I think everyone's wanted to have a crack at the ending of this episode...
He managed to track the loops up until the 60's, but Ezekiel started to lose count somewhere in the 20's.
It makes sense, Ezekiel guesses. Most people start struggling to remember their age once you get past 21. When the numbers start blurring into each other and stop having significant meaning. He certainly found it harder to keep track once the loops started entering the repetitive double digits, and frankly, once he hit past the triple's, what was the point?
Ironically, the average loop was about 20 minutes too. Five to convince everyone, ten to break into the room, grab the rock and open the door, then another five to try and get through the gate, or get through the rage mob. If he had hit the 100 mark, that accounted to approximately 300 hours of game time. Which equated to about 12 days. At least.
Except it didn't. He hadn't slept or eaten. Gone through every save feeling physically refreshed, if mentally broken a thousand times over. If you accounted for that, it was probably closer to a month, which still didn't seem right.
Then again, spend that month repeatedly hitting a brick wall, watching your friends die again and again, letting yourself get ripped apart time after time, doing everything you can think of and still coming short. It felt more like a year.
Boy did Eve suddenly make so much more sense. No wonder she got so angry when they didn't listen to her – how many times had she lost someone because someone didn't stick to the plan?
And how had she managed to stand up and keep on going when there hadn't been a reset button?
He wished he'd had the foresight to ask her before the grenade jump, but perhaps it didn't really matter. Soon Ezekiel Jones wouldn't have the ability to care about the answer.
He'd known even before he'd jumped he wouldn't make it. The other's didn't remember, but he'd spent hours upon hours learning this game's mechanics before he snapped and started looking for a back door. The game didn't enhance his own physical abilities at all, if he fell, he'd be disintegrated into code.
He hadn't slept or eaten in a month, he'd been burned, electrocuted, beaten and literally ripped apart so many times he'd honestly lost count. Yet the game returning him to the same save point meant the damage was gone each time. There was no building up a resistance or immunity – it was as painful and raw the eighth time as it was the first.
Ezekiel wasn't a soldier. He had no experience handling torture or physical pain outside of the odd security bust up. After a while he'd hoped it would become numbing. No such luck…unless you counted mentally.
He'd died so many times. Remembered dying so many times. The others looked at the hole as if it was some frightening doom that must be avoided.
For Ezekiel, it was salvation.
Face death enough times, you start to want to welcome it. The three people he'd grown to know so well stood safe and secure on the other side. They could escape and finish saving the world. And Ezekiel could rest.
He'd felt his body disintegrate around him. At first it had hurt – worse than the rage people ever had…but then it suddenly stopped. There was no pain, or movement, or even purpose. He was part of the program – a program that had crashed and ceased to be.
For one single, glorious moment he'd been completely at peace.
Then he'd felt it, the pull of reality tugging at his core.
The others had found a loophole. A way to pull him out. All around him he could feel code slipping through the cracks – the scientists and soldiers trapped in the game. They were trying to save him too.
He dug in his metaphorical heels and hesitated.
Ezekiel Jones is a wisecracking thief with an ego and elite tech skills. He is not a battle hardened warrior with knowledge of engineering, basic physics and close combat skills. The others don't know that version of him – they saw the raw edges but he could never make them understand. He knows them in a way they'll never understand him.
And frankly, he's too terrified to go out into the real world and watch them die for real. He can't do it.
But it looks like he might not have a choice. The pull is getting harder and harder to ignore, as the game tries to pull forth from the save point…
Ezekiel pauses, and throws himself into the program data around him. That's it!
He might actually be part of the system right now, but nobody knows computer programming like he does, let alone video games. It's no problem at all to find the save data, and flick through to the very first save point.
The game hadn't saved over it after all, just kept resetting from that point. Ezekiel was from the previous save point – but this Ezekiel…
He ripped the data out and tossed it in the direction tearing at the ones and zeros that made up his person. The violent behaviour stopped almost immediately, and Ezekiel gave as much of a smile as he could as the first Ezekiel gained shape and vanished.
With that, the world became dark. As the game shuts down, Ezekiel allowed the nothing to embrace him, one last thought sending him chuckling to deletion.
Care to restart?'