designated top-secret cities–due to being designated a specially administrated science zone, Rokumei City has regulations imposed over it to prioritize public order. The city’s outstanding public order is thanks to these surveillance cameras.
It was approved in 2021, but isn’t available to the general public. LABO provided AD to the rescue squad dispatched to LABO in response to the incident, but they are only able to obtain 54 ampules in total (including the ones they find during their search of LABO) over the course of the story.
A new model Geiger counter carried around by Watase’s group. Highly sensitive and accurate, it can apparently measure radiation doses up to 15000 mSv/h. With this device, they can keep an eye on the radiation levels as they search contaminated yet safe areas. Furthermore, the radiation levels at the start of √A are 1108 mSv/h, yet they slowly increases for some reason…
Even in 2030, commercially sold Geiger counters can only measure radiation up to 1000 mSv/h. After all, no situation should normally require one to have a Geiger counter that can measure up to 15000 mSv/h. Anyone who entered an environment like that would be dead quickly, after all. But with AD, it makes sense to have a Geiger counter that effective. “Procyon” is a name for Alpha Canis Minoris. Its name means “before the dog”.
The seven legendary wonders of Rokumei City. All of them are absurd and unfounded rumors, but there was a point in their childhoods where Natsuhiko and his friends really believed them and got serious about trying to solve them. A list of them can be found below. Perhaps some of them hold a pinch of truth to them…
- Number 1: LABO doesn’t conduct nuclear power research. They research arms production and other dangerous, national matters.
- Number 2: The burned ruins of the old Rokumei City Hospital are haunted by the ghost of someone who died in the fire.
- Number 3: The surveillance cameras in town aren’t meant to prevent crime, but to observe ordinary citizens.
- Number 4: There exists a righteous organization that fights evil Communicators who misuse BC. They’re commonly referred to as the BC Police. Their true identity is shrouded in mystery, but they’re headquartered in Rokumei City.
- Number 5: If a Communicator uses BC without knowing the proper way, they will eventually turn into a mind-broken monster.
- Number 6: Monsterified people are captured by a secret task force working under Rokumei City’s Security Department and are imprisoned underground beneath the municipal office.
- Number 7: ???
Natsuhiko has forgotten the final wonder. It may eventually be revealed in the story, but for now, it lies in the depths of oblivion.
2030 AD– a future where the existence of telepathy has been scientifically proven.
As the ages change, humanity’s means of communication change as well. Long ago, the humans who communicated their ideas through mere actions and gestures eventually developed the spoken word. Then writing was born, and not long afterwards, the printing press, the telegraph, the telephone, and the internet… A communication evolution, so to speak. But at the turn of the century– human communication came upon a major upheaval.
The discovery of “BC”.
Transmitting one’s thoughts over a long distance, transmitting more than just thoughts, a form of communication that dates back to ancient times… the name means many things, but at its heart, it is “the power to connect minds”.
It is a new way of communication and conveying ideas that doesn’t require the use of language as an intermediary.
People of the past would call it “ESP”, or “telepathy”. Or perhaps high intuitions that have been called “the sixth sense” and “reading the atmosphere” are incomplete manifestations of BC. These abilities were once a part of the world of the occult, but as of 2030, there are few who doubt is existence, thanks to research in the fields of elemental particle physics, brain physiology, and genetic engineering that have allowed researchers to scientifically prove nearly all the mechanisms of its manifestation and phenomena.
Back in 2014, 16 years ago, right after the scientific foundation for BC had been almost completely set in place, many Communicators started to be born around the world as if in some sort of synchronized timing. Though that said, “many” only refers to “one in every ten or so thousand”, so they’re still extremely rare.
BC can be divided into two general groups.
- Ability #1: telepathy
The ability to send your “voice” directly to another’s mind. You can converse with those in distant places. The sender (the speaker) and receiver (the listener) cannot “converse” at the same time. They can only mutually speak. It’s like having a conversation via a string-can telephone or a transceiver. A Communicator can use this ability on anyone (however, its effective range depends on the Communicator’s skill).
- Ability #2: empathy
The ability to read another’s mind. However, a Communicator can’t use this ability on whoever they like. There are conditions. They can’t use it on anyone they haven’t built a relationship of trust and empathetic understanding with. In other words, it’s not effective unless their target doesn’t mind that particular Communicator reading their mind. Normal people build a sturdy wall around their minds, so actual usage of empathy isn’t all that common. What’s more, only some Communicators can use this ability (like telepathy, its range depends on the Communicator’s skill)
Only these two abilities have been established as of now, but it is said there still many mysteries about BC. After all, the structure of the brain itself is still a large blank. There is a common theory amongst BC researchers that a “third ability” more developed than telepathy and empathy may appear. The study of BC has progressed all around the world since its discovery, especially in Japan, where it is treated as a national project. It is a very important research theme in Rokumei City, with its own facility dedicated to conducting various research and experiments related to it.
That Mecca is the “Rokumei City Parapsychology Research Center”
Furthermore, BC may be a convenient ability, but it requires considerable practice to master. As a result, a school to provide Communicators with professional education in developing their abilities was built several years ago. In other words, a school made specifically for Communicators. It is the Parapsychology Speciality School known as “Rokumei Academy”. Rokmei Academy is an integrated school that covers all grades from elementary to high school, providing special education in BC for Communicators from the time they are children. So naturally, their curriculum includes many BC-related classes. “Aptitude” for BC is required to enroll.
–“All of you who have passed strict selection to make it here may be called elite Communicators”–
Naturally, as students of the academy, Natsuhiko and Mashiro have BC aptitude. In particular, Mashiro displays mastery of telepathy from the start of the story.
Thus Rokumei City is a self-governing body that puts much effort into BC research and education. What’s more, they have an extremely high rate of Communicators amongst their populace (1 in every 500 people). This is due to the Japanese government’s proactive endorsement for Communicators to move to Rokumei City.
Their motive is to safeguard Communicators and teach them the right way. Misunderstandings have lead Communicators to become a popular target of discrimination in normal cities. The Grand BC Discovery was in 2014– multiple tragedies have occurred all over the world due to many still not understanding BC. The government established multiple laws and benefits to ensure Communicators can live in peace so as to protect them from unwarranted malice and to guide them down the right path. And the place that receives the brunt of those benefits is Rokumei City. Thus Rokumei City is just as much a utopia for Communicators as it is a city for researchers.
The symbol of Rokumei City
A nuclear research facility on the outskirts of Rokumei City. Its official name is: “6th Laboratory of Atomic and Biological Organization※”.
Its nicknames are “LABO”, or “LABO 6”.
It is a giant structure with 4 floors (two on the surface, and two underground). It is a nationally owned facility, but its operation and management is carried out by Rokumei City.
It houses a small-scale nuclear reactor used for research related to nuclear energy (such as nuclear fission experiments, nuclear fusion reactor development research, and radioisotope experiments).
Word also has it that they carry out other national secret-level research as well…
Naturally, citizens are not permitted inside. The only ones who may enter are the facility staff or a select few researchers.
The nine main characters are trapped in the basements floors due to the “incident” on September 16.
As a result, Watase, Kazami, and Jun were entrusted with the following mission:
- Secure the six survivors located in the basement floors alive and well.
- Find a way to keep themselves safe from radiation exposure for nine hours, or locate another escape route and evacuate outside.
As of 2030, nuclear research is one of Japan’s hottest research fields.
Another important field of research is lifesciences. These include research of environmental science and technology, nanotechnology/nanomaterials, space research and development, earthquake/disaster prevention… and so on and so forth, but the significance and importance of nuclear power research is still huge.
Despite the fact that the world is presently in a global energy crisis, no countries have been able to secure a safe and high-quality energy supply. Traditional nuclear power generation like that used all over the world at the start of the 21st century no longer cuts it.
There is a global desire for innovative results, such as a prompt implementation of nuclear fusion. Therefore, politicians and research are still putting much effort into nuclear power science.
On a side note, one more very important research field for Japan has arisen since 2014.
That research has been pressing forward at great speed here in Rokumei City.
–It is the study of an “ability” and the elucidation of a phenomenon. That “ability” has been dubbed “BC”… “Beyond Communication”.
A symbol made popular at the start of the 20th century by composer, dancer, and rumored mystic George Ivanovich Gurdjieff, discovered during one of his travels. Appears as nine dots on a circle, linked together by lines. “Ennea” is Greek for “nine”, and “gram” means “graph”. It is believed the word “enneagram” is a portmanteau of those two words.
It is also rumored that Gurdjieff merely discovered this symbol, and that its roots actually date back to Ancient Greece or China, but these theories are unverified. Ever since the 1960s, the enneagram has been used as a popular personality divination theory, based on the idea that there are nine essential personalities that all people are born with.
Those nine personalities are:
- Type 1: The Reformer
- Type 2: The Helper
- Type 3: The Achiever
- Type 4: The Individualist
- Type 5: The Investigator
- Type 6: The Loyalist
- Type 7: The Enthusiast
- Type 8: The Challenger
- Type 9: The Peacemaker
There are those that say the validity of this classification lacks adequate explanation, but it is used even today to train leaders and coaches, or a widely used cheap divination technique.
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