Operation story: 9-6

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Victorian Guard A icon.png
Adjutant Hill
Male Victorian A icon.png
Frightened Youth
Nobleman A icon.png
Greedy Businessman
Noblewoman icon.png
Pretentious Noblewoman
Female Victorian icon.png
Sorrowful Woman
Victorian Guard A icon.png
Victorian Soldier
Nobleman B icon.png
Wildly Ambitious Baron
Male Victorian A icon.png
Wounded Youth
Dublinn Soldier icon.png
Dublinn Soldier
Manor Hall
Hillock Street Aftermath

Before operation

The colonel thanks Horn for helping him find the Dublinn-supporting rabble, while committing acts of indiscriminate military terror upon Taran homes in order to root out Mandragora. As the mood stretches wire-thin, the ballroom abruptly suffers a bombing attack.
<Background 1>
Horn Colonel.
[The one who leads the Victorian soldiers in the raid turns out to be Col. Hamilton.]
Colonel Hamilton We meet again, Skamandros.
Horn You don't seem one bit surprised.
Colonel Hamilton Surprised?
No, from the first I met you, I have not been one bit surprised–you were bound to mingle with this rabble, simply because of that cheap sympathy you learned from your noble etiquette classes.
Horn You shadowed us?!
Colonel Hamilton I'd rather term this rational management.
Regardless of anything, I must thank you. If it weren't for your leading the way, I wouldn't have such a sublime opportunity to net all these rot-eating vermin in one fell swoop.
[Col. Hamilton glares at the nobles.]
Colonel Hamilton You hide fairly deep most of the time, don't you?
I confess I'm quite curious. What made you so audacious as to gather up? Could it be that from the outcomes of your last few pathetic, negligible sneak attacks, you mistakenly believed County Hillock was already under your control?
Wildly Ambitious Baron A-Ahem... Colonel, sir, I believe there may be some misunderstanding at play here.
Colonel Hamilton That is wrong, Baron Bolton. There is no misunderstanding between us whatsoever. I am pristinely clear about your confidential lowly dealings.
Wildly Ambitious Baron It's only some of my good friends and family gathered here today. That, I can guarantee you on my very name–
Colonel Hamilton Shut up kindly, good sir. The honor you've inherited from your ancestry purchases nothing in my eyes.
Pretentious Noblewoman Y–You have some nerve saying that!
Colonel Hamilton The one dishonoring your so-called noble reputation isn't me by far. Who are they, reveling in the position and wealth Victoria accords them, then turning to secretly collude with the most lowly rebels of them all?
Pretentious Noblewoman This is out-and-out slander!
Colonel Hamilton I'm starting to be sick of this blather now. You rabble should behave as the rabble outside, weeping in the light of a blaze while you confess your own wrongdoings.
Just as he said, from outside the window come wails and cries, the glass reflecting speckled points of fire.
Bagpipe (Leader, look outside! It's not just in here, he's got the Tarans from the whole block surrounded too.)
(He's not exaggeratin' at all. He's cowerin' ordinary residents with military force.)
(I've been around that street before–a huge portion of them are elderly and children!)
Horn (With methods suddenly this radical, it seems there's some other information he has a hold on. He's very likely to have hidden intel about the spectre force from us.)
Bagpipe (Nothin' from Triangle?)
Horn (No comms at all since afternoon.)
Bagpipe (Flip. Could somethin' have happened to them?)
Horn (There's no point in worrying. What's more pressing right now is we should hold the troops back as much as we can.)
Bagpipe (We can't stay trapped in here, at least...)
Colonel Hamilton You, the Vouivre over there. You are not to think of breaking out through the wall. Before my questioning bears fruit, no one is allowed to leave this room.
Bagpipe Ugh, he spotted me!
<Background 2>
Victorian Soldier Come out! I see you! No movement, I want you to kneel here and behave!
Sorrowful Woman Agh!
Victorian Soldier Is there anyone else in your home? Speak up!
Sorrowful Woman N–No...
Victorian Soldier You're not hiding anyone? I'll see for myself. Listen, so long as I see you move a muscle, no matter what you're trying at, I will immediately shoot your head through.
Sorrowful Woman *Whimper*...
[Janie suddenly appears and stands in the soldier's way.]
Janie What are you doing?!
Victorian Soldier Who are you, coming from nowhere and running in front of my crossbow? Watch your own head!
Wait, hold on, I recognize you. You're that guard of honor from Adams's group, aren't you? I saw you at the New Year do. Your group didn't get any order to move. What are you doing here?
Janie I... I...
I have another assignment nearby I'm on.
Victorian Soldier Fine, then, each to their own. Don't you start getting in my way.
Janie I...
(That lass called Bagpipe told me I could step forth too, change the situation.)
(Can I, though...? I have to try, at least...)
Did they... do something wrong, to be treated this rough?
Victorian Soldier You're asking me? Why don't you go ask them?
Sorrowful Woman *Sob*...
Victorian Soldier What are you crying for? Wasn't it you lot, harboring thugs, giving them food and drink, feeding them information?
Janie Do you have evidence?
Victorian Soldier Evidence? You want evidence? Do the wounds on the 9th and 13th count? Each one of their bodies still warm?
Some died by eerie Originium Arts, some died by makes of crossbows and sabers identical to the ones we carry, and some had traces on their necks left behind by farming tools.
Our heads cut off with threshers like wheat, bodies crushed thin and flat by tractors like plowed land–have you ever... pictured that? The devastation?
Janie Ulp...
Victorian Soldier That's right, you should want to puke. I saw with my own eyes, and I recognized who that head used to belong to, and for an entire afternoon, I puked. I couldn't stop.
Janie They... why would they treat their own like this... this is too cruel!
Victorian Soldier Hah, damn right you are. Behaving never suited them.
Now you understand this serves them right, don't you?
Janie ......
Victorian Soldier What are you still blanking out for?
Janie So... these are all bad people? Just because... they're all Tarans?
Sorrowful Woman *Sob*... agh... I haven't done a thing, Sir...
Janie She's crying.
Her husband already passed away from Oripathy, and her child's only pushing ten... is someone bereft like this really going to be a murderer?
Victorian Soldier How have I not gotten it through to you?! They're all one kind, do you understand? Even if this woman and her child haven't done anything yet, they're all together in this.
Janie ......
If it wasn't a Taran, in front of you all, but some other Victorian citizen...
Would you still insist on treating them all as thugs?
Victorian Soldier ......
Janie If... I'm just saying, if, from the very beginning, there were never those discriminatory laws, if Tarans could've earned as much as anyone else, gotten the same chance at healthcare...
Wouldn't none of this conflict have ever happened?!
Victorian Soldier Alright, guard of honor, if you love asking questions so much, keep asking. There won't be an answer. Nobody's got any way of answering you. I'm essentially done searching this house by now anyway, so it's onto the next one.
Hey! I said I was going, not that you could stand up!
Sorrowful Woman *Sob*... Ah... don't take me, Craig can't be without me...
Victorian Soldier Shut it with all the sobbing! Wailing about your child all day long just so I can go soft on you, is it?
Janie Just let her go.
Victorian Soldier Eugh, you. Fine, I'm busy anyway. I can afford to ignore this woman.
But just to warn you, you might be protecting them now with all your kind heart, but be careful they don't blow you sky-high without blinking the moment your head is turned.
Don't you forget, after all, you and them aren't the same kind. Have you seen the looks in their eyes before? In their eyes, no matter how you behave, you'll always be one of us.
Janie Just go... Please.
Victorian Soldier *spits* Don't say I didn't warn you.
[The soldier leaves.]
Janie Phew... you've not been harmed, no?
Sorrowful Woman (Shakes head)
Janie It's lucky. After me and Saoirse talked, I couldn't shake this nervous feeling, and I had to come back and take a look.
So it really can be a bit of use... to stand up.
Come on, I'll help you back inside. For tonight... no, tomorrow as well, don't go out, please. There's ruffians outside, as well as... um, at any rate, Hillock won't be as safe for these next few days.
Right, and where's your boy...? Craig? He's not at home?
Sorrowful Woman Craig... he... *gulp*...
Janie He's been taken away by the soldiers, hasn't he?!
Sorrowful Woman I... I don't know...
Janie I need to go and find him.
<Background 1>
Colonel Hamilton Hill!
Adjutant Hill Colonel, we've just apprehended this one in this corridor outside, right as he was attempting to dive out of the window.
Frightened Youth I'm sorry, I'm sorry...
Colonel Hamilton Let me guess, this boy is some follower of yours, preparing to send word to somebody or other?
Wildly Ambitious Baron I... (Wipes off a cold sweat)
Greedy Businessman I want a lawyer! I know the Mayor and quite a few Members too... Let me go, you have no authority to keep us held like this!
Colonel Hamilton It seems my guess was dead on. Every one of you has some involvement.
You may speak. All I need to know is where your co-conspirators are hiding.
How about this, then. I'll count to three–
[Hamilton slashes the capturred young man with his saber...]
Frightened Youth Aaaargh! Don't, don't kill me!
[...which shocks the noblewoman.]
Pretentious Noblewoman My goodness... Why must you have me see such cruelty?
Bagpipe You can't be doin' this!
Colonel Hamilton Really? Skamandros, tell your subordinate, do I have the right to be doing this?
Bagpipe Leader...!
Horn Provisional administrative law... In the event we are unable to receive direct orders from Londinium, Colonel Hamilton is the highest acting commander of the County Hillock barracks, and does possess the authority to impose martial law on the whole city.
Bagpipe I know! But if he's seriously goin' to do this, then he's essentially declarin' a formal war on the hidden army!
Horn I fear that one thing they've said is right. We are already situated within in a war.
Bagpipe But we barely know more than nothin' about that army.
We're stark open and they're still in the shadows. No matter what, I don't feel now was good timin' to open fire first.
Colonel Hamilton Timing! They never picked any timing when they launched attacks on us unilaterally.
Horn Colonel, even if you won't take any suggestion from our team, I still must express clear opposition to the course of action you are about to adopt.
Colonel Hamilton Very thankful for your one scrap of self-awareness shown.
In honesty, I'm not fond of doing this either. As long as they'd left me another choice, I would never be willing to break the Empire's laws.
Yet we're out of time. The hidden enemy is closing in with each step.
Isn't this as you said too, Skamandros? You, too, came to drag the ghosts out into the sunlight!
If we don't seize this opportunity, and force all the remaining conspirators out, then we will have lost County Hillock before the morrow.
Horn Colonel, I believe the more critical the juncture, the more each step we choose will lead to divergent results.
I'm sure, there are many innocents among those present. You can take them away first, and then...
Colonel Hamilton No, I have no time to squander on pointless interrogation. Right now, on this very spot, these rabblesome dregs will make clear where in the world their members are hidden!
Hill, do it! We've tarried for long enough–
Bard Williams ...Colonel.
Hamilton And who in Hell's bloody bells are you?
Bard Williams Please arrest me. I am Baron Bolton's guest, and will know much more than any of these poor young people, rendered near-unconscious.
Wildly Ambitious Baron Seamus! What are you doing stepping up?
Colonel Hamilton Seamus... Seamus Williams. You're that bard?
Bard Williams I am, Colonel.
Colonel Hamilton Very good. I'd been meaning to look for you, so as to keep you from continuing to incite those imbeciles with your blither.
Horn Williams...
Bard Williams You need not fear, ma'am. I ought to thank the Colonel, for just a moment ago, I worked out how my poem should conclude.
Colonel Hamilton Seize him!
[Something is thrown through the windows.]
Ball Bomb.png
Horn A... ball? Where have I seen this...
Colonel Hamilton Hill! Order those posted outside to find the rabble who broke that window...
Bagpipe No, this isn't right.
There's a sound... comin' from the ball!
[The ball turns out to be a bomb that is about to detonate!]
Horn What?!
[The bomb emits a bright flash...]
Bagpipe Get down!!!
[...followed by an explosion.]
<Background 2>
[Soldiers of Dublinn, a Victorian pro-Draco armed revolutionary movement, are spotted in the streets of Hillock.]
Dublinn Soldier ......
Victorian Soldier Who–Who was that? Where did you show up from?!
[The Dublinn soldiers strike the Victorian soldiers with his sword, who narrowly block it with his shield...]
Victorian Soldier Argh–! It's–It's you lot! G–Go inform the Colonel double-time, 4th has run into the thugs, in an alley by the square–
[...but a Dublinn crossbowman fires an explosive-tipped bolt at the soldier that breaks through the shield and kills him.]
Dublinn Soldier This group has been annihilated.
Leader, the nearby Taran blocks have all been occupied by ours.
Wounded Youth You lot are...
[A Draco who appears to be leading the Dublinn army walks towards the wounded young man.]
"The Leader" ......
Wounded Youth It–It's you?! You're the... the one we've been waiting for!
[The Dublinn leader helps up the young man.]
Wounded Youth You actually gave your hand to me... I...
"The Leader" There'll be no one else to oppress you again.
And you'll never need anyone's arm to lean on again.
From this moment on, you can walk freely upon this soil, by your own power.
Wounded Youth Thank you... oh, thank you! Everything I did, it really was right!
There'll be a day for us Tarans... when we can have our own city, we can walk heads held high in the streets, we'll never be given injust treatment again!
"The Leader" Yes. It is precisely for that day that we come.
Wounded Youth Leader, you have to see! It's–It's the fire we lit in your service!
"The Leader" The ballroom...
Dublinn Soldier According to the report Madam Mandragora gave, the barracks' top brass are all in there.
However, an explosion of that scale would only give the barracks' arrogance pause. Unfortunately, it could never wipe them out.
"The Leader" Apart from the barracks, who else is there?
Dublinn Soldier Some locals who will us well. They learned of some of our inside matters, and the heads' thoughts are, for the overall picture, we can't leave anyone alive to tell tales.
"The Leader" ......
Dublinn Soldier They also said, if you won't make a move, they will themselves.
"The Leader" ...In the end... my fire is quicker.
Tell them, I know what should be done–
I'll take the ballroom.
Dublinn Soldier Yes, Leader–your fire will break these shackles that have chained us for centuries!