Noir Corne: The Other Side of the Deck

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Operator Record
The Other Side of the Deck
Noir Corne icon.png

Life only truly begins after you get off work.

Unlock conditions

Characters
Reserve Operator - Melee icon.png
Operator Barty
Reserve Operator - Sniper icon.png
Operator Chard
RI Operator icon.png
Operator Dylan
Backgrounds
Bar
1
Finish up a day of work, call up a few buds, play cards, drink, gossip about–Noir Corne loves these kinds of ordinary days the most.
9:46 P.M. \ Clear
Rhodes Island Landship, Operator Rest Area, Bar
<Background 1>
[A quartet of R.I. operators, which includes Noir Corne, are playing cards on the bar.]
Operator Barty How many cards?
Operator Dylan I'll take two.
Operator Chard Let me see... I'll have one.
Operator Barty Noir Corne?
Noir Corne I'm out.
Operator Dylan Luck's not smiling today, eh, bro?
Noir Corne Aw, man, I bet it's because I took the wrong mask out! Dammit.
Operator Barty Been busy enough recently, huh? I heard you were helping ops with simulation training, all on top of your run of field missions.
Noir Corne Nah, an extra shift once in a while's no big.
And I mean, I like training with all the newcomers. Youngsters with a love for life.
Operator Dylan Haven't you always been pretty popular, Noir?
When I first arrived, I saw your mask, and I thought "old, serious mentor type." Swear I didn't even dare talk to you. Who knew you'd take me for drinks right after training, eh...
Noir Corne Wait, old mentor? Am I really that old? If you don't take that back, your next round's not on me!
Operator Dylan As a bro! I mean as a solid, dependable bro.
Hey, bro. I'll take another card.
Operator Barty You know, Dylan, if you got out more and spent less time crammed in your cockpit, you'd be more popular too.
Operator Dylan Forget it, goofing off in there suits me. If Noir didn't invite me, I wouldn't have wanted to come out.
Operator Chard ...I'm more of the hiding sort too.
Last time I saw Noir Corne and the Doctor show up together, I ducked behind a wall on sheer reflex.
Operator Barty Haha, that's just you overreacting, isn't it?
Operator Chard I can't help it. After we got back from Lungmen, I had nightmares a couple straight days in a row.
It takes a lot of guts to keep working with Dr. Kal'tsit watching, and then when I saw the Doctor and all the others in the squad at the time, and the herd showing up in front of us...
That was... a terrifying scene.
Operator Dylan Man, that's just rough, bud. What about you, Noir? You went too, right?
Noir Corne I'm good enough.
But that battle was pretty intense. Can't blame Chard. Even I'm still a little stressed about it.
Operator Chard ...I'll have another glass. Talking about this made me break a sweat.
Operator Dylan Yeah, me too, gimme the... Water of Life with vanilla soda!
Not gonna drink, Noir?
Noir Corne I'll pass.
Operator Barty Yo, you're worried Yato's gonna tell you off, huh? Never seen you hold back before.
Noir Corne Hey, hey. I'm older than you guys. Lay off the wisecracks.
–I'll give you the double-demon killer!
Operator Dylan C'mon, you're just bluffing again. You're the worst actor every time you do this, y'know!
Noir Corne (Scratches mask) You serious?
Dammit. Don't they say masks hide your expression, make it easier to scare people?
Operator Dylan Don't forget tone of voice. The moment you start bluffing, you sound super tense! It's like telling everyone what you're about to do. Anyone'd figure out the act, y'know?
Noir Corne Oh? I guess my acting still needs some work, then.
Oh, well. This next one's on me. You guys drink happy.
Operator Chard ...If you say so. Give me another one.
Operator Barty Ease off, Chard. I don't want a repeat of you at the toilet bowl hurling and crying, yelling your daughter and ex-wife's names.
That last celebration dinner, if Noir Corne didn't carry you back to your place, you would've embarrassed yourself in front of the Doctor and Dr. Kal'tsit all night long.
Operator Chard (Groan)
Operator Dylan You gotta lay off him now. Keep going and he'll pass out clutching the whole bottle, haha.
Noir Corne Chard's having a hard time. Went through a rough battle, returned living, and couldn't even tell the people that mattered about it. I know how that hits. You guys stop joking about him.
Operator Chard Thanks... s-see, I was genuinely scared... I wish I could be like you, Noir Corne, I've never seen you freeze up in any situation...
Noir Corne I've just been round the block a few more times. Everyone'll get used to it after a while.
Operator Chard Once I got back, I couldn't help picturing that scene. Those kind of conditions, that sort of place... if you left me to do anything alone right there, I wouldn't have made one step forward. Wouldn't have dared fall one step back.
Dr. Kal'tsit told me to think of my daughter. She said, if we won, I'd have a chance to see her again.
*Sigh*... I already know the thing, doctor. No matter if I die there or not, whether I get to see her again isn't my place to say.
Noir Corne I feel you.
Operator Chard The reason I... the reason I could keep walking was because she said we could win. I chose... *hic* to listen to that.
Then when we got back, I saw her and the Doctor again, and I was ashamed like nothing else. In that one moment, I was actually doubting we could win!
Noir Corne I'm not saying this to be nice, Chard–that mindset? I've thought like that too.
I've been through a lot of conflicts before. Used to just fight one battle to make it to the next, and when all was said and done, who won and who lost had nothing to do with a small fry like me.
Feeling like you can't win is normal. When you can't beat them, run, because your life's what's important. If you can keep just making it through the days, your job's done.
Operator Barty It's totally normal. Plenty of mercenaries think that way.
I used to run a security company outside, and people got the services they paid for, no other questions asked.
Noir Corne Then coming to Rhodes Island, same as the boss here, my mentality began to change.
I've been on plenty of missions with the Doctor. I slowly got to thinking, if we can win, and keep on winning at it, that's actually pretty slick!
Like that, I passed each day, hauling my weight on the battlefield, and now I'm even pumped for training. I'm practically keeping up with the young kids.
Operator Chard I wanna win too. I've always believed in what all the doctors are doing.
I wanna see my daughter, even if rationally, the odds are almost nothing. I'm still not gonna give up on them.
Noir Corne Hey, hey, that's the spirit! Good on you!
Rhodes Island always needs guys like us, after all. Is it our fault, really, we're not as strong, or we can hesitate, or we can get scared?
The Doctor told me to "defend your own position," and I did it. I've earned the pay, and I've earned the Doctor's trust.
And you were with Dr. Kal'tsit all the way to the end. You gonna tell me she chewed you out for it after coming back?
Operator Chard No. She... she actually commended me.
Noir Corne You see? Just like I said, right?
Operator Chard Yeah. I think you've actually helped me get past it a little.
But I still don't have the kind of good mentality you do. At the most, I won't hide behind a pillar next time I see the Doctor. Might even say hello by myself. See, you know, there's a whole lot of long-time ops who make the Doc sound mighty impressive.
We were on the same mission last time, sure... urp. But in the end, we didn't get to talk much.
Thinking about it, the Doctor sure as hell wouldn't remember me now... ugghhh...
Operator Barty Alright, Chard, I can safely say you're drunk again.
Noir Corne Lemme ease you up, buddy.
[Noir Corne pats at the drunken Chard's shoulders.]
Noir Corne Better?
Operator Chard Phew... yeah, better...
Noir Corne I just wanna say, it doesn't mean someone's difficult when they cover up their face. You know that looking at me, don't you?
You can see for yourself the way the Doctor is, now we're all off the battlefield.
Once you're familiar, you'll realize the Doctor's not much different from us. There's two eyes and a mouth in there, a slacker, someone who makes mistakes, who worries about the schedules of every single department on this landship every day.
Operator Dylan Yeah, now that you mention it, the Doc might be coming along on my next field mission soon!
That's a hell of a good chance. Right this moment, I'm even more curious about the Doctor than I am about what's under your mask, Noir!
Noir Corne Haha... that's good, yeah.
Operator Barty Are you okay, Chard? Should we keep going?
Operator Chard *cough*... Yeah, let's keep going. I'm much better now.
<Background fades out and in>
Operator Barty What's your hand?
Operator Dylan Straight flush, yuccas!
Looks like you've lost again, Noir!
Operator Barty If we keep drinking at this rate, we're gonna run the liquor cabinet dry. We need some different stakes.
Operator Dylan Then... if Noir loses again, he's gotta take his mask off!
Noir Corne Hey, hey, that's not gonna fly. It's not like I'm not willing, it's just you guys might be disappointed.
Operator Dylan Yeah, the more you deflect, the more curious I get! I've been so curious, I've even dreamt it in my nightmares...
Operator Chard What did you dream?
Operator Dylan Noir finally took off his mask, and underneath was another mask. And it was just one after another, kept going forever.
Operator Chard That's a nightmare for sure. I've got goosebumps now.
Noir Corne Oh yeah, that's a pretty solid dream. I like it.
If I could put on a bunch of masks in one go, I wouldn't have to worry about which one to wear every morning.
Operator Dylan Come on, shatter the mystery, bro... I don't wanna dream about you every night!
Operator Barty Naughty, haunting Dylan's dreams. Looks like sometimes secrets are charming too.
Noir Corne I'm not kidding you guys, I don't have much of a secret. If you actually wanna look, I can–
Operator Dylan Uh, nah!
Noir, you just stay as you are, bro, I think that's best. I'm worried you'd throw me for a loop if you actually had the mask off.
Operator Barty So, same as always, then?
Noir Corne Man, you guys. You wanna hear me tell stories again?
Operator Dylan C'mon, bring it on! Your stories are the best part of playing cards.
Noir Corne Hm, lemme think. Last time we got to...
Operator Chard It was a rainy evening, and a mom and her kid were hiding in a... ruined temple? Then an Oni ran into them.
Operator Dylan Wow, Chard, that's a killer memory you've got! Yeah, it was all like a scary movie. Then what happened?
Noir Corne –The Oni was there to kill.
Operator Dylan Kill? And I thought the Oni'd be a good guy.
Noir Corne Right then, he was just an Oni someone told to go killing, so he went killing.
Operator Dylan Sounds like he's got it pretty tough...
Noir Corne The Oni knocked the mom out, but when he had the daughter nabbed, it hit him she was just seven or eight, scared so bad she couldn't even scream.
The Oni thought to himself, "it's for the mission, that's how it is," getting ready to slaughter her.
That's when he noticed his strike being blocked by a blade.
Operator Dylan That's cool!
Noir Corne Yeah, it was real cool, even I thought so. Uh, I mean, the Oni in the story thought so.
The light off that blade was real bright that night. The Oni couldn't help but fall back a little.
Operator Dylan I get it, this was the hero coming to save the mom and kid, right?
Noir Corne Ha, the Oni was thinking that too.
He reckoned, if he couldn't win the fight, then forget it. Not like he was interested in killing anyone anyway. Act like he got hurt, treat the mission as a failure, and it's not like anyone would give him a hard time for it.
Only then did the Oni realize... the one who blocked his attack was another Oni.
Operator Dylan Huh? Why'd that Oni come save the family, then?
Noir Corne At the time, he couldn't figure it out either. The weirdest thing was, seemed the other Oni was a whole other clan's lackey. Her head and his head were both out for the same thing, that girl's life.
Operator Chard Seriously? She held you off just so she could get her own kill?
Noir Corne The Oni guessed the same thing. He threw some hands with the other Oni, which led him to realize she actually wanted to save the kid.
So he asked her, what is it you wanna do?!
And she told him, she didn't wanna do anything. She just didn't wanna hurt another innocent person.
That stunned the Oni. He never once figured that was an option they could take.
Operator Barty Hey, sounds like he was a nice, soft guy... uh, soft Oni.
Noir Corne Yeah. He decided then and there, he'd let the girl go.
Operator Dylan Because he was moved by the other Oni?
Noir Corne Ha... and maybe because he wasn't a match for her.
Operator Barty Giving up the mission yourself, that amounts to desertion. The powers on both their sides wouldn't let a traitor off easy, would they?
Noir Corne Yeah, so he came to the conclusion, he could only desert with the other Oni.
Operator Dylan Man, fleeing together to the ends of the world! This turned from a horror story into a romance story.
Noir Corne It wasn't that romantic, was it? Trying to run away's not an easy thing... they got hurt together, they fell ill together. Had more than a couple close scrapes with death.
Not to mention, the other Oni couldn't stand being in sunlight. And nowhere's quick to trust you when you're always wearing a mask.
The Oni was obsessed, because masks were obviously pretty sweet, so he spent some crazy effort getting a whole pile of them.
Operator Dylan A pile of masks?
Noir Corne Yeah, that was hard-earned as hell. Every mask was passed down by a different clan for a millennium, and had secret powers unbeknownst to anyone...
Operator Barty This is getting wilder by the second.
Operator Dylan What kind of secret powers is a mask gonna have?
Noir Corne For example, you wear it and you're unaging and immortal. You get a huge strength boost or something.
Yeah, take that day, for instance. The Oni got his hands on the most fearsome mask of them all, and it came at a huge price. Almost cost him his life.
The other Oni was worried as hell for him. With all the guys chasing him, he did what he could in the moment, and put the mask straight on!
And in that instant, sand and stone came flying up, and every last enemy went pale–
And the Oni yelled in this huge voice, "I've broken the limits!"
And then in a huge blast of spiritual energy, he sent every last bad guy packing.
Operator Dylan Huh? What? That's way too sloppy for an ending! C'mon, Noir, every time you finish up, your stories just get more and more bizarre...
Noir Corne Well, hey, looks like I won, huh?
Operator Dylan Huuuh?! I got way too absorbed in the story...
Operator Chard Same here...
Operator Barty Same all around, huh.
Operator Dylan I see how it is! This is your special technique, isn't it, Noir?
Noir Corne Hey, hey, it's more effective than trying to bluff people out.
Operator Dylan Augh, I still wanna hear more stories about the two Oni...
The one from before with the Oni challenging ten generals in a row on the night of a snowstorm, that was amazing!
Noir Corne Yeah, we'll leave it for next time. Looks to me like Chard's eyes are almost gluing shut.
When you're out from your field mission, then we can go for drinks again.
<Background fades out and in>
[Noir Corne notices the Doctor visiting the bar.]
Noir Corne Hey, that's the Doctor, isn't it?
Operator Dylan What? I was just staring at the cards–I didn't even notice!
Must've heard everything we were just talking about...
Operator Chard I... *cough* *cough* *cough*... I feel dizzy as hell...
Operator Barty Too late to act drunk, Chard.
Noir Corne Doctor, I never imagined you'd drop in at the bar.
Doctor Amiya suggested I come over and relax. / ...... / Is my camouflage module on the fritz?
Operator Chard Whaddaya nudging me for, you guys...
*cough*... Doctor, been ages since... uh, good evening!
*huff*...
Doctor Good evening, Operators Chard, Dylan, Barty, Noir Corne.
Operator Chard Doctor, you... you actually remember all our names?!
Noir Corne Your memory's still as good as ever, Doctor.
Getting into your mountain of paperwork, and remembering all our personnel's names on top of that, it's not easy. Doctor, watch you don't get worn out.
Doctor It's just what I ought to do. / ...... / PRTS helps me out.
Operator Barty Doctor, we're about to pack up right now. We'll give you some peace and quiet.
Operator Dylan Uh-huh. Doctor, see you on the field mission!
We're out, Chard, what are you stuck to the ground for?
Operator Chard Huh? Yeah... *cough*, see you, Doctor.
[Barty, Chard, and Dylan leaves.]
Noir Corne Doctor, you don't mind if I sit down here, right?
Just now, we were meeting up after work, drinking and shooting the breeze. Must've been a comedy show for you.
They still don't really know what to make of you. But I know it well. You're fun, interesting, and a real good person.
It's your command, y'know, that lets guys like me find their proper position in a scene all tossed about head to tail.
And my position–is right here.
Doctor You eat char-grilled sandworm leg? / Want some spicy cactus jerky?
Noir Corne I'll go for anything. It's all tasty.
How about a drink with me, Doctor? A glass every now and then's no big deal.