Zima: Burning on a Winter Night

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Operator Record
Burning on a Winter Night
Zima icon.png

If not for this fire... No, there is no if.

Unlock conditions

  • Raise Zima to Elite 2 Level 60.
  • Have 200% Trust with Zima.
Characters
Reserve Operator - Melee icon.png
Defender Operator (Lucci)
Bounty Hunter A icon.png
Indifferent Bandit (Danill)
Old Ursine Man icon.png
Old Man
Reserve Operator - Caster icon.png
Rhodes Island Operator A
RI Operator icon.png
Rhodes Island Operator B
Reserve Operator - Sniper icon.png
Sniper Operator (Seanson)
Bounty Hunter A icon.png
Surly Bandit
Ursine Villager icon.png
Villager
Old Villager
Young Villager
Backgrounds
RI Corridor
1
RI Training Compound
2
Cold Forest
3
RI Room
4
RI Bridge
5
Tundra
6
Snowy Village Burning
7
Zima is assigned to captain a Rhodes Island advance squad. At around this time, she announces a major decision to the other members of the Ursus Student Self-governing Group.
<Background 1>
[Zima knocks the door, but nobody answers.]
Zima ...
(Lada's... not here either?)
(She sure has been busy lately.)
Mousse C-Captain!
Zima Hm? Oh, hey, Mousse.
You did nice in that last combat drill.
Mousse Heheh. I went through Leto's brutal training course, after all.
Zima Huh? Rosalind?
Mousse Mm-hm! When the new squad rosters were posted, I saw you were my captain... I remembered the two of you were best friends, so I went and asked her how best to work with you in battle.
She agreed to train with me straight away! And she taught me this little trick for when I fight alongside you...
Zima What's the trick?
Mousse She said, "If Sonya heads up, just head up with her!"
Zima That dumbass... Grrr... I was wondering why I couldn't even find her. She was training with you, huh?
Mousse No, not just me... there's been a lot of operators fighting for the chance to train with her.
And the way it's been as of late, once she's in the training room, she spends the whole day there... *sigh* I wonder when I'll ever have energy as exuberant as her?
Zima ...
<Background fades out and in>
Rhodes Island Operator A Jeez, you don't see that every day.
I've never seen a newbie like that. Fresh transfer from Logistics to the front line, if you could believe it.
Bored clean through a solid steel plate with that custom crossbow she's got... I'm sweating here!
Rhodes Island Operator B That's not even the scariest part... did you hear? Stormeye was talking up the newbie hard during combat drills. A first for him.
Zima ...
(Is that Natalya they're talking about? No way.)
(Not like that should be surprising. Weird. The hell am I feeling...?)
(Shouldn't I be happy for her?)
(Whatever, this sucks... Guess I'll take a look. Should just about be there.)
[Zima knocks the door.]
Zima ...
(Is that voices from inside? Sounds like a lotta people...)
[Zima knocks the door again.]
??? Huh? Is someone at the door?
Allow me, Royal Detective, to get to the bottom of this.
[The door opens...]
Zima ...
[...and May comes out.]
May ...
Z... Zima! I assume you're here for Istina?
She's... currently sharing her thoughts on A Winter Campfire with us! This book right here!
I'll bring her over!
Zima W–Wait, no, no need...
Not like it's anything important. I'll just come back a little later.
[May closes the door.]
Zima ...
*huff*.
<Background 2>
Five days later...
Zima ...
Maybe Rosalind's here?
[Zima looks around, but didn't find Leto.]
Zima Yeah, nope. Didn't think so.
Took me the whole morning just to fry one pirozhki. Still doesn't taste half as good as Lada's.
I went and borrowed A Winter Campfire from May. Should be able to finish reading it tonight.
And that black tea still tastes so bad I wanna die... but I get it now. Natalya's been relying on that weird mouthfeel to stay awake the whole time!
Nowadays...
[Zima hits a nearby punching bag.]
Zima ...
Life's simple... for us, the USSG. It should've been like this before, shouldn't it?
Nearl ...
Zima Uh... Nearl. You heard all that?
Whatever, perfect timing.
I'm not totally cool with the squad assignments. I think Istina, Leto and the rest would do better on a team with me.
Nearl Why?
Zima You... C'mon, you're messing around, right? We've always been a team.
Nearl Our squads at current are not based on whether its members come from the same place, or how deeply they know each other.
It is Rhodes Island strategic necessity. You're bound for the battlefield.
Our plans are made in the wake of the most responsible decisions, with full stock taken of our mission objectives, coupled with the best of every operator's individual abilities and team synergies.
Zima ...
How come you never seem to get pissed off?
Nearl ...
Zima, very soon you'll be leading a reorganized squad to carry out your mission.
You must remember: here and now, you are a team captain.
Zima Hmph... yeah, I hear that. "Captain."
So that's my new title, huh?
<Background 3>
Defender Operator Phew... oof, it gets real cold here at night...
Captain, you want a smoke? Warm yourself up?
I mean... I assume you're old enough?
Zima I don't smoke.
Also, you wanna be careful.
Ursus gets real dry this time of year. One spark can catch the moment it hits grass.
Defender Operator Got it. Guess I won't smoke either.
Eesh... it's freezing... say, don't you guys think this mission's a little slow-going?
Do we really need this many hands looking for one shipment of lost meds?
Zima ...
Mousse I... I believe Nearl must have had strategical considerations in arranging for us to go!
Sniper Operator *sigh* Arrangements, my butt.
We're a bunch of rookies, we don't have any actual combat experience. What, are you hoping commander's about to send us on harder missions?
I'm just sad I didn't get put in the same squad as that one Medical girl I trained with. I was even gonna...
Defender Operator Wait! Guys, look...
There–There's fire that way!
Zima C'mon. We're gonna check it out.
<Background fades out and in>
[Zima and the squad walks toward a burnt encampment.]
Defender Operator O–Oh, jeez... this whole tent got burnt down...
Rhodes Island logo... this was one of our temp stations.
Mousse Are the airtight containers in there the missing medical supplies?
Zima Anna, compare those with the designs for Medical's pharms.
Mousse ...
Defender Operator ...
Sniper Operator Um... Captain, Istina's not in our squad...
Zima ...
Goddammit.
Defender Operator Captain, permission to speak freely, you've been kind of distracted this whole mission.
You, Istina and Rosa and the rest were one student group, right?
But we're a whole squad here. Didn't The Radiant Knight tell us to trust in our teammates out in the field?
Mousse Um...
Captain, I've made a rough check. That should be the lost shipment in the tent.
Sniper Operator It's gotta be! The packaging's the exact same as the stuff awaiting transit on the landship.
Defender Operator ...
Sniper Operator Let's go, c'mon, everyone ease up! Let's bring the spoils of victory home... Who knew it'd be this easy!
Zima Wa... Hey, wait!
[Suddenly the R.I. sniper is shot in the arm...]
Sniper Operator Geugh...
[...as bandits show up and the sniper draws out his bow.]
Sniper Operator Wh–Who are you guys? Get outta my way!
Surly Bandit No more funny business!
Last one was your arm. The next one's aimed at your head if you try anything!
Zima ...
Who the hell are you people?
Indifferent Bandit No comment.
Drop your meds, your equipment, and any other valuables you have right here, and we'll let him go.
Bratany![note 1]
[More bandits join in.]
Sniper Operator Captain...
Zima Ugh.
Seanson, you hold steady.
Seanson Huh? Captain, don't do anything rash...
Zima Mousse! We're going in!
Mousse R–Roger!
[Zima and Mousse fights off the bandits, easily taking them down.]
Surly Bandit Gargh!
Indifferent Bandit Ugh...
Zima Hey, kid.
You're their boss, aren't you?
Indifferent Bandit ...
Zima Speak!
Indifferent Bandit ...
Mousse He's passed out.
Zima Hmph. Guess he couldn't take a beating.
Seanson, you okay?
Seanson I'm surprised you remember my name, Captain.
Zima ...
Seanson It's okay, my wounds aren't deep... I can do some simple first-aid on myself...
Swear my heart was about to leap out of my mouth, though.
I don't think I'm fit for the battlefield... I need to hand in an application to command later, see if I can't get transferred to Logistics or Medical.
Zima Coward.
Lucci, how are things in the tent?
Lucci I gave a search. Those supply boxes are definitely Rhodes Island's, without a doubt.
But they're all empty inside! The pharmaceuticals are gone!
Zima ...
Dammit! Wake up, you dumbass! Quit playing dead!
Zima seizes the bandit leader by the scruff and tosses him to and fro–vigorously enough to throw the goods in his pockets all across the floor.
Mousse Is... Is that... a Peterheim Middle School... student ID?
<Background 4>
[The bandit wakes up in Zima's room.]
Indifferent Bandit ...
Where am I...?
Zima Morning, bozo.
Indifferent Bandit Y–You were in the forest... Where are we? What are you doing with me? Where are my bratany?
Zima 20 Questions the second you wake up, huh? You're a pain in the ass.
We brought you back, gave you a checkup, put you on energy supplements for your malnutrition, and got you permission to stay in a dorm. Feel free not to thank us, I guess, but–
At least show a little respect?
Daniil.
Indifferent Bandit ...
Daniil How do you know my name...?
Zima Your student ID.
Didn't think I'd run into a schoolmate in some crappy forest all the way out there.
You don't know me?
Daniil ...
General Zima? I didn't even recognize you.
Zima ...
Alright, whatever, you remember me. That makes this a lot simpler.
I've got one question, that's it.
The medical stuff. Where did it go?
Daniil ...
I sold it.
Zima You sold it? Then where's the money?
Daniil ...Spent it all.
Zima Are you serious?
Daniil ...
Zima You dickhead... If only I knew you'd pull this shit. Should've let those noble kids beat on you longer.
Okay. You sold it. So tell me about your buyer, your broker, and the amount of money your stolen goods got, and don't miss a single thing.
You need to understand–Rhodes Island might be housing you for now, but if you don't cooperate, we can just hand you over to the Ursus police.
Daniil ...
Daniil I must be dreaming. General Zima using "I'll sic the police on you" to threaten me... It looks like everyone's changed since Chernobog.
General Zima... no, Sonya. I would've probably done as you told me if we were back in Peterheim.
I had no choice there, after all. It was either follow you, or beg those noble shitstains for forgiveness as they kicked me about.
Zima Who says you can't follow me now? You'll be part of the USSG until whenever.
This is Rhodes Island. It was Rhodes Island that sheltered us, and brought us out of Chernobog.
I don't actually know if you can join too... but I figure as long as you're wiling to work, it should be fine.
Daniil Hmph. The Ursus Student Self-governing Group, was it? What a nostalgic name.
Zima ...
Daniil If Anna's here too, then why wasn't she with you out there? Those two bratany in your squad probably don't have half the brain cells combined that Anna did.
Zima Grr. Those are my squaddies. I won't have you talking shit about them.
And Anna's... the group's got their own things to do.
Daniil Hmph, their own things. You weren't really thinking you could lead the USSG your whole life, were you?
If Rhodes Island is sheltering you, then they must have taken in Anna and the rest too.
So how could they have clung to your side forever, the way they were before?
Zima Ugh.
Of course they're not gonna be with me all the time, and that's for the best.
I never really planned for the future, anyway.
I used to think, if we all made it out of Chernobog... then no matter what the future brought, it couldn't be worse than that, could it?
Real talk, Rhodes Island is just fine to us now. We got used to life here, and we've all found our own thing to do.
For me, Peterheim's in the past. Same for the USSG.
<Flashback starts here>
<Background 5>
Five days ago...
Leto H–Huh? Disband?
You want to disband the USSG?
I'mma sniff a sec... doesn't smell sweet... you're not honey-drunk.
Wait, what's this crazy talk, then?!
Zima It's not crazy talk. It's my official decision.
Istina Sonya...
Natalya just got back. Didn't we agree to welcome her home together? To celebrate her achievements?
Even if you're of a mind to disband the USSG... now's not the time to bring that up, is it?
Zima No. Now's the perfect time.
Our group was founded on the idea that we'd support each other through those hellish days.
But now, we're out. All of us in the USSG have found stuff we'd rather put our energy into aboard Rhodes Island.
Like Natalya has. She started out not knowing how to fight at all, now she's posting great scores in combat drills... She's the best out of all of us, the way she's changed.
I used to worry I wouldn't make a decent leader... Maybe I've earned your trust and support after so long.
But that doesn't mean I can hold onto my position forever.
I used to be the USSG's leader, now I'm the captain of a Rhodes Island advance squad... and there's more possibilities out there for Sonya's future.
All of your futures.
Gummy ...
Um–I–still don't really get it.
How does it actually affect us if the Group disbands?
Zima ...
Gummy Even if the USSG's gone, the five of us will still be together, right?
Zima Lada, this is different. Don't you wanna be a great chef? And Anna says she wants to go study at university.
For our past selves, all of that was empty dreams. But now, we have better footing, and I think... no, I'm sure everyone's got a way better future in store.
We're gonna be more than just members of the Ursus Student Self-governing Group. We're all gonna better ourselves.
Rosa Well, I'm lost for words. Hats off to our leader.
I certainly never expected... that the first to leave the Ursus Student Self-governing Group would be you, of all people.
Zima It's not just me leaving, it's the USSG disbanding! You're all free now!
Rosa Sonya.
Is that how you've decided to resolve our futures?
<Background black>
??? I mean... I assume you're old enough?
Zima Urk...
??? So how could they have clung to your side forever, the way they were before?
Zima Urk...
??? How does it actually affect us if the Group disbands?
Zima Blughk–
She vomits, cleanly as could be.
Sonya, you know you're not omnipotent.
This is for the best for every single member of the USSG.
The water in the toilet basin becomes a whirlpool, like it's about to suck me in, pull me away from a life where they exist.
Right now, my future lies before me.
What should I do?
<Flashback ends here>
<Background 6>
Seanson Seriously... I thought we'd get to rest up for a while.
All we had was a few days back on the landship, and now they sent us out to a place like this.
Lucci It's way colder than last time.
Plus our captain still acts like she's got it all to win... Just kill me.
Seanson You think? She looks to me like she's just forcing herself along.
Actually, did you hear? That student group of theirs broke up!
Lucci Huh? Is she for real?
[Zima joins in.]
Zima What the hell are you two bitching about now?
Seanson Oh, Captain! No bitching here, none at all!
Zima Yeah, you're off the hook this time.
Lucci, pass me a smoke.
Lucci Captain, The Radiant Knight went out of her way to give me a warning.
I'm never gonna hand out smokes again. Don't hurt me for it.
Zima Ugh. Screw you, Nearl, stepping into my business.
Seanson Oh, yeah, uh, Captain...
Zima What?
Seanson Did Daniil really just tell you the village's location like that?
They hid that many medical supplies in this one village?
Zima It was Nearl who told me... Literally no idea how she got it out of Daniil, though.
But she's always going around all like 'just leave it to me,' so I'm not that surprised.
Lucci But is there really going to be an inhabited village... in a place this desolate?
Captain, you don't think The Radiant Knight's testing you, do you...?
Mousse L–Look!
Over there, I think that's an old man.
<Background fades out and in>
Zima ...
Old Man What could it be, youngster?
Fresh faces are seldom sighted, out here in this tundra.
Zima Is there a village around here?
Old Man ...
Do you see that hut over there? Go past it, and you'll find our village.
Zima You don't... uh, excuse me, but you wouldn't happen to know a Daniil, would you?
Old Man Daniil, eh...?
[A villager rushes in.]
Villager Chi–Chief! Trouble!
Old Man What is it?
Villager There's a fire in the village! It's about to reach the storehouse! All our food for the winter is in there!
<Background 7>
Mousse *pant*... *pant*... Captain Zima! We're done evacuating all villagers on the east side!
Seanson North side villager evacuation complete!
Lucci West and south villagers are all evacuated too!
Zima Got it. Mousse, you go double-check the headcount with the village chief. Then help them put out the fire. These villagers built their own houses, brick by brick, so every room you can save is a win.
Mousse R–Roger!
Zima Seanson, Lucci, with me. This next part of the job's gonna be tricky... We need to head into the storehouse, and get the medical supplies out.
Seanson What? So they were in the village!
Zima Yeah... I'll tell you the whole story after we're done here.
Seanson But... you're telling me it's all in there? Captain, that's not a small fire.
Zima I know, and this isn't an order.
If you don't want to go, I'll go by myself.
Lucci Captain, this isn't a want-to-or-not kind of scenario...
Young Villager Dedushka,[note 2] dedushka, will that bratan come back to help us?
Zima ...
Young Villager In the spring, he said he'd return by autumn.
And then autumn came and he did, don't you remember? And he harvested the grains with us.
Old Villager You silly little fool. That boy didn't say he'd come back in winter.
Young Villager No, he said he'd come back the next time we're out of rye bread.
But–but...
...Dedushka, weren't you just saying, we might not have bread to eat this winter?
So the bratan must be coming back soon!
Old Villager *sigh*...
Come, sweet child. Be good now, your babushka[note 3] is waiting for us over there.
Seanson & Lucci ...
Zima ...
Change of plans. We rescue the villagers' food first.
Seanson B–But, Captain, given the situation, these villagers could well be in cahoots with Daniil!
They stole our stuff, and we're going to help them?
Zima That's two different things... C'mon, you guys, with me.
Seanson & Lucci ...
Zima That's an order this time. And if we can't get the medical supplies thing squared off... I'll take the blame.
Say, how much grain do you figure could be left in there?
[A group of familiar people shows up.]
??? Given the present conflagration, the portion closest to the fire's origin is out of the question. Still, at least some of the outer portion should remain.
??? Hm? I don't think so~ There's still a chance for the inside part, it might just be a little overbaked!
??? After all that training, we finally get a shot at the real thing, huh? Move move move, girls, full steam ahead!
??? All else being equal, we've arrived in time. If we concert our efforts, perhaps we can still avert complete disaster.
Zima Y–You guys...
What are you doing here?
<Background fades out>
??? You! You idiot... Do you even know what you've done?
Sonya I...
It was an accident...
??? Save it! Quickly, with the water! Bring the water!
It's no use! This little water's barely enough!
Th–The fire's spreading too fast!
Sonya ...
??? Dammit... What are we waiting for, then?! Run!
Sonya N–No... This is our last reserve of food...!
??? Forget her! Let's run!
<Background fades in>
Istina Daniil left us a letter. He said you might need the USSG's help, Sonya.
After reading it, we went looking for Nearl. She told us the location of this village.
Zima ...
That dumbass, Daniil...
Rosa Belay it, Sonya. No more hesitance.
Leto The five of us should be plenty! What about those two, though?
Seanson Er...
Lucci W... We...
Seanson We'll go save the medical supplies!
Gummy Everyone, let's do this! After we're done, I'll make super-tasty grenki for all of us!
Istina Sonya. Let's go together.
<Background fades out>
Zima ...
Anna, you absolutely didn't need to come.
The USSG's already disbanded.
Istina Yes, by your personal statement. Being the initial proponent of the Group's establishment, shouldn't you solicit my view?
Not to mention those of Lada, Rosalind, and Natalya.
Zima Okay, so what are your views?
Istina We all object.
Zima ...
Istina I can more or less guess what your thinking ultimately was.
To be honest, I've been deliberating over the USSG's continuation myself...
If we never encountered Rhodes Island, our lives might now be much the same as Daniil's.
But you see, Sonya... even for all Rhodes Island gives us, it doesn't mean we must lose anything.
Zima We're not even in the same squad anymore.
Istina Come, help me out.
This bundle's quite the heavy load.
Zima ...
I'll carry this side. We need to hurry up.
Istina Sonya.
Zima What is it?
Istina We may not be in the same squad anymore, true, and I estimate we'll only be further split up in future, but...
At the very least, when you think to bear something alone, we'll come to your side like we are now...
Because we are eternal comrades.
<Background fades in>
Zima Weird...
I can't believe the five of us are still together.
And we're facing a fire, just like we did back then...
If not for this fire...
No, there is no if.
Even if this fire is already lit...
Still we will link our hands, sing and skip.
Still we will lift the same food one and all.
The frozen earth will thaw to loose soil.
No longer will the seed cling to the seed's false name.
Once the winter night is through, she will spark tender, small blossoms.

Notes

  1. Братаны; "Brothers" in Russian
  2. Дедушка; "Grandfather" or "Grandpa" in Russian
  3. Бабушка; "Grandmother" or "Granny" in Russian

See also