Operation story: 12-4

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Victorian Worker B icon.png
Londinium Worker
Victorian Partisan B icon.png
Eartha Partisan A icon.png
Self-Salvation Corps Fighter
Nobleman B icon.png
Timid Citizen
Victoria Streets
Londinium Tube
Glasgow Gym
Londinium Arsenal A
Londinium Arsenal B
Victoria Room

Before operation

After her long disappearance, Ines finally reappears before the Doctor, while Logos catches the Damazti Cluster, who has been disguising themselves as Molly, red-handed. The riots in Norport Borough are getting further and further out of control.
<Background 1>
"Trilby Asher" How quick to answer, Doctor of Rhodes Island.
A safe location has been sent to Alexandrina's terminal. Please stand by there. I cannot guarantee your safety for any actions you take outside of our arrangement.
Siege My terminal? When did...?!
"Trilby Asher" You have some impressive talents among your ranks. That's very good. This should contribute to our common goal instead of becoming an obstacle to our cooperation.
<Dialogue branch starts here>
Doctor This isn't completely up to us.
"Trilby Asher" Of course. We must slowly build our trust.
<Dialogue branch>
Doctor ......
"Trilby Asher" A cautious silence. How admirable.
<Dialogue branch>
Doctor Is it a Victorian thing to call threats cooperation?
"Trilby Asher" Regrettably, yes.
<Dialogue branch ends here>
"Trilby Asher" Please await our next communication.
[The Trilby Asher leaves.]
Ascalon ......
Doctor, I need to contact Closure and reevaluate the safety of Rhodes Island's communications. Until then, maintain radio silence.
Of course, we also need to... take care of the issues regarding the landship's calling procedures.
Amiya Thank you, Ines.
Doctor Hello, Ines. Is this the first time we've met?
Ines I'm afraid not.
I've lost... some of my memories.
Ines I'm aware.
This is our first meeting, for this version of you.
Have you really lost your memories...? Or is this part of your plan?
Doctor I forgot about lots of things, indeed. / ...... / What makes you ask that?
Ines ......
I've never been quick to judge, Dr. {nickname}. I can sense that you've gone through some... changes.
We'll have a lot of time to get reacquainted in the future.
Rather than trusting verbal statements, I prefer to see things for myself.
Amiya Ines, the Doctor...
Ines Relax, Amiya. My prejudices won't be a factor.
For now.
<Background 2>
Self-Salvation Corps Fighter The evacuation's almost complete!
Horn Good, we need to get out of here ASAP.
[Logos casted his Arts, taking out the Kazdelian attackers.]
Robben That Sarkaz from Rhodes Island. Is his name Logos?
Horn And I thought we'd seen all the surprises Rhodes Island's fighting style had to offer, having fought alongside Misery all this time.
Robben Right. It doesn't matter who exactly he is. His cursecraft has been a great help.
Self-Salvation Corps Fighter Hah... and he's a great darts player, too.
I played against him for a couple rounds. His accuracy might just be as terrifying as those Arts of his.
[Logos joins in.]
Logos A friend of mine taught me a couple tricks before, that's all.
He's no match for me in a chair sliding match, but when it comes to darts... He's not so bad.
Horn, the Sarkaz forces have retreated. We should seize this opportunity.
Horn According to the plan, Rhodes Island and the Self-Salvation Corps will take the supply route, head toward the exit, and make their way to a town called Brentwood to build a new safe house there.
We will regroup with them there.
I suggest we charge toward the city walls. Norport Borough is gone, and even though the Sarkaz have patched up the walls, they wouldn't have had enough time to build new plates to fill the hole there.
The exposed underground structure might just help us somehow.
[Logos notices the presence of Molly (the Damazti Cluster) nearby.]
Logos ......
Looks like I've met another old friend.
Self-Salvation Corps Fighter The one who taught you to play darts.
Logos Regrettably, no.
Unlike this old friend, my friends are loyal to one another until our deaths.
Everyone, I'm afraid I still have matters to attend to within the city. Horn is more than capable of leading you outside Londinium, and my coworker Misery will also lend you his assistance should the need arise.
Horn Understood.
Stay hidden, everyone. Follow me.
[Horn and the partisans pull out.]
<Background fades out and in>
Logos Are the mountains of the past really so worthy of reminiscing? Blood and tears are nothing to be obsessed with.
"Molly" I must say I'm not entirely fascinated by them.
But what if the mountains are the only place there is left to stay? What if only the light of glory there can give us warmth?
Logos ......
And here I thought I'd hunted enough of you.
"Molly" This is the thirty-first "Molly." You are a hardworking one, Banshee.
Logos But you prevailed nonetheless. You helped Theresis decimate the Self-Salvation Corps.
"Molly" That's business.
Logos I would pry up every tile in Londinium to find the last of your hidden shards, Damazti.
You yet refute the possibility of change. This has always been your choice.
[The Damazti Cluster abandons their guise as Molly and assumes their usual form.]
Damazti Cluster A little arrogant, aren't we, young Banshee? We understand change. We come from change itself.
But change is merely a means to adaptation. All change has a final objective.
Even before the Sarkaz found themselves in this state, we had long been walking upon the lands.
Ideologies, faiths, missions, slogans. None of them can escape the sands of time.
Those ideas you mistake as novel have been conceived long ago. The paths you deem noble have been paved time and again.
And where are they now?
We yet still before you.
And that is the greatest proof.
<Background 3>
(Bang, bang!)
Cador Phew–
Baird You should save some strength, Cador. You've eaten more than enough.
Delphine has talked to you about your appetite problem already. We're much worse off than we used to be now.
Cador Relax, Baird. Things haven't completely gone to shit yet.
Them devils aren't nearly as strong as they look. All they did was catch us off-guard.
I had a chat with Marshall from the transport union. They have a group of men over there. Once we rope in more people on our end, we might just stand a chance to defeat the Sarkaz.
Just like how we joined forces with those other gangs to take the cops down.
Jump them from behind, get the job done clean. "Pow pow," "bam!"
A couple punches. That's all it takes.
Baird The Sarkaz army isn't cops.
Cador I know. They're a force to be reckoned with.
But we aren't afraid of blood. We aren't afraid of sacrifices! We will walk over our fallen comrades, and smash their faces in with our fists–
Like our gym's name, "Slobberknocker!"
Marshall and I worked it out. We will definitely win!
Baird Just like those bootleg Lungmen videos you collect, hm?
Cador I'm serious, I've been around the block in Norport not much shorter than you.
We need to find a way out of this mess ourselves just like before.
That Siege of yours just up and left Glasgow all those years ago, and our turf got handed over, just like that. It was you and I who racked our brains to figure out how to gain a foothold here again.
This is nothing different than before. We stand together, get prepared, and beat them all up. That's how we've made it this far.
It doesn't matter how things are outside. Out on the streets, we do things the street way.
Next, we just gotta find ourselves the right moment...
[Someone tries to open the door.]
Baird Looks like Delphine's back.
[Delphine returns.]
Delphine ......
Cador Did Ol' Baldy Per finally give in? Given the circumstances, we're paying a pretty decent price. I'm sure he–
What's this? Is that... blood?
Delphine Ol' Baldy Per is dead.
Cador !
The Sarkaz–
Timid Citizen No, not the Sarkaz! Dammit, I have no idea who they were, but they were already at it when we got to the store!
They were a bloodthirsty bunch! I saw with my own eyes there was this man with a crowbar, pinning another man on the floor. That man even–
*cough* *cough*, *cough* *cough*!
Delphine The situation's bad. My guess is some starving bum set his sights on Per's shop. The idiot still had bread in his glass showcase.
And it went as you'd expect.
You can more or less guess just how many of these "bums" there are in this locked-down district.
Cador ......
Bloody idiots... Whatever they have been sniffing must've finally got to their heads!
Delphine I know the man with the crowbar. He's a tail hair product salesman. Always had a smile on his face.
I bought from him a number of times since he gave me discounts. They aren't all that good, though.
I saw him just now... His eyes were deep red, there was blood on his lips. That crowbar was completely bent. I... I almost didn't recognize him.
Fear is spreading, Cador.
Cador The transport union guys did say there could be cowards going nuts, but how could...
[A throng of people outside the gym threw rocks that breaks the windows.]
Delphine Barricade the door!
Timid Citizen I... I...
Baird What are you spacing out for? Make yourself useful! Cador, push that sofa over here!
Cador Bloody bastards, what do the lot of you want?!
Voice Outside the Door ......
Cador Now piss off, we've got people alive in here. This is Glasgow's territory!
Voice Outside the Door ......
Cador Baird, watch out!
A fire axe smashes through the gym's thick door and breaks open a hole. The sharp axe brushes past Baird's hair.
A few strands of her hair flutter in the air.
Cador I said it already. We've got people still bloody alive in here!
Cador presses against the door with his body and grabs the axe peeking through the hole back with his two hands. The man outside makes several attempts to pull the axe back in vain.
Cador I don't care who the hell you are, but get out of my sight, or I'll have this axe in your brain!
Voice Outside the Door ......
The axe wobbles a few times, and after a few heavy kicking sounds on the door, the men outside finally gives up, their chaotic footsteps slowly growing quieter.
Timid Citizen Your hand... Your fingers...
Cador ......
Good thing that bandages are the last thing we'll run out of in a gym.
Baird, Delphine. We need to take inventory of all our resources again.
I'll take down a couple sandbags to reinforce our front door.
Timid Citizen Th-These people... Have they gone mad?!
They... The citizens of Norport Borough were all upstanding men, basically... What about the police? They were always so quick to write tickets!
Cador If I were a cop so unlucky as to not make it out of this plate in time, I would definitely have locked myself in my home with my weapon at the ready by now.
I... I need to head on over to the transport union later. The people here still trust Marshall.
He–Everyone always listens to him. He'll find a way.
Dammit... Bloody hell! The Sarkaz are still out there. These people are out of their minds. How could they–
[Cador walks off.]
Timid Citizen What... What should we do now? Cador said we just had to wait for...
Baird An opportunity?
Mr. "Next Academician," are you aware of the great fire in Norport fifteen years ago?
Timid Citizen Oh, yes, I've heard. It was in the port, if I recall...
Baird It doesn't actually take very much to burn down a port.
All you need is scorching hot weather, a warehouse full of wood shavings, and a cigarette butt not fully extinguished.
No one can put out a fire like that.
All we can do is watch everything burn to ashes.

After operation

Feist and his group organizes the Self-Salvation Corps' evacuation. In the meantime, although Rhodes Island still cannot fully trust the "Trilby Asher," they have no choice but to cooperate with him. The Damazti Cluster shows Golding the harsh truth.
<Background 4>
Rockrock These munitions factories are all empty.
Feist We hauled away two production lines and tore down the others.
The situation was dire. We didn't know how long we had until the Sarkaz mercenaries caught on to what we were up to in the factories. Otherwise, we could've taken even more equipment.
Rockrock Highbury... This new industrial district feels rather different from the old district I was in.
In Sudean, we were more like spanners, hammering away to knock together everything at all costs. But here... these production lines... I don't know. Maybe you guys are more like gears.
Turning ever so stably day in and day out.
Feist We're used to it. That's how shocking human adaptability is.
Found it. It's here.
Rockrock Why are there symbols carved on the collection boxes?
Feist Years ago, our workshop used these as codewords to let each other know when to slack off. Never did I imagine they would one day come in handy.
Rockrock Looks like workers everywhere just want to catch a breather, no matter the cost.
Feist Let's see. Patto reorganized most of the Self-Salvation Corps from the other districts.
The Highbury safehouse was ambushed too, but a few of the pipelines deeper into the plate that's used as rest stops weren't discovered.
They should be there.
[A Rock-18 drone controlled by Closure flies toward Feist and Rockrock.]
Rock-18 I'm back~
I've marked the positions of all the Sarkaz sentries. There's not a whole lot of them. Looks like all the manpower in the city is either headed to the frontlines or followed the others.
Rockrock Closure... I still can't say I agree with you installing your voice banks on my drones.
Rock-18 Hey, don't forget I helped upgrade this drone of yours!
Alright, enough chit-chat. I just heard from Ascalon that some of our communications systems might have been compromised by some Victorian duke.
I don't really buy that they can hack us all the way through, but just to be safe, I'm gonna run a whole security audit.
Feist, have you confirmed where the rendezvous point is?
Feist It's confirmed.

{{sc|Rock-18|Awesome. Let's see...
We may have Shining as our super bodyguard, but she still has to take care of the wounded. So, avoid fighting at all costs, got it

Feist Got it.
Rock-18 You guys go on ahead and make contact with the remaining Self-Salvation Corps fighters first. Clovisia and I will work on the evacuation–
Feist Let's go, Rockrock.
Rockrock Er... right.
Feist What's the matter?
Rockrock No, nothing...
I was just thinking... was Highbury always this quiet?
Feist Going by the temperature in the air, there's no furnace burning in the neighborhood.
That isn't a good sign. We need to act fast.
<Background 5>
Feist We should be able to make it deeper through this maintenance access.
[Someone walks by...]
Feist Who's there?!
[...who is revealed to be one of the arsenal workers.]
Londinium Worker Feist, it's me!
Feist Tommy, you're here!
You should've waited for us down there. The Sarkaz army has just cleared out our safe houses. There might still be patrols up here.
Londinium Worker I-I know... We suffered pretty heavy losses. Day broke his arm, too. Catherine gave him first aid.
How much longer until the rest of your group gets here?
Feist They should already have left. Don't worry. There's a professional doctor among them. She will take care of his arm.
Londinium Worker A-Alright.
Our people are all at the lower level of Maintenance Access K13.
I heard... the Self-Salvation Corps are going to evacuate from Londinium?
Feist ......
Only for the time being.
We will be back, Tommy. We're the Londinium Citizens' Self-Salvation Corps.
it's just that we need to get our wounded somewhere safe... and there are none in Londinium.
Londinium Worker ...Alright.
Now head on down. Catherine keeps it to herself, but we can all tell she's worried sick about you.
Have you heard about what happened to Norport? Good gracious, the Sarkaz plucked the whole plate up and tossed it out of the city!
I heard that flying fortress even destroyed the a duke's high-speed warship... A high-speed warship!
War has broken out, Feist, but I've never truly experienced it before...
I used to think that joining the Self-Salvation Corps would be no different than before. I thought I'd be standing in front of the assembly line, turning screws, and the only difference would be that the weapons go to you instead.
This... This is our home.
Feist Of course, Londinium's our home, too.
Londinium Worker We belong here and nowhere else, right?
<Background 6>
Ines If you ask me, I think I've shown more than enough good faith already.
"Trilby Asher" Hardly unexpected. We, too, have noticed the Sarkaz's secret transportation network for some time now.
But it's true that there are certain details that are worth getting to the bottom of, and we will continue our investigation with a focus on these areas.
And I have a decent guess as to who is behind... some of these events.
Ines I hope you will share the results of your continued investigation with us.
"Trilby Asher" Of course, just as I previously promised.
Rhodes Island's response is fast. Your terminals' signals have already been re-encrypted.
If the opportunity ever arises, I would love to meet your engineer, Closure.
Ines She might not like you.
"Trilby Asher" I must say, for a pharmaceutical corporation, your company is home to a variety of talents.
Ines ......
"Trilby Asher" That said, Her Grace has never been one to refuse new friends in lieu of making enemies.
Not to mention that Her Grace and Alexandrina are related by blood. She is more than willing to care for her young relative.
Siege Please do let her know how appreciative I am of her looking out for me.
"Trilby Asher" Your Royal Highness, I may yet call you so out of respect, but this does not represent my position whatsoever.
Siege You can choose to call me Siege.
"Trilby Asher" Victoria is a heavy burden, Your Royal Highness. It is nowhere nearly as vivid and vibrant as it seems on the surface.
The return of a certain person–no matter who she is or what she calls herself–is of no benefit to the nation.
If, under certain specific circumstances, that person were to use her identity and influence inappropriately, she might even do the nation harm.
That is my personal viewpoint.
Siege Then you'd best keep your personal viewpoint to yourself.
I'm sure you know that my amenability of this peace between us does not equate to a tolerance of your cliches.
"Trilby Asher" Your Royal Highness, there is no reason for this animosity between us. I am simply following orders, and I've more than demonstrated my goodwill within the bounds of my responsibilities.
Siege Then perhaps your demonstration hasn't been very clear. That, or our definitions of "goodwill" are different.
"Trilby Asher" Wouldn't my suggestion that you should make your way to Norport count? If I am not wrong, you have a friend who is currently trapped there.
I thought you would see that I am very much putting myself in your shoes as I advocate for this partnership. I am doing you a favor.
Siege ......
"Trilby Asher" My goal is to obtain the schematics. You are free to do anything else you deem necessary, including rescuing your friend.
If you would offer that blade in your hand, I could even offer my personal assistance.
Siege You can save your disgusting hypocrisy.
Listen, I don't so much as want to think about what you and that duke you work for are scheming.
Stay out of my way, and get out of my sight.
And you better remember this. For what happened to Allerdale, you and I and your master still have a score to settle.
And you'd better believe it will be settled.
"Trilby Asher" Of course.
I just got word that the Duke's special response team has already made all the preparations necessary for you to evacuate Londinium and board Norport Borough.
Let us be off.
Amiya Mr. "Trilby Asher," since the moment I first saw you, when I realized just how solid of a grasp the Duke has on Rhodes Island's communications, I've been thinking...
You've always been able to do this, haven't you?
"Trilby Asher" What do you mean?
Amiya You've always known what everyone is up to, whether it's us, the Sarkaz, or the Self-Salvation Corps.
"Trilby Asher" It's nowhere nearly as simple or comprehensive as you would imagine.
We've always found it very tricky to stay thoroughly informed on the Sarkaz, especially certain men of the Royal Court. Many of my colleagues have lost their lives because of this.
Amiya But you've always had a good understanding of the tides.
Why did you... and especially the dukes behind you let things turn out like this?
"Trilby Asher" The Kazdel Regent is a formidable opponent, and my guess is even old Wellington would admit this. The Kazdel Military Commission's technology and equipment leave a deep impression.
Amiya When coming from the executor of a Victorian duke's will, this just sounds like sarcasm.
Based on our analysis, Theresis may be formidable, but his strength alone is not enough for Victoria to fall to such lows, where it finds itself at the mercy of others.
And now I get it. You chose to do nothing.
You simply watched as the flames of war engulfed your country.
"Trilby Asher" Amiya, the little leader of Rhodes Island. How old are you? Fifteen? Sixteen? You are still a child, even.
You despise blood and war, but let me clarify this. We are not very fond of these things either.
But to us, the objective of war is never war itself. War is an extension of politics. The Sarkaz needs a war to unite themselves, and Victoria doesn't necessary lack the need for one.
However, around whom we unite is worthy of discussion.
Amiya And for just that, you–
"Trilby Asher" This is very important. It is far more important than you could imagine.
War is cruel. Suffering and death follow in its wake. It exposes our barest, truest forms to one another. It tears off all disguises.
At certain stages of history's ever-forward march, we need this kind of honesty. All of us do.
Now make your preparations, Rhodes Island. It is time for us to depart.
<Background 7>
[Molly (the Damazti Cluster) enters the office.]
Golding Molly! They caught you, too?!
Lettou, she's just a teacher. The children in school still need to be cared for.
You have already destroyed what you came to destroy. Must you drag even more innocents into this mess?
Lt. Colonel Lettou You're here, Your Excellency.
"Molly" The Banshee came looking for trouble with one of us again.
Lt. Colonel Lettou I will send a unit to provide support.
"Molly" No need. Taking a walk with him isn't so bad.
You should go to the Old Red-Eye. He had just opened a new bottle of wine, waiting for you, and we have already grown tired of his stories of yesteryear.
You are a much better listener than us.
Lt. Colonel Lettou –Understood. Please pardon me, then.
[Lt. Col. Lettou leaves while Golding realized that the Molly which has been with her all the time turns out to be an impostor.]
Golding You...
Golding's throat has never felt this dry. The person in front of her looks and acts exactly the same as the Molly she remembers, down to the tiniest movements.
She is always frowning a little, watching every move of the mischievous children. At suppertime, she would hand out bread to everyone and chastise anyone who hasn't washed hands.
Her expression is the same as ever, but for some reason...
The drop of sweat dripping down Golding's back seeps into her clothes.
"Molly" Lance scratched his thumb again yesterday, but don't worry. I've put on some ointment.
He's always such a handful.
Golding What... are you...?
"Molly" The teacher has made it back to the school already. She will take good care of the children, I'm sure.
How about a chat?
Relax. It's just a chat. If you still don't feel comfortable, we can continue to use the identity of the owner of this appearance around you.
Why don't we talk about the weather first, or perhaps the children's studies? There is the play too, Lady Golding. Merely thinking about it brings tears to my eyes.
The children have all grown so big in just the blink of an eye.
Golding Enough. Stop talking to me like you're Molly! Stop using that face, you monster!
What... What do you want?
[The Damazti Cluster reverts into their usual form.]
Damazti Cluster Would you like a cup of tea? Lettou has pretty fine tastes, and his tea here is exquisite.
Golding ......
Damazti Cluster We finally have a satisfying outcome for all the missions Theresis handed us. Now, we can take a short break.
Golding How long have you been around me...?
Damazti Cluster Not as long as you think. Can we skip the boring work talk, though?
It's break time right now. We want to do something that we are truly interested in.
For example–
We want to know what you think about this era, and your conclusions around all this.
Golding I don't understand.
You... You used me to destroy the Self-Salvation Corps. I should have no more value to you anymore.
I... Damn it! I handed all this out myself...
Damazti Cluster Don't blame yourself. This is no big deal at all. We had all kinds of ways to locate the Self-Salvation Corps' stronghold. You are not the only lead we have.
This may sound a little hurtful, but you aren't even the most important one.
But we do indeed have a little bit of interest on you. We enjoyed your work and chatting with you.
So, let's have a chat together. There is nothing more to this. It's just a conversation.
We've had conversations like this many times. With countless of identities. With countless others.
But we are still confused. We still don't want to give up any chances that could lead to an answer.
Lady Golding, how do you think–
–we should live?