Operation story: 7-6

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Rhodes Island Operator
Reunion Member
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Underpass
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RI Bridge
2

Before operation

After completing the intelligence summary with Kal'tsit, the Doctor joins Rosmontis's team and witnesses her fighting style for the first time.
<Background black>
Underpass Base
10:30 a.m.
<Background 1>
Doctor Were you waiting for me here?
Kal'tsit Yes.
Doctor It took me a long time to find you.
Kal'tsit We'll begin the operation after we finish collecting all the environmental information. Before that, it'll benefit you to hear exactly what's going on inside Chernobog's core city.
Amiya's a bit tied up on the scene, so she won't be able to join this discussion.
You've already read the information in the mission briefing, but that kind of information is not good enough for a mind like yours.
<Dialogue branch starts here>
Doctor Did you finally realize that you need me?
Kal'tsit If the worst comes to pass, I don't want you to sacrifice yourself while still not knowing a single thing.
<Dialogue branch>
Doctor ......
Kal'tsit If you've taken interest in some part of me, you can just come out and say it. No need to stare so much.
<Dialogue branch>
Doctor I'm glad you see me as more than a simple battlefield commander.
Kal'tsit You might not remember, but I do. I remember you had quite a talent for heating up rations by pouring boiling water directly into your mouth at four in the morning.
If you don't believe me, you can try for yourself.
<Dialogue branch ends here>
Kal'tsit But skip the chatter. We don't have much time.
Rhodes Island and the L.G.D. worked together to take down Reunion, and neutralized the forces controlled by Mephisto and Crownslayer.
After that, Reunion's deployments in Lungmen fell apart completely.
Amiya reported to me that you had a difficult fight with a "FrostNova," an Infected serving Reunion as leader of a special squad, at the bottom of Lungmen.
The battle ended in your victory.
Doctor There was no victor. / No. / I wouldn't call that a victory.
Kal'tsit I understand. According to the data from PRTS, you had the cooperation of our operators when you brought the enemy's body back to Rhodes Island for treatment.
Doctor I don't consider her an enemy.
Kal'tsit Dr. {nickname}, "distinguish your friends from your foes."
...No. You might get the wrong idea, but you must hear me out.
Doctor ......?
Kal'tsit I am not trying to blame you, Dr. {nickname}.
Amiya told me what happened between you and the enemy commander. Only those who were there at the time had the information to decide what to do.
I don't have the right to overreach and criticize your judgment.
You tried to understand the motives of that Infected. You were willing to bear the consequences for the things she, FrostNova, did.
That is what you did.
If you plan to use this method to make sense of the suffering in this world, I have no reason to blame you.
I am even willing to vouch for you before the operators of Rhodes Island. Dr. {nickname}, make your own decisions, and I will try not to interfere.
After that, I will determine the part of the responsibility that belongs to Rhodes Island.
Your powers and responsibilities compliment one another. "Distinguish your enemies from your friends." Those are your words, not mine.
......
(Whispers) If you really want to breathe as one...
Doctor You're actually... siding with me?
Kal'tsit I never said that.
More accurately, FrostNova and her Yeti Squad were a guerilla team of elite Infected.
Right now, there are still two elite forces that Reunion is still able to mobilize. These guerilla warriors are the first.
The second is the Sarkaz mercenary, W, and her team of sellswords.
According to my intel, W used some underhanded tactics to seize leadership of the Sarkaz mercenaries working with Reunion.
We don't have time to go over what should be common historical knowledge, but let me say this frankly – Sarkaz mercenaries are unreliable, a problem W faces just as much as Reunion.
Sarkaz mercenaries are unlike normal agency mercenaries. They are the overflowing military might of Kazdel, spilling out across the land.
Trying to control them is an act of folly. It will only anger the forces backing them.
Doctor You seem to have a pretty deep understanding of the Sarkaz.
Kal'tsit I haven't even gotten to the important part.
The point is, the Infected guerrillas of Yeti Squad are completely different from the Sarkaz mercenaries.
There are no similarities between them in terms of their form, organization, behavior, or creed.
Before joining Reunion's ranks, they were an independent guerrilla force of Infected, and their prestige was even greater among certain groups of Infected than that of Reunion.
...And before they formed this guerrilla force, they used to be a part of the mighty Ursus military.
Doctor The Guerrillas of the Northwestern Tundra?
Kal'tsit ...
I'm not sure where you learned that piece of information, Doctor, but I color me impressed.
Though that piece of information itself is fairly basic, I am relieved that you're able to proactively gather intel on your own.
Doctor You just had to tack that bit onto the end... / ...... / Why does it feel like you're poking fun at me?
Kal'tsit I only give what you deserve.
We've arrived at the foundations of the industrial sector at Chernobog's core city.
Next, we'll lead three teams through the complex underground passages, take the sewer pipes into the industrial layer, and come up in the heart of the core city.
Be aware that any enemies you see patrolling these areas are not the ordinary Reunion thugs you're used to fighting.
We will meet rigorously trained... "soldiers." Reunion's "soldiers," trained in the tactics of Ursus's own army by the guerrillas.
Our recon operators discovered that communication networks have been forcefully cut off within the core city. Rather, it seems that Reunion didn't even try to maintain these channels.
This is a severe constraint upon modern-day squads who rely on the most common modes of communication.
What this means is Reunion either already has some special way of communicating, or they simply aren't prepared to fight.
Based on what we saw in Chernobog a month ago, don't expect that second scenario. However, if communication is cut off, the lower-ranking Reunion members won't receive direct commands.
Most of the time, expect them to act independently.
I fear they won't know signals they cannot receive– a signal that only countries and city-states can distinguish. One that marks the territory of Ursus.
A terrible storm is brewing within this city. Chaos, whether caused accidentally or deliberately, will permeate everywhere like thick smoke.
They're a step ahead of me, and the seeds of ruin have already been sown.
Doctor What's your conclusion?
Kal'tsit Conflict is brewing within Reunion.
Doctor How are you so sure?
Kal'tsit I've seen the same thing unfold countless of times across this land.
Doctor Is there something you're not telling me?
Kal'tsit I've said pretty much everything I needed to say. As for the rest, we'll cross those bridges when we get to them.
Even if we're still just preparing for war, efficiency still matters.
Please help me notify the members of Team R-4, Doctor. Have them take these devices.
Doctor Hold on...
Kal'tsit Is there a problem?
Doctor Don't these belong to Rosmontis?
Kal'tsit Yes.
You seem to know more about Rosmontis than the conversation you had in the bioprocessing unit indicated.
Doctor I saw her getting ready to fight.
Never expected she'd have the power to use a device like this.
Kal'tsit Every elite operator has a considerable amount of strength. We expect them to take charge.
...So, you haven't had the time to understand how Rosmontis fights.
But just to get this out of the way, there are some things they should not be shouldering alone. As a field commander, a necessary part of your job is to help relieve the pressure on these operators.
In this upcoming battle, you may make some shocking discoveries.
Doctor Huh...?
Kal'tsit Very few people aren't shocked after watching Rosmontis fight.
Make sure you're ready for it.
<Background fades out and in>
Rhodes Island Operator Dr. {nickname}, you're here!
We intercepted an enemy patrol squad, steadily handling the situation.
Doctor Has the fighting started already?
Rhodes Island Operator Doctor, your position there is kinda risky...
I think you'll probably want to move.
Doctor I just got here.
Rhodes Island Operator Right there... Behind you...
Doctor, it's really dangerous to stand next to her!
??? ...Enemy.
Doctor What do you mean...
...Rosmontis?
Rosmontis Enemy.
Doctor, those are the ones who killed my family... Enemies!
Doctor Where did this rage come from? / ......? / Rosmontis, what happened...
<Background black>
Rosmontis ......
Doctor, step aside. Get out of the way.
I'm not like Amiya. Amiya's Arts can go around her friends to strike her enemies...
But not me. I can't.
So don't stand between me and my fight.
Doctor ......
Reunion Member Gyaaah!!
That girl, the one carrying that box... Wh-what's going on...
What's wrong with my eyes? I can't see anything! My eyes! My face!! It hurts! It hurts!!!
Something's crushing my head!
Rosmontis ......
No.
It's been a long time since I've crushed anyone to death.
Reunion Member Those swords... Those swords!
Doctor Rosmontis?!
Rosmontis ...Reunion.
I don't want you in my memories.
Any of you.

After operation

Rosmontis's fighting style is bloody and cruel. Through a conversation, the Doctor understand what Rosmontis truly is.
Elsewhere, Warfarin seeks out Kal'tsit and discusses a prophecy.
[A fight occurs between Rosmontis and Reunion fighters...]
<Background black>
Bloodied. Torn. Pierced.
Doctor This isn't right.
[...who easily dispatches them.]
Us. Enemies. People.
Wailing, screaming, groaning.
<Background 1>
Doctor This isn't right! / ......! / I can't take this anymore.
Kal'tsit ......
You have a question. Ask.
Rhodes Island Operator Doctor... is this your first time seeing Rosmontis fight?
I know it's hard to watch, but–
Kal'tsit I'll handle it. You go tend to the wounded enemies who can't fight anymore. Also, among them are communications personnel relaying orders and intelligence.
If they're allowed to escape, it puts our whole operation at risk.
Rhodes Island Operator ...Roger.
Doctor How old is she?
Kal'tsit Fourteen.
Doctor And you're letting her...?!
Amiya People, please... let me through!
What happened here? I just finished handling the...
Doctor?
Rosmontis ...What?
Doctor, did you just call me?
Doctor Who sent you out to fight?
Amiya ......
Doctor Who sent you here?!
Amiya Doctor!
Doctor This is too cruel! / ...This is terrible... / You should not have to suffer through this.
...Why would they let you do this?
Kal'tsit! / ......! / This isn't right.
Rosmontis I did.
Doctor What are you talking about? / ...... / You did what...?
Rosmontis I did. I chose to fight. I want to fight.
There are some feelings I can only experience on the battlefield.
Protecting my friends and family is the only way I can feel complete.
...Rhodes Island needs me.
The world is calling my name, to prevent more people like me from coming into it.
Doctor Still though, you can't...
You can't–
Rosmontis ...Does death care that I am a child?
Would war or disease spare someone because they are a child?
When Amiya or I stand on the battlefield... who looks at us and thinks "children?"
We're "monsters," aren't we, Doctor?
Doctor No! / ...... / That's just how you see yourself.
Rosmontis No, Doctor.
No, Dr. {nickname}.
It doesn't matter what I am.
I just want to make a difference, with my family.
Do you know Scout?
Doctor What...?
Rosmontis ...Do you know Ace?
Doctor Yes.
Rosmontis ..It's already been a few days since I watched any of their materials.
I've forgotten a lot.
But I only forgot. I'm not like you, Doctor, who threw away everything.
Amiya Rosmontis.
Rosmontis No, I didn't mean that. But you get it, Amiya.
Amiya ...I get it. But just... don't say it like that.
Rosmontis Mm... Fine.
I've lost bits and pieces of things. Lots of pictures and words.
Those feelings... feelings I can't say, only Amiya can understand...
But they never truly left me.
Doctor ......
Rosmontis Doctor... I feel like you're complicated.
Even more complicated than they say.
They say I'm complicated too. Some of them are scared of me. Some of them say I shouldn't be like this.
But they don't know why I'm like this. They don't know what I've been through.
Why does my heart suddenly ache? Why do I want to cry, now of all times?
Even though I can't remember anything... why are my eyes still sore? Why are my lips dry?
Who left a stain in the corridor, and why hasn't it been cleaned? Why do I feel worried when I break a vase, but also strangely happy?
Why do I feel disgust from looking at flowers, but wonder from looking at bugs?
What happened during all that time I can no longer remember? Why do these emotions keep welling up within me?
Every operator I feel has their own unique differences.
And when I lose them, those feelings also disappear.
But why...? Why do we even have emotions?
Why do my tears keep flowing even when I can't even feel anymore?
Didn't I already forget everything?
Amiya ......
But Rosmontis never wanted me to take her feelings away.
These sudden surges of emotion belong to her, no matter what they are.
...They belong only to Rosmontis.
I can't interfere with them. As long as Rosmontis still has hope somewhere inside her... I won't do that.
Because it's up to her to choose what to do. She can also choose to forget.
To truly forget.
Doctor What happened to Rosmontis? / ...... / I don't know that much about her.
Amiya Dr. {nickname}... Rhodes Island has a strict screening process for our operators.
Many of them apply for combat roles, and we reject most of those. We look at lots of different metrics to decide if an operator is fit for combat.
Combat ability, tactical aptitude, discipline, and physical fitness are all important parameters, but that barely scratches the surface.
People often have difficulty trusting one another when they're on an actual mission.
Rosmontis is here because she trusts in our orders and objectives, and we trust in her abilities and judgment.
Please believe in me, Doctor. No, believe in us...
You'll slowly begin to see... the colors of her emotions.
Rosmontis ......
Doctor. Thank you for fighting alongside Blaze.
Doctor Why? / ...... / You don't have to thank me.
Rosmontis Blaze needs more people fighting alongside her. And I want to see her smile.
I want to see you too. I want to see the one Ace and Scout always talked about.
<Background fades out and in>
Kal'tsit Here you are.
Doctor You found me this time.
Kal'tsit ...She uses heavy machinery to quickly and effectively destroy the enemy, while at the same time exhibiting astonishing self-control and adaptiveness.
Rosmontis is one of Rhodes Island's greatest annihilation specialists.
As such, the way she treats people and the way she speaks may worry you. The way she fights and its contrast with her appearance, is indeed very cruel.
Blaze running around with her chainsaw may be easier to accept, but the destruction of when Rosmontis takes the field is much harder to stomach.
If it will help you sleep at night, I can make you a promise. If it will help at all.
–Rosmontis almost never kills. Though her tactics seems to singularly aim for that outcome, she actually focuses on disabling the enemy's combat abilities.
Take the last battle, for example, all the enemies were disarmed, and not a single one died to Rosmontis's attacks.
She also has much more control over her weapons than she once did.
Of course, whether or not we can keep the prisoners alive depends entirely on our ability to destroy Reunion's leadership. Only then will we be able to send rescue teams into the core city.
But sometimes, we must use lethal force in order to accomplish our goals. Some loss of life is inevitable.
You still look disturbed. Is this all beyond your ability to accept?
Doctor I can't accept this. / ...... / It doesn't make sense.
Kal'tsit You might not be able to accept the truth either.
Her terrifying Originium Arts and incredible perception are not the only reasons why Rosmontis is an elite operator.
–Rosmontis demonstrates these qualities because she became an elite operator.
We made our judgment not on whether to send her to battle, but how disastrous the consequences might be if we didn't let her become a fighter like this.
Doctor What kind of consequences?
Kal'tsit Worst case scenario, her Arts leak out from her body and push her to kill, subconsciously or otherwise.
Humans killing each other has become the normal state of things. Even so, most people still hold their weapons and staves themselves.
Whether or not someone who has lost her sense of self can still be called a person is another topic I'm not interested in discussing. But humanity grapples with the extent and manifestation of this problem.
"When you deprive a human being of her sentience, what is left? What is created?"
"When that creation deprives us of our lives, who is at fault?"
The one who created the weapon, the one who used the weapon, or the one we treat as a weapon?
Doctor Another riddle? / ...... / I'll figure it out myself.
Kal'tsit As we move on to the next battle, I may be able to teach you more.
By the way, on the issue of her age...
Amiya puts on an air of maturity that may have you fooled. Maybe, maybe not.
A young creature known as a deadly weapon won't be seen as an ordinary child just because she looks young.
–Not to mention all that they've been through.
...Take what you need. It's time to head to the surface.
Doctor What about Amiya? Is she a weapon too?
Kal'tsit You can ask her yourself.
This is something you should hear from her.
<Flashback starts here>
<Background 2>
Warfarin Kal'tsit! Stop right there!
Kal'tsit Warfarin, I was just leaving. Whatever it is, make it quick.
Warfarin You know the prophecy, don't you? Yes, there's nothing you don't know.
Kal'tsit Prophecy?
Warfarin Is that not why you allowed Amiya to go?
Kal'tsit Amiya is the commander of this operation, as well as the one who suggested it.
Warfarin But as young as Amiya is, how can she command–
Kal'tsit Warfarin, how long has it been since we left Kazdel?
Warfarin ......
Kal'tsit Be precise, or I'm leaving.
Warfarin ...Two months?
Kal'tsit Warfarin... stop joking around.
Warfarin I know what you mean. She's grown up.
Kal'tsit Yes, Warfarin. Time flies.
Age progression in Cautuses and Vampires is radically different. It has been three years since we left Kazdel.
It may feel like a short time for you, but Amiya has matured a lot.
Warfarin Answer my first question. The prophecy.
Kal'tsit ..."The last Wendigo will die at the hands of the Lord of Fiends?"
Warfarin Correct. I'm familiar with that guerilla group, and their leader. I'm certain it's him.
Kal'tsit The original phrasing of the prophecy was "The son of Hor-Tekrz, traitor to Sarkaz and disreputable end of the bloodline, will be executed by the Lord of Sarkaz."
Some prophecy. Whether or not there's any extension of their "bloodline," there are still many Wendigos living their lives in Columbia and Ursus.
...That is, if a few dozen can be called "many."
And, considering the context of the time, you should view it as a threat. Many people did not want to see the Wendigos leave Kazdel.
Warfarin It wasn't either of us who said it. And since you still remember it, you must have found it important. No?
Kal'tsit Are you getting old? Since when do you believe in "prophecies" and Sarkaz witchcraft?
Warfarin –Old? M-Me?!
Kal'tsit I contracted Oripathy. Death is always here with me, waiting for the right time to strike. Warfarin, my life is no doubt much shorter than you think.
Warfarin Hey!
Must we be so morbid? I'm not your little girl Closure. I won't let you keep skirting the topic.
Kal'tsit The issue you raised is quite morbid.
Warfarin ...Never mind.
Hear me, Kal'tsit, the others may not say as much to you, but I will.
He is one of the very few left among us. I am no bleeding heart, no goodly busybody, but... we are Sarkaz.
I am a Vampire, and the old man is a Wendigo, but we are the same.
This world is a tough place for Sarkaz. I hope he can return to Kazdel, if possible. Or come with us.
Kal'tsit
I'm not, Warfarin. I'm not Sarkaz.
Warfarin So you refuse?
Kal'tsit No...
I'll do what I can.
...Even I remember him, Warfarin.
Warfarin Your promise is stronger than anything.
Kal'tsit Don't get your hopes up that this will be easy.
Warfarin But this time, you'll be there. As long as Dr. Kal'tsit makes her best effort, I'll accept the outcome.
Kal'tsit Maybe you haven't heard, but your proposal came too late. Some things have already unfolded, and rather unfortunately.
Some time ago, an Infected clinic in Chernobog called "Azazel" traded information with us. I learned some more information about the Wendigo in Reunion's service.
What's more, and you should know this well, anyone who stands against the most brutal blade in Ursus will soon learn whether it tastes of salt or rust.
Nobody should knowingly place our operators in danger.
Warfarin Some patients' days are numbered, but that number depends on the doctor treating them. It's all up to us.
Kal'tsit ...It's all up to us.
<Background black>
Kal'tsit And I told you before... You may have forgotten.
I won't discipline you for it, but I may do something to put an end to it once and for all.
You are not to say I'm frightening, Warfarin. We've been over this.
"Do not, under any circumstances, even at Rhodes Island, speak of 'the Lord of Fiends.'"
Ever.
<Flashback ends here>
<Background 1>
Amiya Wait.
All hands, at ease!
Rosmontis... am I getting this right?
Rosmontis Hm. Yes. I felt it too.
Amiya Dr. {nickname}, something unexpected here.
Doctor What is it?
Amiya I'm not totally sure, but...
The core city might be... slowing down?