Operation story: 12-9

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Sarkaz Mercenary A icon.png
Sarkaz Soldier
Glasgow Room
Londinium Battlefield
Glasgow Gym

Before operation

Now back home, Siege discovers the rift that's formed between her and her good friends of old. Rhodes Island and the Glasgow Gang decide to save Norport Borough. The Damazti Cluster leads Golding to sink fully into her own despair.
<Background 1>
[Siege enters the room, followed by the other Glasgow members.]
Siege This room...
Indra Take a look, Dagda, this is our old home!
Dagda Oooh!
Must've been pretty good, living here!
Indra No shit it was!
Siege Hannah never did the cleaning, though.
Indra Oi, Vina! How many more times do you want me to fess up to my mistakes?!
Baird I dropped in now and then after you left, tidied things a little. Been a few years, but shouldn't be much different than it was?
[Indra checks a cardboard filled with personal effects.]
Indra My whole stash is still here! Always knew you were tight, Baird!
Baird *sigh* Fancy me having to be the poor girl left behind.
Indra Don't give me that, Baird. You told us you were going to stay!
How you need to be in your own bed, be shambling the moment you were out of Norport!
Baird Yeah, well, maybe I should've tried and put up with it.
Indra Stuff that! You think I don't know you? We're all stuck in hell when you can't sleep!
If I'm tired enough to go six feet under, the last thing I want is you trying to chinwag with me again!
Baird Hahah, well, I've been falling asleep just about anywhere these days.
Siege What, too tired?
Baird Might be.
Just, found out sleeping's the... best way to empty your head.
Siege ...Once my Rhodes Island mission's done, Baird, I'll bring you lot out of here.
All of you.
Indra Here, here, here, let's pop some bottles to celebrate getting back together after all these years!
It's cheap stuff, but hey, maybe leaving it so long made it better?
Morgan, give Baird a read of those books you wrote! Tell her about our adventures!
Hey, Baird, you're missing your chance to become part of the King's chronicles–
...Morgan? What's wrong? You've been pale as a sheet this whole time.
We finally made it home! You ought to chin up a little.
Morgan I'm thinking about... the... hand I stepped on.
Indra ...
Indra It was probably just some accident.
Morgan It had a thumb ring on it. Something's telling me I've seen it somewhere before.
I feel like I should remember...
But I just keep drawing a blank.
I... Baird, what's been happening in Norport all these days?
Baird Not much, Morgan. Maybe it was just an accident.
Everyone's been trying their hardest to survive, that's all.
It's in the past, anyway. You're back now. We'll be out of here soon. That's enough for us.
Morgan Norport's our home.
I used to picture what it'd be like when we came back. I thought we'd spend our first night piling into that snooker place to play until the sun came up, then go drinking next door until it all went dark.
Or maybe we'd go to McClaren at the video place and reserve all the seats, end up watching ten whole adventure movies back to back.
I saw it. But I didn't dare look properly.
All that broken glass caked with the blood, and the... shadows all on the ground inside.
Baird You should get a proper kip. Like me.
Must be shattered after coming all this way.
Morgan Vina, you've got that Realmblade now. You'll be the hero, yeah?
You'll save Norport. We'll save Norport.
This'll all just pass, right?!
Siege Of course.
We'll take back our old lives.
Baird Maybe if...
Nah. Look how late it is. Get some rest, muckers.
We've got mountains to deal with tomorrow.
Siege Baird's right, Morgan. We all need to... get some proper rest.
<Background fades out and in>
Siege huddles up on the sofa. She used to spend countless nights here. Every inch of it feels as familiar as ever.
She still remembers how they picked up this couch at the flea market all those years ago, the four of them breaking their backs to carry the bloody piece of tat all the way to the gym's upstairs.
She reckoned it pretty wide back then, but soon enough she was resting her feet on the armrest just to fit.
In the dark, Siege's hand brushes over the sofa, feeling each nook and cranny.
Here's the gash left from when Hannah was practicing with her knife. Three whole days she felt guilty about that.
Morgan spilled a whole bottle of drink here. She bought a tin of awful cleaning stuff to treat the stain and it got worse the more she tried. The whole patch is still smooth as a baby's bottom to this day.
Baird put the iron down here and forgot about it. Nearly burned the whole room down.
Old Days.png
She used to believe these days would never change.
She used to be sure these days would never change.
This is their Glasgow Gang. Their neighborhood. Their stomping grounds. Their home.
[Siege remembers her past in the room.]
It's true, she's back.
But deep inside, she's not one bit happy.
That "memoir" of Morgan's crosses her mind again. The Legendary Vina and Her Legendary Mates.
Siege gently touches the Sighs of Kings, resting by her side.
As ice-cold as it ever was.
Leader. Hero. King.
King of the Siege, Vina.
Alexandrina Vina Victoria.
<Background 1>
Siege ......
Baird Something on your mind, Vina?
Siege These clothes are too heavy. I can't catch my breath sleeping in them.
I'm looking for stuff that fits me better.
Baird In that drawer.
[Siege changes her clothes into a lighter, less formal/tactical one.]
Siege *huff*–
Baird Haven't gotten any taller, mm?
Siege Come on, we're adults. We stopped growing ages ago.
Baird You never know with these things. I remember when we first met, you were only about this tall...
Siege Enough, enough. It's the same old guff you always spout about time passing.
Baird I haven't had anyone in years to tell that same old guff to.
Siege I'm sorry, Baird.
Baird I'm just glad you're back, Your Majesty Vina.
Siege Don't call me that.
Baird Alright.
King of the Siege, same as ever, then.
<Background 2>
[A female Lich is observing the wreck of the battleship destroyed by the Kazdelians not long ago with a Sarkaz soldier.]
??? ......
Sarkaz Soldier What is it, Lady Ermengarde?
Ermengarde Don't call me Lady. I'm not that old yet.
Sarkaz Soldier I'm sorry... um, Miss Ermengarde? I'm not quite sure how old you liches are...
Ermengarde *sigh* Forget it. Lady Ermengarde will do.
This high-speed battleship really has been reduced to tatters. Grr. And the Vampire's cohort gave this place a bathing too.
Sarkaz Soldier General Manfred says this is going to be the start of the Sarkaz's victory.
Ermengarde Hrmph. The Sarkaz's victory.
*sigh* And old Dame Kal'tsit kept warning me a future like this wouldn't bring anything about for us.
Still, I just can't figure it out. Why would my tutor have had a Feline friend for so long?
We're leaving. I hate the stench of this place.
Sarkaz Soldier Come with me, please. Her Highness Theresa is waiting for you.
<Background 3>
Amiya Doctor, good morning.
We need to make some plans... for our upcoming operation.
The Sarkaz are treating the citizens as insurance that they won't be directly artillery-struck, but whether the Military Commission or the dukes, we can't truly count on their benevolence in this.
And even if we ignore the game that's ongoing between them, we're still bearing witness to the terrible state the blockade zone is in.
Baird You've seen the state of chaos Norport is in these days. Far easier said than done to change the status quo.
That medicine and stuff you brought with... I gave it a count. Afraid it's only a drop in the bucket.
Amiya Right, what you can accomplish is going to be very limited with our help alone. But that's no reason for us to hold back.
Investigation of the airship and evacuation plans for the plate's citizens are simultaneous work for us. We can't afford to overlook anything.
Delphine Um...
Amiya What's the matter, Miss Delphine?
Delphine You lot have the chops, right? You wriggled through the Sarkaz blockade to get here, so I'm guessing it's as easy for you to slip back out.
Amiya I can say with pride that those gathered here now are all extraordinary operators of Rhodes Island, but I'm very sorry, Miss Delphine... I think we may not live up to what you're imagining.
When pitted against those steering the war from behind the scenes, we may very well be called puny.
Delphine So... you only got here thanks to some help?
Ines Unfortunately, it's a 'deal' as the man loved to put it, and not a fantastic one at that.
Delphine Are you... a Sarkaz?
Didn't think a duke would've found another Sarkaz lot to work with instead...
Ines Hmph. Someone thinks too much.
Delphine No, I just read the papers usually.
Ines Very good habit.
Delphine You're still planning the evac right now, aren't you? Did your fancy-pants backer agree to help?
Ines Sadly for you, no. All signs say she doesn't care.
Delphine But you lot obviously do.
Ines Hah. Welcome to Rhodes Island.
I'm keeping my opinions to myself, though. My concern is whether we can get out of here alive.
Delphine Then I've a proposal. Rhodes Islanders, this may be a bit of a risk...
The Sarkaz have locked down every information channel out of Norport, and I think I can guess what their excuse to the wider public is.
And see, I trust any of the dukes to know it is nothing more than an excuse.
Ines But they won't spoil the facade themselves. In fact, the dukes and the Military Commission of Kazdel have a quiet understanding on that.
Yes, the Sarkaz are using this plate's people as an excuse. Aren't the dukes? My guess is if the Sarkaz did slaughter every last soul here, a few dukes would be breathing a sigh of relief.
In a war, some only see ethics as a burden.
Delphine Yeah, you're not wrong.
So we... go and break that silent understanding.
We need to give some of the dukes a push. Make them act more decisively.
Before we're all dead here for real.
<Background 4>
Golding ......
Damazti Cluster Days it's been, Golding, and still not a word from you.
You're not this reticent a person, as far as we know.
Golding How are the Londinium Citizens' Self-Salvation Corps?
Damazti Cluster They've left the city.
Golding How many of them are left?
Damazti Cluster Not many, I wager.
Golding ......
Damazti Cluster Fine, back to your silence. Does it bring you any peace?
Golding I'm simply... remembering them. Remembering them all.
Damazti Cluster Enough, enough, Golding. You don't belong to them by nature, and you're free in any case to forget that insubstantial sense of affiliation.
It wasn't your hands that killed them. Most simply do just die in war. You even came up with a word for it–"sacrifice."
And most of those names, the people hiding behind them, you've never so much as met.
Does becoming a member of a collective instill joy or pride in you?
Regretfully, as you've seen, we can only belong to ourselves in the end.
Golding No. I used to believe that...
At first, I believed I fought for our shared dream, for the Self-Salvation Corps' cause.
In these past days, I've realized that might not have been the case.
Lettou was right. We are all the same kind.
I told him he was pessimistic... yet look at me. Whether I admit it or not... I'm someone who despairs easily myself.
The Corps' members may fight with pure ideals in heart, but the Corps itself does not.
Take Clovisia, or Allerdale... both women I respect for their character, yet their aims extend far beyond what they claim out loud.
For a very long time, I pretended to be blind to that.
Damazti Cluster It disillusions you now. You finally realize your undertakings were marred since the start.
You feel your efforts were all in vain.
Golding Hardly.
You see, I don't have any cause on my mind. I'm just thinking of the people. Faces upon faces.
Heidi, Feist, Rockrock, old Bill, Adams, little George...
I have no standing, and no right to say I should repent for the Self-Salvation Corps. I don't belong to any illusory collectives of that sort.
But I need... to come face-to-face with every one of them, inside myself.