Franka: To a Standstill

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Operator Record
To a Standstill
Franka icon.png

Target. Her least favorite word.

Unlock conditions

  • Raise Franka to Elite 2 Level 60.
  • Have 200% Trust with Franka.
RI Room
RI Corridor
Desert Mountain
RI Cafeteria
RI Training Compound
Those around her have moved on. It's time she made her own choice.
<Background 1>
Franka What are you doing in Jessica's room, Vanilla?
Vanilla Franka!
Ah, I'm helping her clean up.
Franka ...I guess our princess isn't going to be around the ship a lot, now that she's off at the frontier.
Vanilla Yeah, Jessica and I talked it over. I'm cleaning up her room so I can mail her her stuff.
Franka Need any help?
Vanilla No, I borrowed a few gadgets from Engineering. I can handle this on my own.
Franka Guess you're not that little girl who used to walk into automatic doors anymore.
Vanilla Teehee.
Franka Hm?
Vanilla Do you think Jessica was wrong?
Franka ......
She told you to ask me that, didn't she?
Vanilla ...Yeah.
Franka Still worrying what other people think, even after making a decision like that?
I can't tell if she's actually grown up or not.
Vanilla ...I really admire her.
She's willing to leave everything behind...
Franka Heh, no need to rush to her defense.
Jessica has her fair share of problems, but she knows what she's doing.
I've known from the start that she's not the kind of person I need to be worrying about.
I just didn't expect her to make a decision so soon.
Vanilla Soon?
Franka Yeah. She's barely twenty. Practically a baby.
She has plenty of time ahead of her.
Vanilla Hm...
Franka But it's not a bad thing.
Sure beats being someone who could never make a choice at all.
Vanilla I'm sorry!
Franka What?
Vanilla I've been thinking about my future too, but I couldn't come to a decision...
Franka Oh. Sorry, I wasn't talking about you.
Vanilla Huh?
Franka You're pretty young too, aren't you?
I was taking about...
...Who was I talking about again?
Vanilla I'll go look for a Messenger to make the delivery.
Franka Go ahead.
[Vanilla leaves. Shortly after, Franka gets a call.]
Franka It's me.
A mission? I'll be there right away.
Find something to pass the time between missions.
Should be easy enough, she thinks.
As she prepares to leave the room, she hears a voice that makes her stop in her tracks.
<Background 2>
Liskarm I understand.
No, my plans haven't changed.
I still want to form my own security company.
Mr. Cliff wants to speak to me?
Understood. I'll return to HQ tomorrow.
<Background 1>
Normally, she would go over to her partner and make a face at her.
Maybe even play a practical joke or two, if she was in a good mood.
But today—
Franka ......
<Background 2>
Liskarm Yes, she's aware.
...I know.
I'll discuss it with her.
[Liskarm ends her call.]
Liskarm ......
<Background 1>
Franka ...What am I running away from?
[Franka leaves the room...]
<Background 2>
[...and approaches Liskarm.]
Liskarm Franka?
Good timing. I'm going back to HQ.
Franka Something happen?
Liskarm Like I told you before, I'm planning to talk to Mr. Cliff.
Franka So you've made up your mind?
Liskarm Yes. Seeing Jessica's courage made me feel like I should be braver, too.
Franka It's a fine line between courage and recklessness. Sure you're ready to face the "Clip"?
I don't mind coming with, for moral support.
Liskarm ...No, I've got to get used to it.
Franka You don't have a deceptive bone in your body. You don't stand a chance against that sly old man.
Liskarm You're in a bad mood today, aren't you?
Franka And what does that have to do with anything?
Liskarm I've been around you long enough to pick up a thing or two about reading people.
Franka ......
Looks like the teacher's pet has grown up, too.
Liskarm Franka.
Franka Hm?
Liskarm We need to talk when I get back.
Franka You serious?
Liskarm Am I ever not?
I'll be gone for a month or so. See you.
[Liskarm leaves.]
Franka ......
Okay, fine, maybe I'm not in the best mood.
<Background 3>
[Franka makes her way to her mission destination.]
Franka Report.
[Meanwhile, Franka answers a call.]
Almond The intel was good. The bandits have taken the workers hostage and are holed up in the depot.
They have equipment and numbers, but there are plenty of holes in their defenses.
I'm sending you a map of the buildings and sentry positions.
Franka ......
Almond Whew...
Franka What is it?
Almond I was worried that you and Liskarm would be wasted at a pharmaceutical company.
But now I can see that what you do hasn't really changed.
Franka You could've taken it easy if you applied to Logistics or HR, you know.
Almond No way. Field Operator pays well. Better than at Blacksteel, anyway.
And I've always wanted to try my hand at this.
Franka Being on the frontlines is no game.
Almond Which is why I applied to join a mission with you two leading the charge.
Can't wait to study the veterans in action.
Franka There isn't much worth learning on the battlefield.
It's not a place to spend your life.
Almond Doesn't matter, knowledge is money, no matter where it comes from.
I want to make money while I can, so I'll have the freedom to do what I want.
Franka And what's that?
Almond Well, I haven't decided yet.
But I will.
Franka Must be nice to be young.
Almond You're not that much older than me.
Franka Says the girl who's been my junior at both Blacksteel and Rhodes Island.
Almond What, would you like a massage? A back rub?
Franka No thanks.
I'm sending over the operation plan now.
Almond Wow, that was quick!
And really detailed!
Franka I hope you've learned to respect your elders.
Almond I've always respected you, oh venerable one.
Team A will pin the enemy from the front, while Team B rescues the hostages.
Do you have enough people to pin them down?
Franka Based on earlier intel, their leader is very cautious and may choose to flee if we deploy too many.
We don't want to have to chase them through the hills.
Almond Still, this few people in Team A...
Franka Oh, did no one ever tell you this?
"Keep an eye on Franka when Liskarm's away. Don't let her do anything reckless."
Almond Er... just to be clear...
Franka Yeah, I know. You didn't hear that from Liskarm herself.
Our honor student would have said it to my face.
But I guess we've been partners for too long.
So long that even Rhodes Island likes to stick us together.
Almond Isn't that a good thing?
Franka Why would you think that?
Almond Isn't it comforting to be with someone you can trust?
You have a tendency to seek thrills in battle, leading you to take dangerous actions.
While Liskarm is cautious and tries to stop you.
You often argue, but are the perfect partners to complete any missions assigned to you.
That's what they say about you two back at Blacksteel, anyway.
Franka Well, they're not wrong.
The two of us have gotten used to it, is all.
The Vulpo sighs.
Most new Blacksteel members choose a standard-issue weapon when they join.
She picked a shortsword for self-defense, but the rapier remained her main weapon.
As time went on, people started to believe that she only used the rapier.
In fact, she is skilled with the shortsword too.
But it's been so long that even she herself has almost forgotten.
Franka Let's do this quickly.
<Background 4>
Almond Franka pinned the enemy down while the rest of us rescued the hostages.
Then I turned around to see that they had surrounded her.
Vanilla What?!
Almond My heart was practically in my throat at that point.
They weren't very well-equipped, but they had the advantage of numbers.
And they all wanted a piece of her after realizing they'd been fooled.
But Franka just stood there like there was nothing to worry about.
I thought maybe Liskarm's absence had made her go over the edge...
But then—
Vanilla Then?
Almond This is an exclusive scoop. You didn't expect to hear it for free, did you?
Almond makes a money sign with her hand and smiles slyly.
Vanilla ...Alright, alright!
[Almond gets hit by Liskarm who suddenly appeared.]
Almond Ouch!
Liskarm You shouldn't be trying to make money off other people's stories.
Almond This is just an efficient use of resources!
Oh, Liskarm! You're back.
Liskarm Mm-hm.
Were you talking about Franka?
Almond Yup.
Liskarm I want to hear it too.
Almond Fine, fine, this one's on the house.
Vanilla Thanks!
Almond Man, I'm starting to feel guilty.
Franka was in the middle of the fray, while I was on the tower after getting the hostages out.
We didn't plan any strict timing. She shouldn't have known where I was.
But I saw her wink directly at me.
With her gaze, she drew my attention to a teetering building on the other side.
Right next to the bandits.
I got the message instantly.
She didn't show herself just for the thrill of it. She lured them there on purpose.
She even predicted that I would show up right where I did!
Liskarm It's no superpower. She simply expected that enough time would have elapsed for you or some other team member to show up.
Almond What if we got delayed though?
Liskarm Then she might have rendezvoused with you, or she might have had a Plan B.
If I were in her shoes, I might have set up explosives in the building.
Almond Come to think of it, she did ask me for some explosives...
Anyway, there was something different about Franka on this mission.
Calm, reliable... not to say she's not normally reliable, but—
Liskarm Where is she now?
Vanilla She shut herself in her room after she got back.
Almond Yeah... I wanted to celebrate with her.
Liskarm ...I'll go find her.
<Background 1>
Franka ......
Almond is probably running her mouth off right about now.
Bah, it's none of my business.
Her mother's letter lies on the table.
She regularly sends her mother money and answers every question she has. She loves her.
But there are two questions that she always evades.
How long do you plan on risking your life as a mercenary?
When are you coming home?
They are, in fact, the same question.
She knows her mother is asking out of love, but these two questions mean more to her than anyone can imagine.
Franka ......
[Franka presses a button on a record player.]
The Vulpo turns on the old record player that she got from Croissant.
Then, she sinks herself into the soft bed, as though trying to fall into an abyss where no one knows her.
She has never considered herself unprepared for the future.
She believes she is enjoying every second of the present.
But she felt a sense of loss when Jessica decided to go to the frontier. When Liskarm decided to form her own security company.
It isn't about uncertainty. She knows exactly where she should be heading.
[Someone knocks on the door.]
Franka ......
She knows who this polite and rhythmic knocking belongs to.
[More knocking.]
Franka She knows I'm in here, and where I left the spare key.
[Franka gets up.]
Franka Underneath the flower pot by the door.
Then, she'll open it up without hesitation.
[Liskarm unlocks the door while Franka turns off the record player.]
Franka Maybe I should change where I hide the key.
[Liskarm enters.]
Liskarm ......
This isn't like you, Franka.
Franka ......
And what would be?
Liskarm ...Anything but this.
Franka ......
Are you free right now, Teacher's Pet?
Liskarm I wouldn't have come looking for you if I wasn't.
Franka We haven't sparred in a while, have we?
<Background 5>
[Franka and Liskarm enter the training facility.]
Franka So you just laid out all your ideals. As usual.
Liskarm I don't know any other way.
Franka Well, I guess it suits you better than trying to sweet talk him.
So how did it go?
Liskarm Not great. Mr. Cliff is not fond of my choice.
But he did say he wouldn't mind having a far-off partner.
Franka There's no such thing as a real partnership between security companies. Once you leave Blacksteel, you're no friend of them.
Liskarm I know.
[Both get into their positions.]
The two of them walk towards opposite ends of the training ground.
Franka You heard about it from Laura.
Liskarm Yes.
I know why you want to spar all of a sudden.
So we'll spar to your heart's content today.
Franka Aren't you getting a little carried away, Teacher's Pet?
Liskarm I mean exactly what I said.
[Both clash repeatedly.]
Sword and shield meet with a loud clang.
Liskarm I also saw a few friends that I've kept in touch with since my trainee days.
Many of them are willing to come with me.
[More clashing.]
Franka So you went back for a class reunion?}
Liskarm Not exactly, we just had a few chats.
They all asked about you.
Franka Me?
Liskarm You always call me "honor student" or "teacher's pet," but you were the one who was always at the top of the class.
Franka Being an honor student isn't exactly a good thing for a warrior.
I disliked you from the moment I laid eyes on you.
[More clashing.]
Liskarm I know.
I remember the first time we faced off in a simulation.
Franka What did I say?
Liskarm You said, "Let's see if the teacher's pet is so perfect in a real fight."
That's when it all started.
Franka You sure can hold a grudge.
Liskarm You could always stop calling me that.
Franka No way.
[More clashing.]
They know each other's moves well. The sound of weapons clanging against one another fills the room.
Franka I mean, why would someone who's neither a wannabe warlord nor an arms dealer become a mercenary?
I still wonder that.
Liskarm I don't need to hear that from someone who says she became one for the thrill of it.
[Liskarm makes a counter with her shield.]
Franka Looks like our teacher's pet has learned a retort or two.
Liskarm I learned from the best.
I saw the letter when I stepped into the room.
Franka ......
Liskarm You haven't been back for years.
Franka I don't know what to say when I see her.
Liskarm I thought you got along well enough with your mother.
Franka More than well enough. I love her, and she loves me.
She encouraged me to do what I wanted, and never forced me to do anything I didn't.
She spoiled me into the woman I am today.
Liskarm I can see that.
There are a lot of mercenaries like me, at least in terms of personality.
But very few like you, who seek out danger rather than avoid it.
It took me a long time to realize why.
You could do that because you can afford to live a carefree life.
Franka Yeah, you should see the pictures of me from when I was little.
Not to gloat, but you've never seen a more pampered princess.
Liskarm Er, thanks, but no thanks.
Franka Well, I'm not sure I have any of those around anyway.
I'm sure Mom kept them, though.
But the more I enjoy what I have now, the more afraid I am of seeing her.
I shouldn't have left her.
I should have stayed with her, started a little shop. All I needed was enough income to make a living.
But I couldn't resist my longing for... all this.
Franka points at her sword, then turns around to look at the spacious training ground.
Franka She was worried about me when I was a freelance mercenary.
So she sent me off to Blacksteel training camp with a smile.
But I know she cried as soon as I was out of sight.
Liskarm Are you afraid you won't be able to leave once you go see her?
Franka I'm afraid I wouldn't be able to stop myself from arguing with her.
Even though we love each other so much.
[Franka makes a powerful thrust.]
Liskarm ...I thought you were just in a bad mood.
Apparently you're in a very bad mood.
All these years, and I've never heard you talk so much.
Franka IYeah, our thing was always you talk, and I laugh at you.
[Both clash again.]
Liskarm ......Your condition isn't getting worse, is it?
Franka ......
Don't worry, I'm fine.
It's not any better, but it's not worse either.
I've gotten used to touching the hard bits when I take a shower.
Maybe I've gone crazy though. Who knows?
Not everyone needs a grand dream or ideal.
Feeling myself grow in battle, playing pranks on the people around me—
That's enough for me.
From Blacksteel to Rhodes Island, I think I've been more happy than not.
And I thought I could go on like this.
Until you and Jessica both made your choices.
Then I realized I really, really couldn't.
So I had to ask myself—
Where do I go from here?
[Liskarm parries Franka's attack.]
Liskarm ......
Everything came so easily to you, Franka. Everyone admired you.
Myself included.
Franka ...Wait, really? You?
Liskarm Yes, me.
Franka The one who pulled me back on our first mission?
Liskarm It didn't stop me from thinking you took way too many risks.
For a long time, I didn't quite understand why I partnered with you. But now I've started to.
I could never tell what you were thinking, but I always wanted to know...
What kind of outlook on life did someone like you have, someone who is so different from me?
Maybe I instinctively realized that I could learn a lot from you.
Franka I don't remember you learning anything from me.
Liskarm I've learned plenty. Combat skills, witty retorts... maybe a positive mindset?
Or maybe it would be more accurate to say you forced me to pick them up on my own, to keep up with you.
Franka ......
Liskarm Take that mission you went on with Laura...
You're Franka.
You might look like you need someone to back you up, but you really don't.
All you needed was someone to give you a little push.
Franka Are you... breaking up with me?
Liskarm I just wanted you to let you know—
You don't need to worry about me.
Franka Well, you've definitely learned how to get on my nerves, at least.
Liskarm I learned from the best.
[Both clash but loose their weapons in the process.]
The Thermite Blade pops out of her hand, drawing a dangerous arc as it flies through the air, while the Flash Shield slips from the Vouivre's hand and falls to the ground.
A draw, as usual.
But Franka did not pick up her weapon while making fun of Liskarm, as she normally did.
She simply stands there, lost in thought.
Liskarm waits.
Finally, Franka breaks the silence.
Franka You said you needed to talk with me.
You want to invite me to join your new security company, don't you?
Liskarm Correct.
Franka Well, I'm not going.
Not yet.
Liskarm Okay.
Liskarm picks up the Thermite Blade, and Franka the Flash Shield, and they both toss them to the other.
Franka ......
My condition has mostly stabilized.
I want to take a long vacation. Go home and spend some time with my mom.
Maybe have a big fight with her.
And then... I think I'm going to go on a long trip.
A long-term field mission, maybe, to some place far away.
You might even have your company up and running by the time I get back.
Liskarm Then when the time comes, I'll invite you to hang out.
Franka Don't get ahead of yourself.
Liskarm Oh?
Franka You're the one who followed me to Rhodes Island, remember?
Maybe someday, after I leave this place, I'll go shamelessly hang out at your office without asking.
Liskarm Sorry, but you know me. Rules are more important than relationships.
Franka Well, then I guess I'll hang out outside your office and put up a sign with all your most embarrassing secrets.
Liskarm ...How the hell did I end up getting to know someone like you?
Franka You know, that's a great question. My condolences.
So what's for lunch?
Liskarm Who's buying?
Franka You—
Liskarm ......
Franka Fine, me. Just for today.