Kafka: Let's Keep That a Secret

From Arknights Terra Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Operator Record
Let's Keep That a Secret
Kafka icon.png

Kafka's got a whole lotta secrets, but only one woman she tells 'em to.

Unlock conditions

  • Raise Kafka to Elite 2 Level 1.
  • Have at least 50% Trust with Kafka.
Male RL Staff icon.png
Apprehensive Rhine Lab Tech
Nervous Rhine Lab Tech
Remorseful Rhine Lab Tech
Wildlands Morning
Rhine Lab Corridor
Rhine Lab HQ
Columbia Streets
Prison Block
With a thief's name plastered over her, Kafka is hesitating on the eve before her arrest, but the one chasing after her is in fact her one and only friend–Silence.
<Background 1>
June 10th, 1095, 6:12 P.M.
[Kafka is hastily running away but someone is close on her heels.]
Kafka *huff*... C'mooon, even though it has to across the river, you're STILL on me?
That's the lockdown perimeter dead ahead! No more runnin' for Kafka!
Freaking dang heavy-as-butt box. Knocks a Kafka's lungs out...
??? I told you before. This has bearing upon far more than you alone, Kafka.
You're running straight into the search for you. If you do want to escape, then this is the wrong direction.
Kafka Okay, you WANT li'l Kafka to bounce?
??? ......
Kafka Are you just keepin' me at arm's length all the time 'cause you don't wanna get involved with me?
[Kafka stops running and faces her pursuer.]
Silence I just don't want to put too much pressure on you. I'm with Rhine Lab, after all.
My colleagues maintain far too much prejudice, owing to your... background.
'It fits just fine that a street hustler like Kafka would run this sort of illegal business'...
Kafka But Miss Silence doesn't think a Kafka'd do bad?
Silence My hope is it wasn't you... and more than me, your mentor, Mr. Laurens, specifically sought me out to stand in your corner.
Mr. Laurens relates admittedly that when he first took you in, you retained a number of 'bad habits' from the streets.
But they were only minor tricks learned for your own survival, and meant nothing inherent.
Kafka Mr. Laurens sure knows his Kafkaology.
He's been swell to me, sure, I can tell you that.
Silence The instinct imposed on you by your living conditions should not be any reason for others to question you.
But if you absolutely cannot absolve yourself of culpability for theft of the test subject, I can only fulfill my obligations.
Which is why, right now, I need you to cooperate with me and clear up the facts. Things can still be turned around.
This box... this box shackled to you, is the test subject inside it?
Kafka Whoa, whoa, that's my secret to keep!
Yannow the mad—freaking—effort it took for li'l ol' Kafka to lug this box all the way here? Heck, no one else would even—
What, don't ignore me here!
Silence Kafka. Your hands. They're bleeding.
Kafka Wha? Sheesh, I didn't even notice! Naww, it's okay, that's just a fact of Kafka life. No need to worry at all!
Hey, I'm not a kid here! Put me the sweet heck down!
Silence My medical drone can help your recovery.
Kafka Buh.
(C'mon, Silence, you're pintsize as I am. Where d'you even hide that strength...)
Silence Kafka, you don't have to assume this air of resistance.
Hold still!
This customary approach of yours is uncalled for here
Kafka ......
Silence Where's the key? I'll put the specimen back for you.
Kafka Mmrf. Put the Kafka on the floor.
Silence Stop struggling! My drone is still treating you!
Kafka Silence. Put me down.
You hear the sirens thataway?
You think your Rhine Lab researcherhood lets you wrangle cops too?
Silence ......
Kafka Lesson, Silence: never ever let anyone else hear your true mind that easy!
Silence You have secrets you're attempting to hide.
You have a mentor who cares for you now. A new life of calm and stability.
Why would you risk all of this to do something that benefits you in no way?
I don't make promises I can't keep, Kafka.
But I cannot look on while innocent people are implicated through Rhine Lab's negligence.
Kafka So why am I seeing you now? Silence, is this about helping the innocent, or saving face for Rhine Lab?
Silence All I know—is that my friend needs help.
Kafka ......
Huh. Friend...
Yannow, I just tried to find any proof you were lyin' there. Guess my polygraph says no today.
Might be you really can do the things I can't, Silence.
Alrighty. Ya got any major evidence to help a Kafka's case out?
Silence Given all other surveillance data was destroyed by interference, this was the one and only means I could rescue.
<Flashback starts here>
<Background 2>
Twelve hours ago...
[Kafka tries to carry a heavy box while making her way out of the laboratory.]
Kafka (Oof, I can't be this beat...)
(Objection! Kafka isn't even trying to drag this out, the dumb box just weighs a ton!)
(I did NOT want to draw attention by bein' all loud!)
(Still too early for 'em to be clockin' in! Alright, Kafka, shut up aaand...)
Inside a markedly spacious room, a small little figure pushes at a huge box completely out of proportion to her height.
She stumbles in her step, she proceeds slow and steady, but she never halts for a moment.
As she passes a half-ajar laboratory door, she suddenly freezes.
She can hear her own heart beating.
Kafka (Why's there people?)
[Silence and other Rhine Lab members are working inside one of the rooms.]
Silence Alright, we'll input all the data, then simulate a reproduction one more time.
If the output results are a good fit, then we've saved your industry reputation.
Remorseful Rhine Lab Tech Researcher Silence, you've been up all night rescuing this paper. Please, take a break.
I'll handle the remaining work myself. I promise you there'll be no more problems.
Silence I'm accustomed to working at night. You should be celebrating that our efforts last evening at least avoided Rhine Lab becoming the laughing stock of our profession.
Remorseful Rhine Lab Tech I'm sorry...
Silence I know you're defiant about this. Shifting numbers around is a common practice in the industry, and we are by and large tacitly aware of it.
But everything has to have a line. Cross it, and pulling back becomes very difficult.
I'm not criticizing you at all. I just hope we can always keep in mind where the boundaries of research lie.
After all, ingenuity is what shot Rhine Lab to recognition within Colum—
Who's there?
Nervous Rhine Lab Tech I didn't see anyone.
Silence ......
Kafka (Figures Silence would.)
(Probably saw me and all?)
(Hope you're not trying to excuse yourself. C'mon, Kafka, you knew the lab was right there.)
[Kafka walks away.]
<Background 3>
Kafka (And we're here. Is this seriously the job?)
(Real shame...)
Flowers're so pretty in full bloom.
<Flashback ends here>
<Background 1>
Silence These are records of the first ten minutes after the test subject was stolen.
A researcher working overtime noticed the peculiarity, and reported it to Defense.
But before Defense could launch an internal investigation, someone had sounded the alarm.
Not only do all leads at the scene point to you, but you happened to perfectly establish that you were present.
Kafka You saw me, didn'tcha?
Silence Yes. And I submitted my testimony.
Likewise, I raised objections too. Due to all concurrent surveillance records suffering interference, they were classed as inadmissible evidence.
But I tried to get a colleague who specializes in data recovery to restore a portion.
Kafka, who was it directing you from outside the frame?
Kafka ......
Kafka sez: I don't think this evidence is gonna be enough to help me.
Silence But if you can just return the test specimen, that will be my foothold to wield said evidence, and apply to restart the investigation.
Kafka Even still, that's one heck of an uphill climb.
Think back for me, Silence. When you were there in the lab, did ya see anyone else apart from me?
Hear anyone else's voice?
Silence No... but being engaged in conversation with my colleague likely caused me to overlook any other sounds.
Kafka Uh-huh, but'cha see, if they shoot back and ask, how can you prove this wasn't the person on tape just acting?
How d'ya respond then, Silence?
Silence I have no way to prove that...
Kafka Yep. You have no way to prove it.
So are you still willin' to trust me?
Silence I am.
Kafka Well, that's a headscratcher.
Yannow, I'd like to ask you somethin' too now, Kafka to Silence.
What if that whole deal on tape really was just me acting? What would you do then?
Silence There's no motivation for you to take superfluous action...
Kafka Not that.
You're here for me, Silence.
That proves... I can believe a heck of a lot that scared me to even think before.
The sirens are still blaring close by.
But Kafka doesn't fear the people searching for her.
This perplexed-looking, side-of-justice guest of hers, who strained herself just to 'keep this appointment,' is what she minds more right now.
Kafka trusts that right now, a million problems must be whirling through Silence's mind all at once.
She begins to hesitate. Her ever-unflustered heart grows more and more apprehensive.
'Maybe I shouldn't have led her here.'
She can almost hear her own heart beating.
Kafka You look lost as all heck, Silence.
I don't wanna get you into trouble. You oughta hit the road, quick-like.
Silence This makes no sense. What calls for you to take such a tremendous risk and stay here?
I can hear them searching for you!
You've been homeless in Columbia. You know what follows when an ordinary woman with no status or means is arrested by the police under these circumstances.
Being sent to the frontier may well qualify as the least worst outcome.
But I haven't seen the slightest hint of despair in your eyes... You haven't given up.
Kafka And here li'l Kafka thought she was keepin' her secrets snug as a safe.
It's no big deal to me if I get misunderstood. You really don't gotta worry at all, Silence.
Even if they pack me off someplace far away, heck, I'm still confident I'll survive.
Homelessness, jailtime... those don't scare me. They don't scare a Kafka at all.
Silence Kafka, you can excuse these prospects as a fact of your life as much as you want.
But why should an innocent woman suffer meaningless punishment? That's not your mode of life.
This is a matter concerning Rhine Lab. I am bound to ensure your fair treatment.
Even if you do go to prison for it, I am still obligated to ascertain the truth and secure your release.
But right now, so long as you return the specimen, this can all end completely differently.
Kafka ......
So that's what you're thinkin'?
You see things a way different than I do. Nothin' like anyone I've ever known...
Alright, alrighty.
Guess I don't wanna let you down either then!
Joke is I lost the key, but the punchline? Kafka's got other ways into this box.
Watch this!
Silence Stop that! Forcefully destroying the container like this might damage the specimen!
Kafka Yaaaah—
[Kafka tries to bust the box open with brute force]
Kafka Yaaah—yeesh, this hurts—owwwwowowow—
This thing's megahard. Don't think one Kafka's got the strength.
Could you lend me your medical drone just another sec?
Silence ......
That should help a little. Don't be so reckless.
As for the box... I didn't come completely unequipped for self-defense.
[Silence opens the box.]
Kafka Open sesame! Man, Silence, you're the dream!
Guess it's for real. Some stuff I can't do, you just wave your fingers and it's done.
Silence No, this was just...
The contents of the box meet the light of day once more, and their brilliant gleam illuminates two faces with two completely different expressions.
Shock here, satisfaction there.
The test subject... it's gone.
Kafka Test subject? Hey, I never fessed up to looting any laboratory!
These suckers are MY shears, and without 'em, I don't even put food on the table. I can't just toss these things away.
Silence But I clearly saw you taking the specimen in the recording.
Kafka You mean the tape you just showed me?
'What if that whole deal on tape really was just me acting? What would you do then?'
Silence You were drawing attention away from someone else?
Who was it?
Kafka Does that matter any? Everyone's dead set that I stole it for a fact.
Doesn't even matter what ol' Kafka did with it. Coulda hidden it, coulda trashed it. Same difference any which way.
'Cause the specimen don't matter, and Kafka don't matter neither.
'Kafka, that's our thief.' Shutting the book on the whole stupid thing sooner, that's what matters to those guys.
No one's seriously gonna listen to anything from a pintsize gardener what came from nothing.
Silence I'm still listening, Kafka.
Kafka But what if I was tricking you on purpose, huh?
Silence *sigh* I'm mentally prepared for it... After all, kids like you tend to cause very specific kinds of headaches. You love to keep people guessing, and hate to ask for help in any straightforward manner.
Kafka Call me a kid one more time, Silence, I'm gonna turbo-lose it!
Thank you.
But you really can't help me this time, Silence, because over this entire thing, I didn't see this specimen once.
I'm just lucky I didn't miss my chance to tell you goodbye.
So could you do me one final favor, Silence?
I've got this little gift saved for Mr. Laurens. If you could just pass it onto him, in a Kafka's place.
The stuff's stashed in the Rhine Lab HQ, where I first met you.
Silence That... that's impossible! All external personnel are mandated to undergo strict inspection when entering and exiting the building—when did you—
Kafka Somethin' tells me you could make a good guess.
<Flashback starts here>
<Background 4>
Ten days earlier...
Kafka Why were those guys at the door starin' holes in Kafka? She do a wrong thing or what?
Silence Don't mind them; Defense are just accustomed to their job. We don't often have... unfamiliar faces showing up.
Stay close, and don't get lost. Also, remember now: if anyone else gives you trouble for being external personnel, call me right away.
Kafka Newsflash: Kafka, not some kid!
Silence I've neglected to introduce myself. I'm—
Kafka Silence. Heheh, Mr. Laurens drilled it into me how I gotta listen to you.
Silence Fine... additionally, be careful with what you're holding. It's not a display item by any means.
Kafka Oh, yeah, the folks all call me...
Uh, wait, somethin' tells me Kafka's already let the name slip!
Silence Folks? But your files indicated you only had one relative in Laurens, the legendary gardener. Do you have siblings too?
Kafka That's a new thing! There was a time before Kafka the gardener! You don't know all the places I've been and all the friends I've made!
Silence You mean when you were homeless?
Kafka What, you lookin' down on me too?
Sure, I only just started learning gardening, but Laurens says my skills would be way enough to help you guys finish cultivatin' your test samples—
Silence Kafka, your past experiences will not be a basis I judge you on. I hope that in the time to come, we'll work cordially together.
I'll help assimilate you into this place during the experiment. Welcome to—
Kafka Wow, that's a beautiful plant! Never seen by Kafkakind before! Why's it in a glass cover?
Silence This is the fruit of Director of Ecological Muelsyse's research; it's a species already extinct in the wild. In natural conditions, without Rhine Lab's intervention, it would have an infinitesimal probability of survival.
Kafka Oh, 'cause it's too eye-catching. Gets targeted too easily. If you wanna live, first you gotta learn how to hide.
Silence That is exactly one of the directions Rhine Lab is taking its intervention. Did you do your homework beforehand?
Kafka Don't gotta. It's somethin' a Kafka just knows.
Why don'tcha straight up get Mr. Laurens in for the experiment?
Silence Unfortunately, Mr. Laurens didn't pass our probe questionnaire. I can't imagine how we'd reconcile his and our attitudes towards treatment of the specimens.
Mr. Laurens believes the achievements Rhine Lab makes should be for all to know, and holds firm that we should allow people to witness the beauty of these specimens once again.
Kafka Hah. The ultimate goal of the gardener.
Silence Yes. Be that as it may, the Rhine Lab ethos is that we endeavor to seek possibilities for a species's survival. Mr. Laurens's thinking regarding these exceptional flora is, well, overly...
Kafka Selfish?
Silence Narrow.
From the researcher's perspective, we worry how difficult it would be to collaborate harmoniously, despite his renowned skills.
Kafka You guys talk down Mr. Laurens way too much.
When you look at him now, you're lookin' at a guy who's been through difficult times—heck, gone through unspeakable things. That's why he's so used to tacklin' stuff from his own angle.
Silence Research shouldn't mix with the interpersonal. Our respect for Mr. Laurens does not imply that we can ignore the discrepancies.
But we are surprised at how astonishingly well you meet our requirements, Kafka, as the student of Mr. Laurens.
Kafka See, it's 'cause I never like to let a good job go! Doesn't matter if it's with Mr. Laurens or with you guys.
Say, once I start up work, does Mr. Laurens still get to come and spectate the experiment?
Silence We can discuss that later.
Kafka Sure, then... I wanna tour around this lobby a little more.
These plants really got an allure a gardener just can't resist.
Man, so pretty... It's givin' all it's got to survive.
Silence Indeed. But without our help, they'd be no more than nutrients in mud.
I'll be waiting for you in the laboratory, Kafka.
Kafka Silence!
Silence What is it?
Kafka Thanks for helping me before.
A small little figure sees a drooping plant beneath a glass bell, trying its hardest to stretch forth its branches.
Fragile. Delicate.
'Borrow power, and survive.'
Kafka can hear her own heart beating.
<Flashback ends here>
<Background 1>
Kafka I planted a seed of one of the specimens there, all secret. Might not ever bud.
I bet'cha it'd really make Mr. Laurens's day for a present. He's been looking forward to this forever.
But then again, it's property of Rhine Lab in the end, so you make the call, Silence.
Silence Mr. Laurens...
Mr. Laurens.
I understand now.
Why didn't you tell us that Mr. Laurens was suspect?
Kafka How am I s'posed to prove that exactly?
By asking my good friend Silence to stand and vouch for me?
Silence Why not?
Kafka ......
Silence Perhaps 'friend' is one word you can place just a little more confidence in, Kafka.
If you speak and nobody's willing to listen, then I'll stand with you.
Kafka Silence...
Silence There has to be someone who'll stop by to hear out a researcher, correct?
My drone can guide you through a safe path out.
[Silence's drone activates.]
Kafka But how're ya gonna explain to them once I'm gone?
Silence This is my experiment—supervision and administration are duties I bear by all reason. Even if the specimen is stolen, my responsibility is unavoidable.
Leave any ensuing matters to me.
Kafka Silence, you ever think to yourself, 'this is gonna be a major pain in my keister?'
Silence I have, more or less. But I can handle it.
Kafka But what if this is all just Kafka out to trick you into helping her?
Silence Then after I untangle the threads, I'll find you anew.
Submitting an accurate, verified project report to Rhine Lab seniority is part of my duties too.
Kafka Seriously, you're a puzzle. Where does all your confidence in me come from?
Silence That would be my secret to keep, Kafka.
Kafka I like it! Let's make a deal, then!
Next time we meet, you'll know every last secret I've got.
And I can hope you're open to share your own, Silence.
Silence Of course.
<Flashback starts here>
<Background 5>
Two months ago...
Apprehensive Rhine Lab Tech Researcher Silence, you don't know how thankful I am you could help me complete this experiment.
I've already submitted the application. Here's hoping we can find a good contract gardener to come assist us.
Silence Be mindful to screen personnel properly. That lets us avoid unnecessary experimental losses.
Apprehensive Rhine Lab Tech Understood. I'll start on getting that ready.
Right, I bought you breakfast.
Huh? Where'd it go?
In a flash, a small little figure makes off with Silence's breakfast.
A homeless boy clasps the food he's been gifted, and waves to Silence.
But next to him is that small little figure who pulls an impish face, and points at the ground.
Silence lowers her head, and sees a forgotten coin trodden beneath her foot.
Apprehensive Rhine Lab Tech That little thief!
This is the first time Silence met Kafka.
<Flashback ends here>
<Background 6>
One week after the 'Rhine Lab Caper'...
Kafka Mr. Laurens, verdict says we've got an innocent Kafka! Aren'tcha happy for me?
You gettin' used to life in the slammer? Yannow, the second they found proof you made me take the fall, they just went and cancelled my whole arrest warrant.
Oh yeah, you get your present from me yet?
Laurens ......
Kafka Guessin' not. That sucks a million. Doesn't change the huge favor Silence did me, though.
Laurens You conned me. I genuinely did believe you were just a homeless wanderer.
Kafka And Kafka's never ever gonna apologize for that.
Laurens All to get revenge on me. Weren't you worried about getting yourself hurt, and her?
Kafka Well, hey, didn't get a choice. I'm too puny and small. Some kinds of justice I just gotta chance getting Silence to win back.
Laurens Why would someone like you trust a Rhine Lab scientist to help you?
Kafka Yeah, why is that?
Shame Kafka only tells one woman her secrets.