Sword and Scale

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Sword and Scale Beyond Here
Female Lungmenite icon.png
Ursine Infected icon.png
RI Operator icon.png
Masked Rhodes Island Operator
Lungmen Back Alley
After leaving Lungmen, Ch'en finds herself thinking about how she should conduct herself. And after witnessing the travails of a "criminal" in Columbia, she becomes that much more determined and sure of herself.
<Background 1>
[Ch'en is fighting an Infected fugitive.]
Ch'en —Stop!
That's as far as you go. You can stop running. The police will be here soon. It's all over.
[The fugitive resisted.]
Infected What, they sent you after me too? You said you were here on some mission from Rhodes Island, that they have doctors willing to take care of the Infected. So that was all lies, eh?
Old Tom warned us not to trust any outsiders. Hah, serves me right for not listening to him. I thought you had some integrity in you, not like those idiots that only look at people as dollars and cents. ...
And this is what I get. Guess I'm the idiot here!
Ch'en If that's what you want to believe, suit yourself, but I'm going to tell you this whether you believe me or not: I have nothing to do with the police out there.
Infected Then leave me here and go away!
Ch'en Sorry, I'm afraid I can't do that.
You threw a fit on your way to the police station, injured two guards and skipped town all in one night. With that rap sheet, I can't just let you go.
You have three squads looking for you. I just happened to find you before they did. The moment you step outside, they'll cuff you.
Out of all the cops on the hunt for you, I'm the only one who knows you're innocent.
Infected —Of course I am!
Those assholes want my head because I talked to that foreigner dude that died on the street. Just a conversation, and they're saying I killed him! It's bullshit!
"Evidence of Arts use found at the crime scene. Believed to be perpetuated by Infected..." My ass! If I could do that, they would all be dead! I can't do nothing! I can't even make fire!
Ch'en I can tell...
You don't have what it takes to kill an armed mercenary in broad daylight. That's why I'm standing here, talking to you.
You said you didn't kill anyone, and I believe you, but you attacked the police, injured others, and resisted arrest and ran away. You can't run away from these crimes.
Stop resisting. It won't do you any good. Columbia is much better than a lot of the places I've seen. I've been to court here. You have juries, and the public is allowed to watch.
You have a chance to defend yourself, and you can tell everyone what you've been through.
It may not be much, but the Infected at least have justice here...
<Background fades out>
Ch'en Amiya, I heard Columbia is a place with a sound, well-rounded legal system. There are judges, and prisons for the Infected. I want to visit, see it with my own eyes.
Amiya Of course, Madame Ch'en, you're free to go wherever you want. Actually, I would really like to see you visit all kinds of places.
Oh... I guess I shouldn't call you Madame anymore?
Ms. Ch'en? Huh, no need to be so respectful? But... O-Okay, then... Ch'en?
No, I don't think I can. It feels awkward calling you that...
Ahem, I digress. I don't know much about Columbia, and I'm sure you know more about its legal and criminal system than I do, so I won't go too much into that.
But there is one thing that I'm sure of.
You'll find people antagonizing and looking down on others wherever you are and no matter the circumstances.
It can happen between the Infected and the healthy. It can also happen between the rich and the poor. Sometimes it even happens just because someone drew an arbitrary boundary...
There will always be people trying to drive a wedge between themselves and others, to set themselves apart, to raise themselves up.
Please don't try to deny it just yet, Ms. Ch'en. I heard that there are a lot of Infected in Columbia. They're allowed to make a living as explorers, and some of them even got citizenship... I think there's hope in a life like that.
It's just, Ms. Chen, whether a place is good or bad is something we have to see and determine for ourselves. Ursus is a downright cruel place, but there are a lot of places that have only whitewashed their cruelty.
I haven't forgotten what you said that day at the control tower, Ms. Ch'en.
To treat everyone as equals and to judge everyone fairly... That's a beautiful thing, but I'm afraid it won't be easy.
No one has ever walked that path, so not only is there no one to point us in the right direction, we only have ourselves to count on as we slowly forge that path for ourselves.
I'm a little worried, Ms. Ch'en.
I'm afraid you'll be disappointed.
<Background fades in>
Infected What dogshit justice is that?! In your dreams, maybe!
Who would even listen to me defend myself? Has anyone ever been taken to court who didn't end up crying a river about how they're innocent?!
The moment they catch you, they throw you in a wooden box, like a fowl in a cage. Then, they choke you and cut open your stomach to let everyone see if you're really rotten in the inside!
You know how much money those old shitbags on the jury spend to hire people to yell on the street, "The Infected panhandlers are mooching off the city, emptying our pockets?!"
What would you know? You just got here!
Ch'en I...
No. No.
Perhaps I don't know this place that well yet, but I understand the mechanisms of state violence.
I left my country because I was disappointed in all that. I knew what exactly had gone numb or even gone rotten there.
But I understand that if this power can't keep society stable, if everyone can challenge the order protected by state violence, then what will happen thereon will be far more horrifying.
That's why... I can't let you run away like this.
At least not while the whole city knows a criminal is on the run, having attacked the police.
Infected ......
You aren't going to let me go, and I sure as hell can't beat you in a fight. Fine, guess luck's not on my side.
Ch'en I'm not going to feel sorry about this.
I would do the same thing even if someone else were standing where you stand right now.
Infected *Spit*.
Ch'en I'm not joking.
But if you are really telling the truth and you're wrongly accused, I'll do something about that.
I just hope things don't really go there...
Infected This is how it is.
You're an Infected, and you don't have any money. That's all you can do.
All the Infected who come here are either rotting away in a tin box or risking their lives in the wilderness. Everyone who can still walk is out there.
Li'l Pierre, Tom, and Dumb Mars. One by one, they were all carted away, and none of them ever came back.
Ch'en ......
Infected You remember Old Tom? The guy who was always talking behind your back.
Ch'en How could I forget? On the first day I came to your block, he tried to dupe me into giving him the bracelet I was wearing. I taught him a lesson, but he just didn't seem to care.
Infected He's not above holding a grudge. We all thought you weren't gonna be able to hang around for much longer, having gotten on his bad side.
Ch'en Clearly I'm not the pushover you all thought me to be.
Infected That's right. It didn't take long for everyone to learn not to cross you.
You wiped the floor with Tom, but you didn't kill him. We've all wanted him to quiet down for a while
Everyone knew he was up to no good. Stealing, conning, you name it. He's done it all. As long as it gets his granddaughter a dress or some jewelry, he's gonna do it.
That beautiful granddaughter of hers got his money and dresses, and took the plunge with some rich guy in the city right away. And what did he get for his troubles? She told him to never step inside her house, lest he get mud all over the place.
Ch'en I should've taken him in to the cops the moment I got here.
Infected Right, I wanted to ask. How long has it been since the last time you saw him?
Ch'en Two weeks. Maybe a little longer.
Wait a minute, why are you bringing this up?
—What happened to him?!
<Background fades out>
Ch'en Amiya, if I spend my entire life looking for a place like that, a place where everyone is judged equally, to no avail...
Then how should I approach those who have undeniably committed crimes but were raised in those places of injustice?
Rhodes Island can lock these men up as a temporary measure, but what will happen to them in the end?
I can hand down punishments to the evil, I can sing the praises of the good, and I can stop any unjust lynchings before they happen. I have the power to do that. There is much that I am willing to give up to achieve the justice I seek. And, to that end, I am willing to do anything.
But I will still have to ask myself: Do I have the right to do that?
Who has the right to determine if another person is guilty?
Rosmontis Amiya isn't here. I'll answer for her.
Amiya will tell you, "No one can judge another person." I know she'll say that. Dr. Kal'tsit always says that, too.
They're really good people. They don't lie to me. l trust them.
But I... I also know a group of good, big guys. We fought together and beat the bad guys. They trust me, and I trust them too.
I think the things they told me are right. If you are up against a baddie who has done something wrong, and you can tell that they did, that means they are guilty. Those who are guilty should be punished.
What's bothering you, Ch'en? It's okay, you're my family now. Family should always help each other out, so I'll help you if you can't bring yourself to do it.
I will stop injustice. I will stop anyone who wants to take family from anyone else.
If their crimes aren't serious enough to warrant death but someone else wants them dead, I will stop them. I will stop anyone that wants to kill, and I will punish all the bad guys. Whatever bad things they did, I will punish them the same way.
If they robbed someone else, I will beat them up. If they hurt someone, I will cut off the hand they used to hurt them.
What do you think? That will take care of everything, won't it?
I will do my best to grow up to become someone who can properly determine whether a person is good or bad. I will be the judge.
<Background fades in>
[Angered, Ch'en strikes a nearby tree with her Chi Xiao.]
Ch'en What did you say—?
Tell me what you just said one more time!
Infected Like I said—He's dead!
He died a long time ago! The old man pissed off the wrong people, and they dragged his ass back to their place. He wasn't gonna hand them no money, so they beat his ass up before he even said anything. You know how old he was. He wasn't gonna survive more than a few days.
Ch'en He was lynched, and none of you cared?!
Infected Shit, you think any of us gives a shit about someone like Tom?
He wanted to see his granddaughter just once, and he never got the chance before he was killed either. His granddaughter stopped talking to him long ago. All the money he scammed off people, he sent it all to her, but he never heard anything back.
I tell you, the only reason they don't bother you is cause they still have a use for you, because you can still make money! The rest of us have to watch every single word we say if we don't want to end up six feet under.
Murder is a crime, yeah, but I'll tell you this: no one's going to cross those guys all because some broke ass old man died.
If someone really wants your head, it's not going to take them a whole lot more work than flicking away a speck of dust. They have all kinds of justifications on their side.
You hear all that noise out there? They're here for me. This is where it all ends!
You won't die. I know you didn't kill anyone. I won't stand aside if the punishment you're given is unfair. I'll help you.
Infected Easy for you to say! Look at this! How are you going to get me out this?
You're literally standing between me and my only way out!
Ch'en I'll find a way.
Trust me. I won't let you die.
No one should be given punishment disproportionate to what they have done. If anyone thinks otherwise, they are wrong.
That's why I'll right that wrong, starting right here.
This is the only thing I can do right now.
<Background black>
Ch'en I've always wondered how I should go about this.
In the beginning, I used to think that Rhodes Island's ideals were too immature and naive. Not exactly bad, but very difficult to accomplish.
But looking back, I've come to realize that I'm not actually all that different compared to you people.
Amiya, you told me no one can ever show me the way. I think you were right. I realized that long ago, and I prepared myself for it.
That said... if all I can ever rely on is my strength, my enthusiasm, and my sword, then can I only ever change that which is within reach of my sword?
Wei said it again and again: no regrets.
Whether it was my trip to the core city or my decision to leave Lungmen...
I never regretted making those decisions.
Perhaps the path that Wei had arranged for me was the best option, but I didn't want to go down that route. I couldn't have. It would only torment me.
I'm nervous.
Someone out there had told her—with actions, not words—that there are some ideals that won't ever come true even if you spend an entire lifetime working toward them. Yet even though they will never be realized, you must still work toward them.
She's right. She's gone ahead and done it, too.
I, too, will do the things that I have to do. I said this before. This isn't an ideal; it's just my job. It's something that I have a responsibility to see through.
Ever since that incident, I've always wondered just what it is I'm supposed to do. I still don't have the answer. I can only do what I can, but...
I'm very glad that Rhodes Island is walking this path with me.
<Background 2>
Clerk Okay, all done.
You guys always finish your missions so quickly...! It hasn't even been a week this time, but you're all done already!
Ch'en There's a deadline on the contract; just trying to get it over with as soon as possible.
Clerk That's amazing!
Here's your mission lists, one for each person.
Ch'en Thanks.
And right, we've got a new hire on our team. Here's his application form. Think you can issue the credentials for him?
Clerk Hm? New blood on the team?
Ch'en It was a sudden decision, so I wasn't able to let you know ahead of time. Sorry, this is my fault.
Clerk Oh, it's no problem. Give me a minute. I need to get a new form.
Oh, could you pass on some good news to Amiya for me?
Ch'en What is it?
Clerk The prophylactics you guys promoted last time got some really good feedback. If you can manage to keep the price low enough, I think it'll find a decent footing in the market.
If you guys can do that, I'm sure we'll send sales through the roof!
Ch'en That does sound like good news. I'm sure Amiya will be happy to hear that.
If the sales volume gets any bigger, though, we'll need to deliver the medicine here straight from Rhodes Island... Hm, I'll let Amiya know right away.
Clerk Haha, that sounds wonderful. I haven't seen Amiya in so long!
Ch'en Are you two... acquainted?
Clerk We know each other pretty well! I study medicine, and I used to intern on the ship. I really missed home, though, so I talked to Dr. Kal'tsit about it, and I came back here.
It's not bad. Once I make a little more money, I'll have saved up enough to start a clinic with my friends.
Ch'en Good luck to you.
Clerk Thanks. Don't forget, if any operators get hurt during their missions, just come to me for help. I'll patch them right up!
Alright, I guess I'll head home.
Ch'en Sure, I'll walk you back.
Clerk Oh, don't worry yourself about me. I'll be alright. You be careful on the road, Ms. Ch'en!
There was that murder that happened the other day. That was super creepy, wasn't it...? By the way, I'm not sure if you've heard, but there's actually a pretty interesting followup to the whole thing.
Ch'en Oh?
Clerk Everyone's talking about it. I heard they'd caught someone from the Infected zone at first, but somehow the actual killer turned himself in to the cops not even two days after that, so they ended up letting the first guy go.
I don't buy it, though. That's definitely not the entire story.
Ch'en Why is that?
Clerk Well... this stays right here, Ms. Ch'en. Don't let anyone else know!
Ch'en Alright, I'll keep it a secret.
Clerk I have a relative who works at the police station, so this is insider information. I heard the actual killer didn't turn himself in. A mysterious person had caught him and left him in front of the station with evidence!
Can you imagine that? Something like that happening in this day and age?
Ch'en Haha, that does sound really bizarre.
Clerk Right?! I even heard the tabloids are going to give this man of mystery a name!
The Bad Samaritan! The Punisher Outside the System! The Hero of Poetic Justice! There's so many of them, and they all sound so cool!
Ch'en ......
Cool? I'm not sure I agree.
Clerk Oh?
Ch'en If the local police didn't catch the wrong guy, they wouldn't have needed someone else to come out and do their job.
I'd rather society have no place for these vigilantes.
Clerk I guess you're right...
[An R.I. operative wearing a mask – highly implied to be the fugitive from earlier — approaches Ch'en.]
Masked Rhodes Island Operator I've got everything packed up. Let's get going.
Ch'en Roger that.
Is that all you're bringing with you? You may not be able to bring everything, but you can still take a few souvenirs.
Masked Rhodes Island Operator I'm good.
I don't have much to commemorate here.
It's better if I start all over...
Ch'en Alright.
Let's go, then.
<Background black>
Ch'en Amiya, I know there will be lots of difficulties on the way there, and I am bound to be disappointed in all sorts of things.
But I also know that I won't stop. I will keep charging down my path.