Let's Throw a Party!

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Let's Throw a Party! Stories of Afternoon
Feline Girl icon.png
RI Training Compound
RI Corridor
RI Room
Vanilla drags Melantha and Steward with her to take care of her pet, and along the way, they see Blaze with a young Infected girl.
Between them, the Operators decide that after their mission, they would visit to the child who is now receiving treatment and throw a party.
<Background 1>
04:22 PM \ Clear
Rhodes Island Landship, Compartment 5, Training Grounds
Vanilla Hoo! Hah!
Cleave! Thrust! Swing!
Phew... Haah...
That... concludes... *Pant* *pant*... today's training.
<Dialogue branch starts here>
Doctor Know your limits. You're pushing yourself too hard.
Vanilla No, phew.... Don't worry! I'm a-okay, Doctor.
I know myself. And I'm well within my limits here.
Instructor Dobermann and Liskarm helped me work out a training schedule, so you don't have to worry!
<Dialogue branch>
Doctor ......
Vanilla *Pant*... *pant*...
Huh? What's the matter, Doctor? Why do you look so worried?
Really, I'm fine! It's hard, but I can handle it!
<Dialogue branch>
Doctor Here, have a sports drink.
Vanilla Phew... *pant*... thanks.
Haah.... Okay, I'm good. But this drink, ugh, it really tastes terrible.
Dobermann made it very clear I'm supposed to drink this after exercise, and so has Franka, but it really tastes awful!
<Dialogue branch ends here>
Vanilla The operators training here always work so hard. I have to go all out. I can't hold anyone back.
Oh, by the way, Doctor, I'm going on a mission with the other Blacksteel girls in a couple of days and won't be training here for a while. So thanks so much for everything you've done for me here!
<Background 2>
Vanilla ......
Doctor You look like you have something to say.
Vanilla Hah, perceptive as always, Doctor... Am I so easy to read?
Well, I'm really glad to go on a Blacksteel mission. It's just...
I, uh, I have a few pets, and, uh, I usually take care of them. But when I'm on a mission, I have to ask other people to do it.
I usually ask the other Blacksteel girls.
Liskarm and Franka help most of the time, but they're always on missions together, and taking R&R together.
If one's gone, so is the other.
Franka likes to joke around, but she's actually really reliable. Puffball, Tiny, Kuro, and Stout all really love Franka!
Sometimes Jessica takes care of them, if I can't find those two. But, um, this one time, Kuro kind of startled her, and I think she was going to cry.
Doctor Can I ask...?
What exactly are these "pets"?
Vanilla Huh.
Didn't I bring Puffball and the gang around to meet you, Doctor?
Puffball, Tiny, and Kuro are all Originium snails. And Stout is a Sargon Desert Metal Crab, and every last one of them is cute as a button!
Doctor .......
Vanilla Hm? What's wrong, Doctor?
Oh no... I know that look in your eyes, Doctor. No! No! No! No! You can't eat them! Not Puffball, not Tiny, not Kuro, not Stout! You can't eat any of them! I know you've been eating all kinds of weird stuff behind Dr. Kal'tsit's back!
(I was going to ask you to take care of them. But now? Hmph. No way.)
What am I going to do? We're all going out together this time. What's going to happen to my babies?
Hmmm.... The other operators are all busy with their own things, so I can't just go up and ask them out of nowhere, can I?
Doctor Couldn't hurt to try?
Like, try asking the next one who walks by.
Vanilla Huh? Take this seriously!
You're joking, right, Doctor?!
Who will it be...? Ooh, I hope it's someone reliable...
Doctor Someone's coming.
Vanilla !
Their footsteps... are very light! With a steady pace, very steady. It must be a great warrior!
Huh? What's that fragrance?
I remember this scent, it's...
[Melantha walks by.]
Vanilla Melantha!
Melantha Ah?!
Y-yes, it's me.
Good afternoon, Doctor, Vanilla.
Erm, so... what can I do for you?
<Background fades out and in>
Melantha Sorry, it's kind of unusual for you to ask me for something. I just...
Vanilla Not at all! You're a big help, Melantha! Thank you so much!
Melantha It's nothing. And actually I'm just going to ask Steward.
But really, I'm glad I could help.
Vanilla Oh.
(She's blushing!)
Steward Haha. Melantha is so timid off the battlefield.
Don't worry, I'll take great care of Vanilla's pets.
Vanilla Thank you so much for your trouble!
Melantha Thanks, Steward.
Steward Think nothing of it. I really won't have you standing on ceremony. We're friends.
Vanilla H– how could we be friends? You two have been with Rhodes Island for so long, you're far more senior than me!
Melantha Does company seniority matter so much...?
Vanilla Oh, by the way, is Melantha also going on this mission?
None of my superiors mentioned it...
Melantha Yes, I am.
It was decided kind of suddenly. They only just told me.
It was Master, err, Franka, who said she wanted to see how my swordsmanship was coming along. The timing was right, so she applied to have me join the team.
Vanilla Oh, Franka? She's been teaching you her sword techniques?
Melantha Yes.
Vanilla Is she actually a good teacher...?
I know she's really reliable, but I hope she isn't a bad influence on a good girl like Melantha.
Oh no, the more I think about it, the more worried I get!
Melantha Not at all! Franka likes to play around, but she's very serious when it comes to sword fighting.
It's all thanks to Franka that I've come as far as I have. She's a great influence on me!
...Sorry, I may have gone a bit overboard.
Vanilla You two are actually pretty close.
But I'm glad to know that Franka is a good teacher anyway. I won't worry.
Franka is a great swordmaster. I've never seen her lose a sparring match to anyone in Blacksteel.
Melantha Master is amazing. I have a lot more to learn.
Oh, right. Sorry, but it's time for me to go.
I have an appointment with Ansel for a routine checkup today.
Vanilla Routine checkup?
Melantha Yes. For Oripathy...
Vanilla ...Oh.
Steward What, again? Didn't you just get checked the day before yesterday?
And Medical gave you a new drug after the last checkup, right?
Melantha Yes. It's because they want to keep tabs on my new medication.
Nothing to worry about. Dr. Warfarin says my infection is under control.
Steward ...I'm glad.
You better get going for now.
Vanilla Thanks again! We could get tea when you're done with your checkup, if you have time?
Melantha Oh, tea...? Erm, yeah! Sounds good!
It's a date!
Thank you again for your help, Steward.
[Melantha leaves in a hurry.]
Steward .......
And thank you, Vanilla.
Vanilla Me? Huh?
Steward Nothing. Never mind.
Vanilla Oh?
<Background fades out and in>
Vanilla I feel like... Melantha changed a lot. She's in such a good mood now.
Steward You think so too? Melantha is much more confident now than when we first formed the squad.
Vanilla Confident...? Oh, yes, it's confidence.
I've always felt that Rhodes Islanders are different from the Infected I've met in the past. I think it's because you all... live. You keep pushing so hard to live your lives, if that makes sense?
Sometimes I forget about the whole infection thing altogether.
It's really incredible.
Steward Hah. Incredible? No, I don't think so.
Rhodes Island has been forced to get involved in a lot of things, but it's still essentially a pharmaceutical company. It's always been mostly about developing medicine and the treatments for the Infected.
An Infected person who would make the effort to come here for treatment, she's going to be the type who won't give up on life, right?
Vanilla It makes sense when you put it that way.
Steward That's why we have to work with other organizations to make up for what we don't have.... Such is the case, for example, with Blacksteel.
Thanks to professionals like you, Vanilla, our operators are under less pressure.
Vanilla No, I'm not even a professional yet. I'm still in training. It's the senior operators who are professional mercenaries.
Liskarm and the others didn't have to take a test to come here, like I did.
Steward A test?
Vanilla Yes. Both practical and written exams.
I spent a week in the library preparing for that written test. I didn't even sleep!
Steward ...Hah hah. You're a hard worker.
That's a bit of a surprise though. Blacksteel is more serious about our cooperation agreement than I thought.
Vanilla Why would you say that...? Since the Oripathy Crisis began, a lot of Blacksteel mercenaries got Infected.
We're okay, though. And Oripathy isn't that scary to us mercenaries. Our work is dangerous enough already.
Steward You'll die in the end either way.
Vanilla Right.
On the other hand, some clients don't want to hire Infected. So we're getting fewer contracts, making less money, and probably causing some headaches for the bosses.
I think that's around the time we started cooperating with Rhodes Island? Franka told me about it, but I don't know the details.
Steward I see...
Vanilla And I'm very lucky I got to come here and see so many things and meet so many people I never would've encountered before. Every single day! It's really fulfilling.
Not to mention free dessert in the cafeteria once a week! I've probably gained a lot of weight since coming here...
Steward Probably not. As long as you keep your nutrition balanced, it's good to eat a little more. Take care not to overeat, but health is what matters.
Vanilla No, no, no, Steward, you don't understand!
It's not about what other people think, it's about how it affects your mood!
Steward O– oh is that right?
??? Damn straight. Vanilla knows what she's talking about.
Vanilla Ah, Blaze...! Oh.
Blaze, who is this little girl...?
Blaze This little rascal? She's Dora, one of my adorable little friends.
And please, try to chill out, Vanilla. I don't want you trying to trade business cards with a child.
Dora ...Nice to meet you.
Vanilla Uh, hello.
Steward Good afternoon, Miss Dora. Did you take your medicine today?
Dora (nodding)
Blaze She pulled a half an hour of storybook time out of me on account of it tasted too bitter.
I'm onto you, little rascal. You said it was too bitter last time too, and Dr. Kal'tsit fixed up the taste!
Dora B– but it is bad! You said so yourself!
Blaze I don't take the same stuff as you. No excuses.
Dora Aww.
Um, I need to go...
Blaze Huh?
Oh, it's time for class?
Dora Yes. The medic lady said she'd teach us how to make paper flowers today!
Blaze Will you make one for me? I'll give you a candy.
Dora Hehehehe, I'll think about it.
Bye-bye, Mister, Miss!
[Dora runs off.]
Steward No running in the halls! You'll fall and hurt your—
Oof... she fell.
Blaze This kid....
Vanilla Haha, she's got a lot of energy.
Blaze Yeah, she looks quiet, but she's a wrecking ball. Warfarin has to scare her into behaving... Doesn't matter. Anyway.
I've never seen you two hang out. Aren't you usually with the Blacksteel girls, Vanilla? Did Amiya organize a mixer?
Vanilla Huh? This... we're not...
Steward Blaze, don't joke!
Blaze Did that sound like a joke? Honestly, I think we should have a mixer where we all get together and relax.
Steward I'm sure we'll make time. And anyway, haven't we had a few private functions? I know I've seen Blaze drinking and puking with quite a few contract operators.
Blaze Those don't count!
Vanilla That must be the "boozy nightmare" Liskarm talks about sometimes...
By the way, was that little girl a Rhodes Islander?
Steward Dora? She's here for treatment, so I think she counts?
Blaze Yes. But we're classified differently. Combat personnel are different from logistics personnel, and there's a few others. It's all HR stuff... you know?
Steward You sound unsure...
Blaze It's not my wheelhouse.
Why are you so fixated on Dora?
Vanilla I don't know. I guess I'm just curious. I saw her when I first got here too...
Blaze Oh?
Vanilla I came to give the Doctor my paperwork and there was this cute Infected girl and her parents waiting outside the door.
The girl, though still small, was very well-behaved. She just held onto her tattered doll. She didn't make a sound.
It was no big deal. But it made an impression.
Blaze That must have been Dora. That doll was a mess. I told her I'd buy her a new one, but she wouldn't have it. I ended up getting Bibeak to stitch it up for her.
Vanilla So it was her....
Steward I think I remember she's... Victorian, right?
Blaze I think so. Her medical records say she was involved in a street fight and inhaled a bunch of Originium dust.
I took a look at it before, when I was helping Hibiscus give her some shots.
Steward The children in that ward come from different backgrounds, but they are all in the same place now.
Cardigan likes to play with them, and Ansel always stays late after medicating them to tell stories and such. They're all very happy kids.
Blaze Dora is especially optimistic. She always says she wants to join my squad when she grows up. Where do you think she gets it from?
Steward To want to join Blaze's team, she must be a little unhinged.
Blaze Hey.
Steward It's a fairly common story around here. Just pick any of the medical compartments at random and you'll find a few people who've been through similar things.
Blaze Yeah, it's nothing new. The world sucks.
Vanilla .......
Is she... very sick?
Her family didn't look rich.... I didn't think they'd be able to afford treatment. Honestly, I kind of didn't expect to see her again.
Blaze A normal place, where the bosses have their heads screwed on right, definitely wouldn't take a dying patient with no money.
Steward There's a better way to phrase it.
But Blaze is right. There is no cure for Oripathy. And even an organization like ours has limited resources.
...That's why the Infected are in such a tough position.
Vanilla But Rhodes Island didn't turn them away!
Rhodes Island isn't small. But I guess you can't say it's a really big organization either.
Since coming to Rhodes Island, I've seen a lot of people. A lot of Infected people who came here for medical attention.
And some of them even came forward and said they were willing to fight.
Steward All of us in Op Reserve Team A4 did exactly that.
Vanilla You too, Steward?
Steward Of course.
Vanilla .......
I hadn't even heard of this place before the Blacksteel partnership. Who could imagine a company..... a company that saves the Infected and doesn't even get paid anything for it.
Blaze That's not quite right.
Vanilla Huh?
It– it's not?
Blaze It's not that we don't get paid anything. We just get paid without money.
If one side has to pay too much, that's actually a big burden on both sides. An arrangement like that wouldn't last. No matter how sweet Amiya might be, she wouldn't do something like that.
We do provide treatment. But it's definitely not free.
Here, we've got a fine example standing right here!
Steward Oof, Blaze, you're going to break my shoulder if you keep patting me like that.
Blaze You can choose all kinds of different ways to contribute to Rhodes Island in exchange for the treatment we provide. Definitely not just fighting. Us combat operators are actually the rarest bunch.
We got logistics to handle the paperwork, engineerings to keep Rhodes Island itself trucking along, envoys to go talk to other organizations, not to mention procurement and cleaning staff...
Even if you want to wash dishes in the cafeteria, that's fine. As long as it helps, you can do it.
Steward Hearing it again, it does sound pretty idealistic.
Blaze Is that bad?
Steward Not at all.
Blaze (whistling)
Vanilla But, but! What can a little kid like Dora do to help Rhodes Island?
Blaze You saw, they're about to learn how to make origami flowers.
Vanilla Huh?
Blaze The paper flowers they fold will be used to decorate the mixer. Then they'll be given to every operator as they come back to Rhodes Island.
Steward Since when is there a mixer?
Blaze Just now. I decided.
Steward ........
Blaze Whatever. The point is there's work to be done. And the work those little guys do looks a little different from the work I do, but it's all important to Rhodes Island.
Now let's be real. I know you guys have been calling our company a sweatshop.
Vanilla That was a joke. Just a joke!
Blaze Yeah, sure. That's what I say when I tease the Doctor.
Vanilla Blaze, please!
Steward Hmmm.... My opinion is a bit different from that of Blaze.
There are some of us who trade our labor to Rhodes Island in exchange for treatment, and many more who coincidentally have interests aligned with the company.
Of course, there are many who truly believe in Amiya and her philosophy and are willing to give everything to that end.
Blaze (whistles)
Steward But we don't necessarily all share those ideals. Sometimes, we just happen to be on the same path in the same direction, and end up side by side in this moment.
Vanilla I think I understand, but...
Steward It's all right. You don't have to think about it too much.
The important thing is that we're all getting a little bit better. Things are good for now. People are happy.
As are you, Vanilla. You've been smiling a lot lately.
Vanilla O– oh, I have?
It's probably just because I'm so fulfilled here at Rhodes Island. Although there's still a lot of things I'm not used to....
Like doors that suddenly open on their own. And the last time I was in the corridor, some medical device suddenly started talking to me... I jumped out of my skin!
Steward Hahaha. I suppose you aren't used to such things.
Adnachiel was telling me about the rubber band launcher he helped Exusiai make. He said you snapped it in half.
Vanilla He made that?!
S– sorry, the rubber band startled me so, I acted on instinct...
I'm really sorry!!!
Steward That's okay, Adnachiel wasn't angry. He's a man of few words, but he's a gentle soul.
I can testify to that.
But, um, if he ever comes to you with any more inventions that cause you trouble, do let me know. Or Melantha.
Blaze Hey, I just had a thought. Maybe that whole sweatshop thing actually fits?
Steward ...What's this again?
Blaze I mean those kids, what are they? Child labor? An early investment?
Vanilla An early... investment?
Blaze Yeah, it'll pay off, won't it? Rhodes Island teaches these kids all kinds of things. The little punks are probably better than us at a bunch of stuff. Like, I get a headache looking at numbers. And then when they toss letters in with the numbers...
They're all probably going to be awesome. Way more awesome than me. They'll do all kinds of stuff I never could.
So, you know, it's a return on investment.
Steward A return? Not necessarily—
Blaze Shh, let me dream. Don't say it.
Oh, it's Amiya.
Looks like another mission. I kinda wanna blow it off. I can just blow it off, right?
Well, I gotta go. Vanilla, Steward, let's get a drink at that mixer!
[Blaze rushes off.]
Vanilla She talks like that, but she still walks away with a smile on her face....
Are we really going to have a mixer? Wh– what if I don't drink?
Steward Oh, don't mind Blaze. She's always like that. She won't force you.
Vanilla No? That's kind of a disappointment...
Steward Huh?
Vanilla Okay, this is my place.
<Background 3>
Vanilla Come on in.
Steward All right.
Ah... so this is where Vanilla lives.
Vanilla Don't laugh. It's kind of a mess.
Oh, here's Puffball and the gang.
Steward Puffball? What a cute n...
Vanilla, your pets, they're... are these... these are your pets?
Vanilla Yes.
They're all cute little critters from my hometown!
Steward Hmmm....
(I fear the word "cute" has lost all meaning...)
Vanilla Oh, don't worry, Steward. Kuro may be big, but he's really the gentlest of them all!
*Sigh*.... It's so hard to fight them on the battlefield. And Instructor Dobermann always yells at me, but I really can't help it!
Steward I– I can tell you really like animals, Vanilla.
And... Well, these pets, they... they certainly have character.
Vanilla Hehe. They sure do!
They're very well behaved. They don't make a mess. Just give them a little food and water every day and they're good to go!
Oh, but be careful not to press the spikes on their shells. Otherwise.....
Steward Otherwise?
Vanilla They explode.
Steward Explode...?
Vanilla, is it really okay to have a pet like this in your room....?
Vanilla Huh? Of course! I got permission from Amiya and Dr. Kal'tsit!
This terrarium is made of a special material that insulates the Originium. It's very safe!
Also, I prepared their food already.... See, just press the button on the side, like so, and it automatically feeds them.
Hehe. Pretty crazy, huh?
Steward I actually think it's crazier that you're here keeping Originium slugs...
Vanilla Sorry, what?
Steward Nothing.
Vanilla Hm?
Oh, and for water, they really only need a little bit every other day. Keep the environment nice and dry, just like my hometown.
Steward Understood, I'll make sure not to overwater them.
These Originium snails, and that metal crab, they look nicer than any I've seen before.... Your hometown is in Sargon, correct?
Vanilla That's right. It's a very remote place in the Sargon countryside.
Steward What's it like?
Vanilla It's a.... Well, a very poor place with very few resources.
You can't farm there, because there's nothing but sand. You have to hunt to survive. All the children in my tribe are raised to be great hunters.
Steward You too?
Vanilla Yes, me too.
Steward Then why did you join Blacksteel...?
Vanilla It's kind of embarrassing, but... for money.
Steward Money?
Vanilla Yup. Blacksteel, Blacksteel Worldwide, is just a mercenary group.
Maybe everyone joins with a different goal, but a lot of mercenaries just need money.
And that's me.
Steward Is that right? But it seems as though Jessica doesn't want for money?
Vanilla Jessica...? She has some other motivation, I guess. She doesn't talk about these things much, so I don't really know.
But where I come from, everyone is very poor...
It doesn't rain much in the Sargon deserts. When it does, the water accumulates in small oasis pools, and caravans cross the entire desert looking for them, stopping briefly as they pass by our tribe to take out some goods to trade.
It's mostly barter. No one has much money. But every home has a little something to trade.
The caravans usually stays for just a day or two. And when it gets very cold at night, so everyone gathers around the fire.
We eat a little jerky. The adults drink a couple of sips of wine to ward off the cold, and the kids get a handful of dates to snack on.
The traders tell the children about what's going on in the world outside the desert, usually something new and fun.
Like how in the far, far east, there are fragrant cities with flowers everywhere, huge metropolises overflowing with wealth and happiness...
Steward I could go for some of that.
Vanilla Right? But since I've been out here, I haven't had a chance to check and see if the east is really so great.
Anyway, having heard stories like that, it's only natural I'd be curious about the outside world. There's no way I could stay in the desert and be a regular old hunter.
So I followed the merchants out to a small town on the edge of the desert.
Steward And you found out things weren't as good as you thought?
Vanilla They're not so good, but also not so bad... At least the food is better than back home.
I didn't have much money on me. Everything my family had still wasn't enough. Even a hostel was too expensive to stay in.
It's not like I had a lot of options besides mercenary work. But I don't regret it.
...Anyway, that's enough of that.
Where's your hometown, Steward?
Steward I'm from Kjerag.
Vanilla Wow! I heard it snows there all year round. Is that true? I've never seen snow...
Steward Haha. And you never will, at Rhodes Island.
Vanilla Really! Well, I'll have to save up. Jessica says those new body insulation suits are really expensive!
Steward ...Haha, that might be a bit overkill...
<Background 2>
Steward Melantha was so happy you asked her to help.
Though she may not show it, which is both a strength and a weakness of hers.
Vanilla Really...? I hope I'm not being a bother.
Steward Certainly not. It's no bother to Melantha, or myself, for that matter.
Now, off on your mission, Vanilla. And rest assured I will take excellent care of Puffball and the others.
Vanilla Oh, just a minute, Steward!
Steward Hm? Was there something else?
Vanilla Um....
Not that I totally understand everything you and Blaze were talking about, but...
Next time Op Reserve Team A4 visits the kids in the treatment wards, please bring me along!
Let's learn how to make paper flowers, so we're ready for that mixer.