Last time on Steins;Gate, the future had consented to change. Okabe’s little numbers went up, but he still ended up short of the exciting divergence-level based reward of saving his girlfriend’s life. Or at least, that was how things had been represented to us, but Mayushii sure seemed to be alive. Maybe she was secretly kidnapped by CERN and replaced with a spy android? Would creating a relationship with a spy android violate conservation of interpersonal relationships? Finally, we have an empirical test for personhood! Let’s watch the Future Gadget Lab ignore this amazing philosophical breakthrough in favor of dicking around with time leap headphones in episode 17 of Steins;Gate.
…thirty minutes pass…
Oh right, this show is based on a porn game.
It did indeed turn out that sub-percentile divergence only delayed and did not prevent Mayushii’s death. I guess if CERN had good enough robotics and AI that they could replace Mayushii with a spy android, they wouldn’t even need a time machine to conquer the world. Although, as long as you have a time machine, you may as well exploit time loops to get infinite research time and grind up your robotics and AI. I mean, what good is it to rule the world with an iron fist if you can’t build robot people? Skynet knew what was up.
So I guess Reading Steiner isn’t something peculiar to Okabe after all. It’s a skill that anybody can learn, as long as you yell facts from previous timelines at them loud enough. I guess that raises the question of why somebody yelled facts from previous timelines at Okabe when he was a young boy and why he doesn’t remember it, but surprisingly it closes the plothole I assumed would be left open, as to why the inventor of the time machine just happens to be the only one in the world to have this magic power. And the way Feyris talks even in the new-old (retro?) timeline about how she and Okabe were lovers in a past life, could explain some of Okabe’s quirks like always talking about how he is hunted by The Organization. There was a past life in which he was hunted, by an organization! The fake code words he speaks were “once” real code words, because in a past life he was less incredibly careless with his time machine and properly set up code words and whatnot. I guess being more careful didn’t really help, though, if he still ended up hunted by The Organization and had to go back in time to yell facts at his infant self until he developed Reading Steiner.
It seems like there was probably a better way for them to resolve things than to re-kill Feyris’s father. I mean, if you have to kill a dude to prevent Dystopia, that’s ok. You gotta do what you gotta do. But it seems like there should have been a way to keep him from selling the IBN 5100 without having to kill him. You could have told him the kidnapping was a joke at some point between him missing his flight and him collecting money for the ransom, for example. I guess that probably just means he sells it to somebody else, later. CERN can manufacture whatever crises it needs to convince him to sell them his computer. Or, worst case, they could break in and steal it. This way, Okabe can keep retracing his path, and return to his Last Known Good state. Then I guess once the IBN 5100 is safe and CERN’s plot has been foiled he can re-save Feyris’s father without having to worry about any of this stuff. I sort of suspect that he’s going to have trouble undoing the CERN spy’s message, though? Given that the CERN spy has no reason whatsoever to cooperate, and if he says “Mayushii’s life hangs in the balance” she is likely to reply “Well that saves me a bullet”. I guess he hasn’t thought that far ahead. But really, anything he will be able to do to undo Moeka’s tampering from the proximate timeline he should be able to do from this timeline. I’m just worried that that ends up being “not much”. It’s a shame John Titor left, she probably could have taken Moeka in a fight, and she seemed knowledgeable about torture and brainwashing.