A Song Called April

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A Song Called April Rewinding Breeze
Male Kuranta B icon.png
Rhodes Island Messenger
RI Corridor
RI Cafeteria
April bumps into a Messenger talking with Ansel on her way back from a mission. She curiously strikes up a conversation with Ansel. The discussion leads her to some realizations she had never thought about before.
<Background 1>
April Phew, that mission got me all sweaty.
I'd better hurry home and shower.
Oh, who's that over there...?
Rhodes Island Messenger Alright, that's the letter and every last cent accounted for.
Ansel Thanks a lot.
Rhodes Island Messenger Hah, don't worry about it. You're a very good customer. Pretty much your whole family knows me by now.
But you haven't been back in a while, huh? Why not take a trip home? Your uncle's gonna ask me to drag you back to Rim Billiton as soon as he sees me.
Not that I'm one to talk, the way I've been running around for a year and change. But you know all the letters in the world can't compare with you going home in person.
Ansel ...I know. It's just, there's still patients here who need me.
When I have some free time, I'll go back.
Rhodes Island Messenger Well, I think you've got a handle on it, so I'll leave it here for now.
Anyway, I'll check over the letters again and then head out.
Need any goodies? Or just the usual?
Ansel Yes, get a box of those peppermint candies from the shop below my home.
Rhodes Island Messenger Sure.
[The Messenger leaves.]
<Background fades out and in>
Ansel Sorry, Uncle...
April ......
<Background fades out and in>
April So they've got Messengers at Rhodes Island too.
Ansel Have we been introduced...?
April I'm new here, codename's April. But you can call me April.
Ansel Nice to meet you, April. I'm Ansel, from Medical.
Ansel There are lots of Messenger at Rhodes Island. And Messengers like the one just now aren't our operators, they're Messengers who exclusively serve us Rhodes Islanders.
April What's the difference?
Ansel We have some Messengers who do become operators. Oh, like Angelina. Do you know her?
April Yeah. She's a Messenger girl, about my age?
Ansel Right. A lot of Messengers get sick and end up working for us as operators to offset the cost of treatment. That's what happened with Angelina.
April Oh, me too.
Ansel Yes. So you know the cost of Oripathy treatment is by no means low. There are all kinds of people from all walks of life here on the ship for more or less the same reason.
April Isn't that pretty much the same as becoming a Messenger here though?
Ansel Ahaha. I guess it is kind of confusing, but no.
Ansel Because Messenger work doesn't involve much contact with other people, and you're always traveling all around, you can still do it even after becoming Infected.
Basically, most people aren't going to know if the person bringing them their mail is Infected or not...
The point is they can keep doing their work same as they always were, as long as they come to Rhodes Island for regular treatment.
April Huh. So they can just like, do their own thing?
Ansel Exactly. We usually give operators like that some long-term field work missions.
And they tend to use Rhodes Island as a waystation for their work. And if they happen to be going near some friends or relatives of our operators, we'll usually ask them to bring a letter or something.
But for someone like me, who writes home regularly, I need something more predictable.
With very few Messengers from Rim Billiton at Rhodes Island right now.
April Whew, it all feels so loose... I couldn't imagine anything like that at my old company.
Ansel Anything like what?
April The employees having so much freedom! There must be some folks who come by once and never come back, right?
Ansel You're a sharp one. That does happen sometimes, and we do follow up on it. But no matter what happens, you can't leave a patient unattended.
April You're a real good person, Dr. Ansel.
Ansel Thanks. I'm just here to help people.
April But that means Rhodes Island definitely needs some dedicated Messengers.
I never thought about this stuff before.
Ansel Say, April, you're from Rim Billiton too, aren't you?
April Yep. I'm from the south side of Iron Carrot City.
Ansel Oh, I know that place. Your hometown always tops the annual charts in ore production.
April Yeah, that's home. We're supposed to be really proud of that productivity, but I can't say it does much for me.
Ansel I'm from Iron Fist City. Do you have any relatives back home you need to contact?
April Nope.
My parents died in a mine accident when I was little. The company raised me.
When I grew up, I worked for them as a hunter. It didn't pay great, but I got by, until I caught Oripathy...
Ansel ...I'm sorry.
April Nah, it's fine.
Ansel I've heard that Rim Billiton's companies actually treat the Infected pretty decently?
Because of how important the mining industry is, people back home end up coming into contact with Oripathy a lot more than in other countries...
April That's what I thought at first, but after living through it, I was so, so wrong.
They like to talk about all the benefits they offer, but down in the fine print they have all kinds of deductibles and copays. And once they know you've got Oripathy, you'll suddenly find all your work drying up.
Oripathy sufferers on their own, like me, just can't survive.
Ansel Oh... I had no idea.
No wonder so many of my old workmates who caught Oripathy just disappeared...
April Anyway, I lost my company ID and the lease on my room, so there's nothing for me back in Rim Billiton anymore.
Hey now, don't you give me that look, Dr. Ansel. I can't stand pity.
I made it to Rhodes Island, didn't I?
Ansel I guess you did.
April Anyways, I thought you looked kinda sad when you were sending that letter. Did something happen?
Oh, but you don't have to tell me if it's something really personal. And I won't tell anyone either!
Ansel ......
April, did you have lunch yet?
April No, I just got back from a mission. I was about to go take a shower.
Ansel Let me buy you lunch. This is a pretty long story.
April Huh? Okay.
<Background 2>
April Wow, Dr. Ansel, you sure eat healthy.
Ansel It comes with the job, I guess. And you can drop the "doctor", just Ansel is fine. We're pretty much the same age, right?
April Okay~
Ansel Eat up, first. We'll get into it after we've taken the edge off.
April Sure.
<Background fades out and in>
Ansel ...I always say I wish I could see my family, but the truth is I don't really want to go back.
April Why?
Ansel There's some stuff I don't want to deal with.
I have three older brothers and one baby sister, but my parents are long gone. Mom, to lung disease. Dad, overwork.
But I had it better than you. By the time they went, my brothers were old enough to work.
I was the only one still too young. So when he died, my dad had me sent to live with my uncle, his older brother. My sister went to his younger brother.
April Yeah, that happens a lot. If I had any relatives, I'd have ended up like that.
My dad once told me all our relatives went to other cities.
So you don't wanna go back because your uncle was bad to you?
Ansel No. My uncle was a manager at a small company. He was serious and strict, but he treated me well, really just like his own son.
It's just...
He didn't want me to become a doctor.
April Oh.
Ansel When I was little, I helped out at Uncle's company. He was grooming me to take over his job.
I didn't listen to him. I decided to become a doctor, and went far away to Rhodes Island.
April Woah. So you're a runaway, Ansel?!
Ansel Ahaha, no, I wouldn't go that far.
There was some time between my decision to study medicine and me actually coming to Rhodes Island.
I talked it over with Uncle many times. Sometimes our conversations got pretty heated.
But in the end, he respected my choice, and agreed I could become a doctor.
April I get where he's coming from. I never got the impression it was easy to practice medicine in Rim Billiton.
Ansel Right. First, it's tough to get started. Then, it's tough to keep going.
A lot of mine doctors only have the most basic medical training.
It definitely wouldn't be as stable a life as working for Uncle's company, and it'd be hard to find a job.
I seriously considered going with his plan. It really isn't a bad place to work.
And he did so much for me. I felt like I couldn't let him down.
April Sure, that makes sense. But everyone has a dream.
It sounds like your uncle is a real good bloke, though. If my mom and dad were still around, I don't think they'd be okay with something like that.
Ansel Right. And in the end, I followed through on my decision.
But Uncle isn't the type to keep his feelings bottled up inside. He's been with the company for half his life, and he still hopes I'll go back to continue his work someday.
I've been back twice, and it's always hard.
And my brothers are even more opposed to what I do. But I send them money, so they keep their mouths shut.
My sister, on the other hand, is pretty supportive.
April I can't really relate to any of that.
Ansel Let's just say everybody's got baggage.
I think I'm doing the right thing. And Rhodes Island treats me well.
But... it is what it is.
There's nothing I can do to change how Uncle feels.
I can only work harder and do better for myself, and my own goals.
And one day I'll be able to go back, puff out my chest and say: "Look, Uncle, see how many people I've saved? I made a huge contribution to the fight against Oripathy."
...But I guess by then I'll probably be brave enough to just face him anyway.
April Soft and weak as you look, Ansel, who would've thought you've got all this going on?
Ansel I can't tell if that's supposed to be a compliment.
April Of course it is.
Ansel Hah, alright, then.
April But it sounds like you actually do want to go back home?
Ansel ...I guess I do.
Going around the world with Rhodes Island is a great way to broaden your horizons, but no matter what happens, Rim Billiton is still my home.
I miss the giant smoke stacks, the din of machinery, the miners and their work chants, the noisy streets...
Maybe someday I'll leave Rhodes and head back home to practice medicine.
April Oh...
Ansel What is it?
April Nothing. I was just thinking about how even though I say I don't miss Rim Billiton at all, I don't know if maybe I would go back.
Ansel, do you know where my codename comes from?
Ansel April is like, a month? Fourth one on the calendar?
April Yes, but also no. It's the name of a song about spring.
I never felt like I liked Rim Billiton. I don't like any of the stuff you've been talking about.
My memories of home are all dark and dusty, I feel like I can barely breathe when I remember them.
Life wasn't easy even before I got Oripathy.
I had to show up to the office every day, and then go out with the team whenever they had a job.
I made some money, but it was real hard out there. A ten day trip was common, and sometimes we'd even be gone for a month or two.
And it's not like there was much to do when we didn't have a job either.
The bands I liked were in other countries and cosmetics would only show up in magazines.
With all the factories polluting the air, I had to put so much into my skin care routine.
Those factories, and even just the streets were so noisy they'd wake me up in the middle of the night.
And would you believe my apartment was so lousy I'd run out of water right in the middle of a shower sometimes?
Ansel Phew, those don't sound like good memories...
April But, when I really think about it, there were good times too.
It was a ruthless, cutthroat company for sure, but they took care of me for years. I don't know what the upper management was like, but I remember when I went to the office to talk about my benefits, the people there definitely weren't happy about what they had to do.
My neighbors had their issues, but they still helped me. Old Man Perot upstairs was always so mean to everyone, but he started giving me food after he found out I was sick.
Oh, but Old Mrs. Lolo downstairs was the worst. She spat whenever she saw me.
The supermarket down there had all kinds of good stuff on rotation too. Speaking of, I don't think I've ever seen meatballs like that anywhere else. Those were super tasty.
And of course, the time I spent with mom and dad when I was little was real happy.
I know what's going on here, I'm just getting a strong hit of nostalgia.
Ansel Hahaha, maybe.
But still, I think we can never really abandon our roots.
When I came to Rhodes Island, I learned how vast our world is, and all the wonderful ways one can live a life.
I've thought about trying another life for myself, like becoming a Vanguard Operator or a caster. Or going into civilian work.
And I could just choose a new life for myself. No one would stop me.
But in the end, I decided to keep on practicing medicine.
I was born in Rim Billiton, and I grew up among the workers. Unless I suddenly woke up with amnesia someday, there's no way I could deny my past.
April Speaking of amnesia, did I hear that the Doctor has it?
Ansel Oh, yes. That's no secret.
April Going with what you said earlier, do you think the Doctor could choose a new life?
Ansel ...I think that would be pretty hard.
I don't know the Doctor's past, but Amiya, Dr. Kal'tsit, and lots of others do.
I think a lot of the things the Doctor does are not exactly done by choice.
So I guess that means even if you do lose your memory, you're still stuck with your past.
April Yeah. How did we get here from talking about hometowns?
Anyway, your hometown is definitely the most important part of your past.
Ansel Right. But it's not really the town itself that matters, it's the mark left on you by the time you spent there.
I could've given up that mark, but I decided to hold onto it.
What about you?
April Me...?
I dunno. I never thought about it before.
Ansel Doesn't matter. We're still young. We've got a lot of time to figure that one out.
April But I guess I didn't leave Rim Billiton to get away from that life, at least.
If I could've kept on living there, I probably would've. I just didn't have a choice.
I suffered a lot after I became Infected, yeah, but I can't keep on hating people, and saying stuff like I hate Rim Billiton.
Ansel That's totally normal. When someone gets Infected, his whole worldview doesn't turn on a dime.
You'll have a better understanding after you live at Rhodes Island for a while. At least for now, we can keep talking about home, and our past.
April Right, well, I guess I have to admit I'm the accepting type, huh?
I probably won't say I like Rim Billiton, but I can say I like Iron Carrot City.
I'll never forget how, whenever I was feeling down, I'd head up to the roof of my apartment building.
It wasn't that tall. There were other, taller ones around.
And I'd feel fenced in, trapped by those tall buildings around me. Like the piece of sky straight up above me was all I could see.
But it was also kind of reassuring, because I don't need a lot of space. I don't like having too many choices. A little coziness is just right for me.
I'd look around and see what the neighbors were doing. Sometimes I'd see something fun, sometimes I wouldn't. But it didn't matter.
Then I'd lie down in the middle of the rooftop, put on my headphones, and play my favorite song: "April". I'd think about whatever, and take a nice nap.
By the time I woke up, most of my worries would be gone.
Ansel Sounds great.
April It was. I wish I could find a place like that here, but the Rhodes Island deck is just too wide and open for me.
Ansel I'll point you towards an operator named Kroos. She's got a lot of experience finding places to slack off.
April Really? That'd be great! I'll go find her in a bit!
But after all that, I do kinda feel like I want to go back home.
It's your fault.
Ansel Hah, well, I'm sorry.
April I'll set that aside for now. I'm still new here. I can't go taking a vacation right away.
Oh, I know!
Is that Messenger you hired to send your letter gone yet?
Ansel Probably not. I think he's here until tomorrow.
April Great, I'll go get him!
<Background 1>
[April rushes to the Messenger who are about to leave.]
April Mr. Messenger! You're going to Rim Billiton, right?
Rhodes Island Messenger Sure am, little Cautus. Do you want to send something?
April April's fine. But it's not a letter, I was hoping you could do something for me?
Rhodes Island Messenger What?
April When you're in Rim Billiton, could you please go to the top of a tall building and take a picture of the view up there?
Rhodes Island Messenger Huh? Kind of a weird request.
...But it doesn't sound hard. I could probably do that.
April Oh, thank you so much!
April My hometown, my past... turns out I care more than I thought I did.
Well, anyway, what really matters now is meeting that Kroos girl. Finding a nice place to nap is a much more realistic goal than going home!