1. Due to issues with external spam filters, QQ is currently unable to send any mail to Microsoft E-mail addresses. This includes any account at live.com, hotmail.com or msn.com. Signing up to the forum with one of these addresses will result in your verification E-mail never arriving. For best results, please use a different E-mail provider for your QQ address.
    Dismiss Notice
  2. For prospective new members, a word of warning: don't use common names like Dennis, Simon, or Kenny if you decide to create an account. Spammers have used them all before you and gotten those names flagged in the anti-spam databases. Your account registration will be rejected because of it.
    Dismiss Notice
  3. Since it has happened MULTIPLE times now, I want to be very clear about this. You do not get to abandon an account and create a new one. You do not get to pass an account to someone else and create a new one. If you do so anyway, you will be banned for creating sockpuppets.
    Dismiss Notice
  4. If you wish to change your username, please ask via conversation to tehelgee instead of asking via my profile. I'd like to not clutter it up with such requests.
    Dismiss Notice
  5. Due to the actions of particularly persistent spammers and trolls, we will be banning disposable email addresses from today onward.
    Dismiss Notice
  6. A note about the current Ukraine situation: Discussion of it is still prohibited as per Rule 8
    Dismiss Notice
  7. The rules regarding NSFW links have been updated. See here for details.
    Dismiss Notice

Extended Business Trip [Arknights/Youjo Senki (Manga)]

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by NTR Commissar, Aug 28, 2022.

Loading...
  1. NTR Commissar

    NTR Commissar Recreational RACIST

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2016
    Messages:
    130
    Likes Received:
    1,583
    My American friends kept trying to change ‘pot plants’ to ‘potted plants’. I doubled down and added more instances of ‘pot plants’.
    Thank you! That was my favourite part.
    Yeah, it's a struggle for me too lol.

    Also, her personality seems to partially depend on the specific adaptation (novel/comic/cartoon), so depending on which one the author is taking most from, you can get wildly different fanfiction voices.

    I think the more militant 'rarr rarr, low-patience belligerent Tanya' fics are from people who liked the anime the most, but the kind of character you can extrapolate from that is wildly different to the godawful light novel rambling that is novel Tanya.

    So, being a Youjo Senki fanfiction, you probably already guessed, but Amiya really is kind and idealistic. Rhodes Island does have some shady history, but I'm 99.9% sure it's not working as a wetworks outfit for the Brinley Group lol.

    One of the races on Terra is the Sarkaz. Basically they're based off of demons, and have subraces ranging from vampires, through gargoyles, to banshees. Nobody really likes them because a gorillion years ago they tried to conquer the world under their demon king, and their mortal enemies, the Sankta (angels) also run one of the largest religions in the world. Worse yet, they have a reputation for using all sorts of terrifying hereditary Arts (witchcraft), and they're also very prone to catching Oripathy.

    Long story short, the nation of the Sarkaz, 'Kazdel', has risen and fallen multiple times throughout Terra's long history. Part of that is due to the strong influence the leaders of each Sarkaz subrace holds, and part of that is due to external forces that would rather not see Kazdel rise again.

    Most recently, Kazdel was reformed again under Queen Theresa. Some stuff happened, her brother and general Theresis staged a coup, a loyalist organisation called Babel tried to stop him, but Queen Theresa ultimately died. A scant few years later, the remnants of Babel reorganised around Theresa's heir, Amiya, into a pharmaceutical company named Rhodes Island.

    No, an AI drew that. I do have a commissioned artwork though. It's just very big, so I wasn't sure I wanted to post it on Ao3. Err, I'll post it here.

    QQ is behind FF. I'm keeping it one chapter behind, since even though I have the next three 'arcs' roughly planned out, I keep having to go back to previous chapters and stealth-changing things. The worst affected is usually whichever the latest published one is.
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2022
  2. Extras: Tanja by C4T
    NTR Commissar

    NTR Commissar Recreational RACIST

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2016
    Messages:
    130
    Likes Received:
    1,583
    [​IMG]
    The eye-colour is a little purplish, but that's my fault due to the references I provided lol.
     
  3. KingOfWonderland

    KingOfWonderland Umbra|SmutConnoisseur

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2020
    Messages:
    101
    Likes Received:
    893
    Awesome update. I also just noted that this is what the title is actually implying. The business trip has gotten a whooooole lot longer in the funniest sense imaginable. What a great boss! Allows our Tanja to live out their dream of climbing the corporate ladder while still pushing her into active combat zones. Honestly, that's the best of all worlds for her, huh? heeheehee

    Also, those Tanja commissions are cute as hell
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2022
  4. Renko

    Renko Demon Lord of the Sixth Heaven ~☆

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2018
    Messages:
    5,493
    Likes Received:
    54,840
    Anyone here disappointed that she's not wearing a tiny miniskirt?

    Also it would have been better if Tanja also have some gloves on. It's way more cooler that way!

    :V
     
  5. AldariSiradla

    AldariSiradla Spirit Boy, Police Girl

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2018
    Messages:
    1,440
    Likes Received:
    9,983
    It always tickles my funny seeing Tanya...Tanya her way to success.
    Yes, suffering from success...
    Ah, watched.
     
    Zreader and NTR Commissar like this.
  6. NTR Commissar

    NTR Commissar Recreational RACIST

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2016
    Messages:
    130
    Likes Received:
    1,583
    It's based off his indoor outfit, so no gloves and no coat.

    [​IMG]
    Have you ever tried wearing a skirt? They're very breezy.
     
  7. Renko

    Renko Demon Lord of the Sixth Heaven ~☆

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2018
    Messages:
    5,493
    Likes Received:
    54,840
    But she's now living in the world of Arknights!

    The least thing that she could do is be cool and fashionable! Have you seen the freakin' character designs? The image doesn't even reflect that!

    That's why I suggested the gloves! I want her to have more drip!



    :cool:
     
  8. NTR Commissar

    NTR Commissar Recreational RACIST

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2016
    Messages:
    130
    Likes Received:
    1,583
    Bro, she's an office worker. This is what office workers in Arknights look like:

    [​IMG]

    You don't get gloves or capes or whatever unless you're an office worker who is also a priest, or a fallen aristocrat or something. Or you're outside and it's really cold.
     
  9. Renko

    Renko Demon Lord of the Sixth Heaven ~☆

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2018
    Messages:
    5,493
    Likes Received:
    54,840
    Zreader and Pethrai D’arkos like this.
  10. Gremlin Jack

    Gremlin Jack I trust you know where the happy button is?

    Joined:
    May 21, 2015
    Messages:
    603
    Likes Received:
    13,671
    I dunno, once he got it out of his system, he seemed to calm down pretty quick. I'd say it's more an expression of how much he trusts Tanja that he can feel secure in letting himself go like this in front of her. I seriously doubt he'd have made it to his current position without some self-control.
    Lol, I laughed at that one. This is the person who in webnovel canon went on to become a private mercenary. Tanya can always take risks if the rewards are worth it.
     
    Al_CoffeeCat, AshCrow, Reou and 7 others like this.
  11. NTR Commissar

    NTR Commissar Recreational RACIST

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2016
    Messages:
    130
    Likes Received:
    1,583
    She is definitely not typing on keyboards wearing those gloves, let me tell you that.

    Also that's Keqing. She's not even from Arknights! Neither is her clothing! :mad:
     
    boredbird and Reou like this.
  12. impulsiveLurker

    impulsiveLurker Getting sticky.

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2016
    Messages:
    74
    Likes Received:
    1,207
    He vaguely reminded me of Leonardo Dicaprio's boss in Wolf of Wall Street. Or at least the bits of personality that I remember.

    He comes off as hedonistic, emotional, pretty amoral, but also decisive and willing to go with his gut feelings. And it seems like he cares about Tanja, in his own way. Like he was considering her as his 'successor' for when he got promoted or retired.
     
    AshCrow, Reou, Zreader and 2 others like this.
  13. Threadmarks: Chapter 6: 有錢都冇命享
    NTR Commissar

    NTR Commissar Recreational RACIST

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2016
    Messages:
    130
    Likes Received:
    1,583
    Note: So, next chapter's only half done, but I figure I may as well put a pin in publishing anything else for this story for the moment. The anime airs a week from now, while the official Episode 10 translations are dropping, like, tomorrow. The anime covers the Chernobog incident in greater detail than in-game, while Episode 10 covers the Londinium occupation and resistance, so both will probably mean a bunch of rewriting.




    I figured I may as well repost Chapter 6 now and work out what I have to do later.




    In my hands I held a box that contained my personal belongings. I didn't keep much in my office: a pot plant, my framed credentials, a stack of business cards, and the designer office chair I was standing next to.

    A pair of pedestrians walked past, staring at me as they went. I suppose I must have looked like I'd just been laid off. That might have been better than the reality, honestly.

    While I think I could have argued for the continued use of my office, realistically nobody would want to see me roaming around and contaminating their headquarters, nor would I have much reason to be in Lungmen in the future. Who knew where the Rhodes Island landship would take me? That was why I was standing here on the curb with all my things.

    A few minutes ago, I called for a VanVanGO to pick me up. They were a cheap provider of moving services, and offered transport services as well. Most of my plans for the future had just been upended in Qiying's office, so I wasn't sure what I'd be doing afterwards, but at least the items at the top of my to-do list hadn’t changed. I was still an Infected whose listed address was outside the accepted blocks. Getting my affairs in Lungmen sorted was no less necessary than before.

    Just as I was contemplating sacrificing my dignity by sitting on the chair, my ride pulled up in the drop-off zone. A middle-aged man hopped out from the driver’s seat. One Mr. Qin, according to his ID. It must have been difficult to mistake me for anybody else, since I was the only person on the road standing with a designer chair. I was the only one here with any chair, really. Without a word, he opened up the back of his van and picked it up.

    "Thank you," I said.

    "M'sai haak hei," he replied with a grunt.

    I got in the back while he strapped the chair in, before slamming the back doors shut.

    The interior of his van was surprisingly clean and comfortable. He'd obviously put effort into keeping his vehicle to company standards. I'd picked VanVanGO because I had the chair with me, but the business model had me expecting something grungier. It even smelt clean. The air-conditioning was on, so I would have noticed if it was musty. Well-maintained indeed.

    Had I known they were so professional, I might have used their services when I previously changed addresses.

    When he got in the driver's seat we immediately took off.

    I considered making small talk. People were quite talkative in this city, and in my time here I'd learnt that idle chit-chat often greased the wheels. The man seemed like the taciturn type though, so I decided against it. I had things to think about, anyway.

    While I didn't doubt my abilities, I had no real experience working with a group like Rhodes Island. Was a lot of creative accounting required to account for their assassination jobs, or was that impact kept away from the operations of their front company? I was ambivalent about the idea of getting myself involved in that. On the one hand, knowing too much would potentially get me killed. On the other hand, it was obviously better to see a purge coming, which would be difficult to do if I had my head in the sand.

    It was something I would have to decide on soon.

    Thanks to my continued employment with C&H, I had more or less unrestricted access to their ERP systems. While I was cleaning out my office, I transferred an encrypted copy of everything we had on Rhodes Island in our databases.

    From the way the RI staff had downplayed their prominence, I wasn't sure I'd been expecting to find anything at all, but a quick search had them popping up all over the world. A few mentions of them in northern Leithania, more than a few humanitarian activities in Victoria, a number of times in Columbia, including the contract for a major disaster management incident in Ironforge City...

    If you were paying attention, they were everywhere. I honestly don’t know what I was thinking, taking the words of a black-ops unit at face value. Then again, Operator Durin seemed like the carefree type, so who was to say that she knew the full extent of her company’s business activities. As for Pallas, she was already a few cups in when I met her.

    When we arrived at my apartment building's parking lot, the driver unloaded my chair with practised efficiency. Considering that people used VanVanGo services to move entire apartments worth of furniture, he must have done this thousands of times.

    "Thank you. I can take it from here," I said.

    It was just an elevator ride up, after all.

    The man shrugged.

    "If you're sure."

    He pulled out a pad and asked me to sign off. I did so and he got back into his van and drove off without another word. When I was alone in the carpark, I placed my box onto the chair and pushed it towards one of the many elevators. My building was a few dozen stories high, so it would never have functioned with just a few.

    The elevator car arrived in short order, and I stepped in and swiped my keycard. Were it not for the window, the ride was so smooth you’d never know you were moving. It was about what you could expect in a building with rent as high as this one.

    The various underground levels passed by the window until we finally reached the ground floor. Rising into the sky, I was met with a familiar view of Lungmen. This high up, it was possible to see the afternoon sun beginning to dip behind the cityscape. It was hard to believe that most of the day was over already.

    When I stepped out into the hallway, it was empty as usual. There were only two apartments on my floor, and in all my time I’d never seen anybody else. Sometimes I wondered if the other room was even inhabited. I’d been working late nights ever since I moved in here, and the sound-proofing was very good, so it was honestly hard to say.

    In another life I might have introduced myself to follow propriety, but not this one. I suppose now I would never know.

    I pushed my chair, still laden with my few belongings, across the hallway’s plush carpet to my door. Another swipe of my keycard and I was pushing into my apartment. I’d cordoned off the floor around the entrance as a reminder of where my ‘genkan’ was supposed to be; I was careful not to wheel my chair into the cleaner, barefoot area. The wheels of the chair would have to be thoroughly cleaned first. At least if I was still planning on living here. Instead, there it would sit until I figured out where I was moving to.

    Something that I never asked Dr. Kal’tsit was exactly what my housing situation would look like if I took her up on her offer. In my defence, I never thought I’d be taking her up on it. Strictly speaking, I still wasn’t. I was just going to be there as a guest. A liaison. In all the same danger in the case of a total purge, but with much less reason for Miss Amiya to be concerned with my well-being.

    …Was it better to just join Rhodes Island after all? No, no, but my salary…

    Well, I’d know soon enough. Not that soon, though. This time of the week, Qiying wouldn’t be free to make that call to Dr. Kal’tsit for a while yet.

    Speaking of, I'd missed the chance for any food before our flight here. I turned on the lights and walked into the kitchen. When I left for Chernobog I had expected to be gone for about a week. I didn't expect to find any leftover delivery in the fridge, but I did find some egg yolk chocolate. I idly gnawed on it while my other hand scrolled through a delivery app. What food options could I expect on Rhodes Island? If the offerings were dire enough, it was hard to say whether or not I would simply give up the money and move home to Leithania.

    After the app confirmed my order—some shrimp bonnets, and rice noodle rolls in sauce—I got to packing. The ultimate destination of my belongings didn’t change my need to clear out the apartment.

    My clothes went into a large suitcase; it wasn’t hard to fit them all in. The suits I wore to work went in first. Blazers marketed to women didn't have quite so much padding, which made them a simpler affair to fold without creasing, and between the gaps went the trousers and blouses.

    That was already the bulk of my clothing, really, and there was still plenty of space inside. Rarely, work required that I attend an event for networking and the like, so I did have a few nice outfits: one casual blazer, a few trousers, a pair of jeans, an expensive cardigan, and a cocktail dress that I'd gotten a single use out of. They went in without much fuss either, as there was plenty of room in the suitcase to be had once they were folded or rolled as appropriate.

    Next went a few pairs of cotton tracksuits, not that I did much exercising in them. It was what I wore at home. I didn't spend much time at home, especially over the last two years, so I might not even have had these tracksuits if it wasn't for my reluctance to parade around in a state of undress. My apartment was my apartment, but that was no excuse for behaving like a sloven.

    All that was left of my clothes were my undergarments. After stuffing the gaps with my panties and brassieres, that was my clothing done. Perhaps it might have horrified a few of the girls at the office, but the number of clothes I had was actually trending upwards. I didn't have those jeans last year, for example. This was more clothes than I could ever remember having. Well, that was a lie, but it was more than I'd had for the last thirty years at least.

    With all of the folding out of the way, I was almost done packing. I’d pack my toiletries later, but my spare towels could go in first. As for my electronics, all I really had was my phone charger, which I’d be using for now. Most of my free spending went into food and drink, and I did all my work on company hardware.

    As for the furniture, a rental apartment was never going to be my final home, so I had sought out one that came pre-furnished. The furniture itself was staying right where it was.

    I flapped open the vacuumable moving bag that I'd used during the move here. My spare bedsheets and pillows went in. A quick vacuum later and they were compact and ready for travel. The mattress they sometimes sat upon belonged to me too, but that one I'd be leaving to the movers.

    Besides the things I’d be using until I moved, I was more or less ready to leave. I doubted all of that had taken more than ten minutes, but practice made perfect. This wasn't even my first move this year, although given the date, it would probably be my last.

    A few minutes later my order arrived, which I took my time eating. There was no rush, after all. The shrimp bonnets were made consistently well at this store. People around here considered that a mark of a skilled chef. I wasn’t sure I believed that, but they sure were nice to eat.

    When I was done, I put the empty boxes into the bin and began getting the garbage bags sorted. The landlord would send a cleaning crew in after I left, but there was no harm in cleaning up after myself.

    Once I was back from putting the garbage out, I jumped into my bathroom for a long shower and then a longer bath. Very soon, Lungmen’s water situation wouldn’t be of any consequence to me, so it made sense to enjoy myself while I could. While I was sitting around in the tub, potentially nicer than any other I'd experience ever again depending on my luck, I considered the rest of my tentative to-do list.

    Getting a few books on the workings of Originium Arts would probably be high on that list.

    Years ago, when I chose to study Finance, that sealed off my future in Arts.

    I spent a lot of time using magic as Tanya von Degretyav. It didn’t take long after my education began at the orphanage for me to see the overlap with Arts casting. While in broad terms it might have sounded nice to put that relevant experience to use, unfortunately it wasn’t that straightforward.

    Piloting a jet also required spatial awareness and the ability to steer a wheel, but you couldn’t simply put a drag racer in a fighter jet and expect him to do well. Probably. Living in Tokyo, I never did end up buying a car.

    What my basic schooling told me about Arts was that I was looking at years of focused study before being able to cast anything complex. While some children were born with a natural, and sometimes inconvenient, ability to cast specific types of Arts, that kind of talent had never materialised within me. Neither did I seem to have a natural understanding of Arts in general.

    Under that premise, pursuing Arts wasn’t rationally in my best interest. Time spent studying Arts was time that I couldn’t spend on climbing the corporate ladder, and three years of study was a lot of time. Being insistent on learning Arts as a hobby simply because I’d already spent so much time using magic on the battlefield was Sunk Cost Fallacy at its worst.

    Finding the bathwater growing a little tepid, I allowed some of it to drain and turned the hot water tap back on before returning to my thoughts.

    In retrospect, perhaps I should have taken that assumption with a grain of salt. In Leithania, Originium Arts and music were inextricably tied. I suspected that coloured the way the fundamentals of casting Arts were thought about, and more importantly, taught.

    Rhythm, melody, harmony, form—I grew up under the impression that the theory of casting was quite alien from an Imperial mage’s point of view, but perhaps I’d simply been unable to see through the musical metaphor to the similarities. After all, I’d never done anything more musically complex than play the recorder in my primary school classes.

    If I was being charitable with myself, it was perhaps unreasonable to expect me to realise the Leithanian bias when I lived in the orphanage. The world of every poor orphan was small, with little access to knowledge beyond what her caretakers could provide. But by the time I was in university, I had already left the proverbial well, and really should have re-examined my assumptions.

    My only defence was that I was really, very busy.

    At any rate, I still had the general-purpose Arts unit I'd confiscated from the girl that started all this. While my memory of my ordeal in Chernobog was spotty at best, I could distinctly recall casting a few dozen defensive shells, while bleeding out and only half-conscious no less. When I got out of the bath, I was going to look for some e-books on the matter.

    The water splashed quietly as I shifted. I wondered when I'd look down and start to see signs of my Oripathy.

    Living on the Rhodes Island landship would do one good thing for my chances at longevity: as long as I wasn’t killed first, there were few better places for Oripathy treatment.

    Once I’d had my fill of Lungmen’s water reserves, I left my bathroom to find a text message from Dr. Kal’tsit. A little earlier than expected, Qiying made good on his words.



    Unknown Contact

    XXXX XXXX


    This is Kal’tsit. Mr. Li has extended your services to Rhodes Island.

    We should speak.




    At the bottom of the message was an RSVP for a booking somewhere in the downtown outskirts. Well, it wasn’t like I had much else to do until I hammered out the details with Rhodes Island.

    ‘I know the area,’ I replied. ‘I’ll be there shortly.’

    ***

    I stepped out of the taxicab into a familiar street. Poorly lit except for the neon signs of bars and clubs, this lower end nightlife district was the next block over from my first home in Lungmen.

    On the nights that I hadn't slept at my desk in the office, I’d sometimes pass by the curry finball stalls on the way home. They wouldn’t be seeing much business right now, but these streets would be filled with partygoers soon enough.

    The address that Dr. Kal’tsit sent was on the block just across from here. I trotted up a short staircase into a small park. Unlike the street I’d alighted on, the lighting was much brighter here. At regular intervals, tall lamps illuminated the greenery with clean white light. I suppose with all the trees around, the perception of safety in the park was something the local council was more conscious of.

    The street I stepped out onto was quieter. Less neon here, and more hole-in-the-wall bars and restaurants.

    I stood at a distance with complicated feelings.

    Was this it? The place I was looking at seemed particularly dingy looking.

    It didn’t look open, either.

    On the other hand, it wasn’t nearly as dingy as I expected for a place that served the Oripathy afflicted.

    Rather than some slum restaurant for lepers, it was shabby in the way that was as if somebody had decided to run a restaurant out of their windowless apartment, and hadn’t put too much thought into how that looked to potential customers.

    Doubly hesitant, I was making sure I had the right place when a well-dressed young couple entered ahead of me.

    It was the right place.

    Bracing myself, I opened the door.

    After I stepped carefully inside, I realised that contrary to its exterior, the decor was surprisingly tasteful.

    Decorative bamboo here and there, some artwork, and soft lighting that paired well with mirrors. The tables themselves were partitioned by screens for some degree of privacy.

    While I was admiring the interior decoration, one of the staff noticed me and approached.

    “A friend is expecting me,” I preempted with a smile. “She has a table under the name Kal’tsit.”

    “This way, please.”

    To my mild surprise, the waiter led me up some stairs into a softly lit hallway. He stopped at one of the doors and knocked politely.

    “Come in,” called a familiar voice from inside.

    The waiter opened the door for me with a friendly smile.

    “I’ll be back shortly for your order.”

    Conscious that Dr. Kal’tsit had only ever seen me at my worst, I endeavoured to keep my stride casual and confident as I made my way over to the table. The mirror I’d noticed earlier was one-way, it turned out, because our room had an overlooking view of the restaurant.

    “I hope I haven’t kept you waiting,” I said.

    “No, I just got here,” Dr. Kal’tsit said absently as she looked over the menu.

    After another quick glance around the room, I took my seat.

    “We can speak freely,” she said. “This establishment values the privacy of its clients. Is this your first time here?”

    I nodded, even though she wasn’t looking at me.

    “It’s a nice place,” I said. “I’m surprised such a nice place serves the Infected.”

    Left unsaid was my question about whether the staff were similarly Infected. Back in the Rhodes Island clinic, Dr. Louisa had handed me a friendly informational brochure on what I needed to know about Oripathy. Knowing what I did now about the transmission of Oripathy, there was almost no chance of infection regardless of the health of the cooking staff.

    How ironic then, that even knowing better, and as somebody already suffering from Oripathy, I still felt some hesitance at eating food prepared by an Infected.

    Dr. Kal’tsit looked away from the menu to stare at me. I tried not to flush.

    “I didn’t mean any offence.”

    “You’re not the only Infected in your tax bracket,” she said simply. “Mr. Li made quite the offer.”

    “Qiying’s decision surprised me,” I admitted.

    Her gaze returned to the menu and she flipped the page.

    “It’s not the first time we’ve hosted Infected staff from other companies, but they aren’t usually quite so well paid. At least not without hazard pay.”

    I injected an amiable smile into my tone. “I’ve always believed in maximising the value that I bring to others.” Or at least those others who were involved in my getting paid. I wasn’t a charity.

    “Then you must bring quite a lot of value indeed.” Dr. Kal’tsit hummed.

    There was a knock on the door.

    “Come in.” She turned to me. “Well, we can continue after we’ve ordered. The sashimi here is quite popular. Mr. Li mentioned that you liked Far Eastern cuisine.”

    I did, but regular food, not sashimi. If I was going to shell out so much money, my preference was something Gaulish. At least then the food would be seasoned properly.

    “I love sashimi,” I said with a smile. “Have you had it before?”

    Dr. Kal’tsit’s expression didn’t change even a little as she hummed.

    “I’ve tried all manner of cuisine in my time.”

    That would probably have sounded more impressive if she wasn’t a Feline in her twenties.

    I didn’t care enough to comment, however. Personally, I was just happy I wouldn’t have to order for her.

    It was annoying when the other party picked a venue out of consideration for you. If they weren’t familiar with the cuisine themselves, it could turn awkward if you suggested a dish they didn’t end up enjoying.

    I gave a quick glance at the stony-faced woman and quickly decided against a multi-course menu item that we’d have to share.

    “I think I’ll have the ootoro set,” I said. It was expensive, but the rest of the menu wasn’t too much cheaper. At least the fat of the ootoro would add some taste.

    Dr. Kal’tsit looked up at the waiter who was waiting patiently at our table.

    “I’ll have the horse mackerel set, and my companion will have the ootoro.” She looked over at me. “Is sake fine?”

    I nodded with a smile. They probably served my preferred red wine here, but I wasn’t about to decline her suggestion at what was in essence a job interview.

    Rhodes Island wasn’t going to be paying me, but if Qiying was confident in keeping me on the payroll, then Rhodes Island was sure to be providing us with more than just my treatment. I didn’t know what that was, nor was I sure I wanted to know, but it was better to keep them happy to continue providing it by being the model guest worker.

    After the staff member left with our orders, we made small talk about the Far Eastern cuisine available in Lungmen until the same waiter returned with our food.

    I eyed my thick slabs of tuna belly.

    I considered mixing some wasabi into the soy sauce. Wasabi on its own was too sharp for me, so I preferred its fragrance dulled. It was a breach of etiquette, but I didn’t mind coming off as a bit of a lower class boor.

    On the other hand, while waiting for our food, I’d already made the mistake of coming off as quite familiar with Far Eastern food. If I ‘unknowingly’ breached etiquette here, I could risk coming off as a loudmouth who knew far less than they thought they did.

    Could I chance it? Thus far the doctor had turned out to be quite familiar with the practice of eating Far Eastern cuisine.

    Better to err on the side of etiquette, I finally decided.

    Without much ceremony, I dabbed some wasabi onto a piece of ootoro before generously swishing it in the soy sauce. Hmm. Buttery, salty, and expensive.

    “Mr. Li praised you to the moon.” Oh, was it time to talk business? “Make no mistake, we accept anybody who can contribute, be they engineer or dishwasher, but I would like to hear it from you yourself.”

    Dr. Kal'tsit dabbed some grated ginger onto a piece of aji and brought it past her lips.

    It wasn't until she'd slowly and gracefully chewed through all of it that she continued to speak.

    “What is it that you offer, and what do you hope for during your time with us?”

    I was a little thrown off balance. My impression of her was a dry woman less prone to dramatics than this.

    “You must have seen my resume,” I said. Despite his flippant bearing and penchant for drugs, I’d learnt over the years that Qiying was scrupulous in everything he did. If he was offering my services to Rhodes Island for compensation, my credentials would have been the first thing he sent her.

    Dr. Kal’tsit fixed me with an inscrutable look.

    “Beyond the resume,” she said.

    I thought about it. While Terra's culture did have some primitive trappings, their premier nations were no less advanced than 21st century Japan. Unlike in the Reich, I was not about to wow anybody with my knowledge of warfare, nor my modern knowledge of business.

    I looked her in the eye and replied in my most professional and capable-sounding tone.

    “I have great belief in my ability to learn and adapt. Whatever else you get up to, I have utmost confidence that I can add value to your official operations.”

    “Official?” she asked.

    Ah. Was I being a little too direct? But it was better that she suspected off the bat that I already knew what she was involved in, and so did my superiors. It would abort any panicked attempts to silence me if I ever stumbled across their wet work, and would also hint that if I had an unfortunate accident, C&H would know who to investigate.

    Besides, we both knew under what circumstances I first came into contact with Rhodes Island. Better not to treat each other like idiots by dancing around the subject, and hint instead that I'd already put the puzzle together.

    “I suppose this brings me to what I hope to get out of my time with you. Coopers & Harding Lungmen has an extensive database. Some things are hidden only so long as nobody bothers to look.” I cleared my throat and steepled my fingers. “I’d like to make it clear that I am first and foremost a pacifist. While I have no strong feelings about what Rhodes Island is really up to, I only work to contribute to peace and the progress of civilisation for fair remuneration.”

    After hours of thought, that was my decision.

    I’d keep my eyes and ears open for signs of things going wrong, but otherwise I was going to stay out of their business. Whether they were running their usual black ops, or they were trying to rebel against their Columbian masters, I refused to play a direct role.

    “Rhodes Island exists to help the Infected, wherever they might be,” Dr. Kal’tsit said placidly.

    “As long as that’s the case, I’ll do my best to assist you in whatever you may need,” I said equally calmly.

    We stared at each other in silence, food forgotten.

    “I didn’t think your group had reason to pay such attention to us,” she said coolly.

    Her doubt was perfectly understandable. As far as the public knew, the Lungmen branch of C&H had no reason to be watching Columbia. The country was on the other side of the world, and had their own branch of C&H. For those out of the know, Columbian matters were well taken care of by C&H Columbia.

    No company wanted their internal troubles going public, after all. I had my own agenda, however.

    “Infighting is the bane of mankind, isn’t it? We’ve been looking in directions we never used to,” I admitted. “The Kazdellian occupation of Londinium changed a great many things.”

    While Victoria was a declining power, the Victorian markets would never have been shaken to this degree if not for the occupation of its capital. The volatility of the markets combined with the inability for its aristocratic backers to enter the city had effectively destroyed any faith in the Londinium headquarters to lead.

    If it wasn’t for that, the Columbian branch would never have grown so impudent, and we would hardly be so wary of them.

    A lot of people didn’t like the Sarkaz. The idea of a unified Sarkaz race that the nation of Kazdel presented was even less welcome. That’s why it was baffling to me that some Victorian nobles had just welcomed Kazdel’s military right into their capital.

    It was never a great idea to invite a foreign army into your country to attack your domestic rivals, but I suppose Victoria’s Grand Dukes didn’t have the Ming Dynasty as an example to learn from. Maybe the long time Sarkaz warriors spent as wandering mercenaries after each fall of Kazdel had given the Victorians the impression that Kazdel’s national military was equally controllable.

    The wrong impression, evidently.

    “And what are you planning on doing about it?” she asked.

    Obviously she wasn’t asking about my thoughts as an individual this time. She knew now that C&H were aware of Rhodes Island's origins. Dr. Kal'tsit was asking after my company’s stance on her group, sounding out where exactly we stood.

    Unfortunately, I had no idea what Qiying was thinking beyond a general ‘keep an eye on them and see if you can’t convince them to neutralise a few Columbians’, so I was going to have to keep it vague.

    “I think you’ll find that we belong to the ‘a friend of a friend’ camp,” I said.

    There. If Rhodes Island was trying to break free of the Brinsleys, then she could interpret that as an offer for cooperation. If Rhodes Island’s leadership were loyal to the Brinsley Chairman, well, the man had a lot of enemies, so my statement still wouldn’t have sounded out of place.

    Either way, that was a problem out of my hands and onto Qiying’s lap.

    Dr. Kal’tsit stared at me, still expressionless after everything. After years in Lungmen’s business culture, I was accustomed to a more welcoming and amicable mien. Fortunately, although you would never guess by looking at me, I had decades of experience under my belt.

    Dr. Kal’tsit wasn’t even close to the first poker-faced stoic I’d had to deal with. I understood her type perfectly.

    After a moment, she returned to her meal.

    “Pacifism, you said? Not many Infected live peacefully in this world,” she said.

    It was a little tactless of her, but the reminder was no less true.

    “I hope I beat the odds then.”

    She brought a sake cup to her lips for a sip.

    “You would have better odds by working with Rhodes Island.”

    Ah, the ‘Acquisition and Cultivation Procedures for Infected Personnel’ again? If she was taking my views on pacifism seriously, did that mean I was being scouted for my business acumen?

    I sat a little straighter in my seat.

    Unless they paid rates comparable to my salary, I wasn’t interested for now, but it was always nice having my talents recognised. While I vastly preferred tangible benefits over recognition, that wasn’t to say that commendations weren’t pleasant in their own right. It was just that they could often be spoiled by somebody using them to weasel out of properly rewarding you.

    Thankfully, I didn’t have to worry about that with her.

    “I’m open to future cooperation,” I said, turning her down without closing off all avenues for future employment.

    Perhaps if they considered me a potential future talent, they’d try a little harder to protect my life if things ever turned violent.

    After a little thought, I added with some flattery, “And with Rhodes Island’s incredible research, I hope to have a long future ahead of me indeed.”

    Unsure of what else to say, I took a sip of sake, and then placed another piece of fish into my mouth. Sure enough, Dr. Kal’tsit took the chance to reply.

    “Whatever else we do, Rhodes Island is committed first and foremost to aiding the Infected.”

    I suppose their executives picked a front operation that they felt at least some degree of investment in. For one thing, it was probably easier to keep up the act about something you cared about. If that something was also a perfect cover, then that was two birds with one stone.

    It also helped that a large number of their personnel were suffering from Oripathy. It would be embarrassing if one of their black ops failed because employees in their front company held a strike.

    That was as good enough a reason as any to stay motivated.

    After a short conversation about the rise and fall of nations, no doubt veiled references to Columbia, we returned to lighter topics for the rest of the night.

    When it was time to pay the bill, Dr. Kal'tsit generously offered to foot it. Well, if she insisted, I was hardly going to refuse.

    All in all it was a pleasant enough business dinner. I figured that I would be leaving the city soon, but if life ever brought me back to Lungmen, I could see what other fine dining options were open to the Infected.

    When I got back to my apartment, I wasted some more of Lungmen's water reserves with another shower and bath before finally crawling into bed.

    I was lying beneath my sheets when I realised I had forgotten to ask about the accommodations at Rhodes Island.

    ***

    The next morning, I woke up to a message from Dr. Kal’tsit.



    Dr. Kal’tsit

    XXXX XXXX


    Wei Yenwu has refused Rhodes Island permission to dock. I suggest that we speak in person today.





    A/N:
    Kal’tsit: "We're talking about Theresis, right?"
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2022
  14. Renko

    Renko Demon Lord of the Sixth Heaven ~☆

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2018
    Messages:
    5,493
    Likes Received:
    54,840
    Not only is her fashion bad, the same thing can be said to her wardrobe too!

    Wow, truly Arknights material right there, Tanja! Compare to her new co-workers, she looks plain AF! /s

    Retcon?

    :V
     
  15. DistopianFjord

    DistopianFjord Wish I spelled my name correctly

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2021
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    31
    While having the thread marks in different languages is cool could you add a translation so i know what they mean?
     
    NTR Commissar likes this.
  16. NTR Commissar

    NTR Commissar Recreational RACIST

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2016
    Messages:
    130
    Likes Received:
    1,583
    The most important part of them is in English and Hindu–Arabic glyphs. The rest is just for fun.
    Err, no. That's literally what happens in Chapters 3 and 4.
    Average Rhodes Islander btw:
    [​IMG]
    I don't think that's much fancier than the suit.
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2022
  17. Fernando

    Fernando Part-time Loaf

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2018
    Messages:
    414
    Likes Received:
    4,546
    Tanya's misunderstanding field has either kicked into high gear or already went past its limits to the point where she's actually understanding things.

    There is no convincing me that there's an in-between.
     
    Al_CoffeeCat, AshCrow, Rended and 3 others like this.
  18. Pethrai D’arkos

    Pethrai D’arkos Murder Ensued

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2020
    Messages:
    181
    Likes Received:
    1,403
    I mean she is right that Rhodes Island gets a lot of it’s funding through wetworks operations.
     
  19. Supreme Minister Prime

    Supreme Minister Prime Hmm, yes, quite

    Joined:
    May 7, 2021
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    38
    Man, Tanya talking circles around herself never ceases to be funny. The entire conversation with Kal was amazing, especially all of this
    Lmao

    She shouldn't worry, her living space is the HR office. The room is nice, the setting is familiar, and the overtime is mandatory
    Though, based on the obvious foreshadowing of Tanja's musings on the interconnectedness of music and magic, I see the story's ultimate destination is magical idol Tanja lol
    Anyway uh, I started playing arknights because of this fic and I need more sanity while I'm still in Ch2, I think the divergences so far are:
    (1) Doctor was extracted early
    (2) No encounter with Talulah.
    (3) No encounter with W
    (4) Tanja trained someone called Ponytail(???)

    Tanja saw the Originium shards starting to rain down on Chernobog 5 minutes after Rhodes left. It's interesting that Tanja's shield let them escape so quickly; is it really that strong, or did Mephisto getting run over and hospitalized cause a breakdown in formation?
    Though, escaping before the Catastrophe really got messy might have lost them some respect from Wei

    Because of (2) it seems like Wei felt Rhodes didn't have much of value to negotiate with, or at least to let them dock. I think he partnered with them originally because they had info on Reunion's leadership (I don't think they knew it was Talulah based on Wei's blatant fishing, though Chen did recognize her name) and so he could get powerful Infected boots on the ground. Without surviving against Talulah they don't have that information or the cred to back up their capabilities.
    The Talulah fight originally led to the deaths of AC Denton and the rest of his squad, though the Medic (is she Dim Needle?) left with Amiya's team. Amiya also didn't unleash her 'hidden power'TM against Talulah, though I'm not far enough in the story to understand the repercussions of that.

    W probably killed the Scout team again. I don't know if she fought Adnachiel's team still, but they survived in the game and Tanja saw Jessica so they're probably fine. W didn't get her questions answered this time, so I think she'll be more proactive about confronting Amiya&Doctor.

    I don't know who Ponytail is lol
     
  20. NTR Commissar

    NTR Commissar Recreational RACIST

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2016
    Messages:
    130
    Likes Received:
    1,583
    Aha, mission accomplished.
    lmao
    Nah, this is just a character from the manga, lol. She's part of the batch of recruits that joins in Volume 11. Don't think the manga has actually revealed her name yet, but compared to the other recruits, she hasn't been forgotten by the mangaka. (Volen Grantz, of course, is featured even more, being a semi-important character from the novel.)

    [​IMG]
    Mmn, he's the one who initially orders his chameleon buddy to keep track of Rhodes Island, while he himself reported them to Talulah. For the Talulah stuff, you learn more about her background in later chapters.

    Anyway, glad you enjoyed the chapter! The Kal'tsit conversation was the main feature, so people who didn't enjoy that found the chapter quite boring, which was understandable but disheartening lol. Let us know if you need to populate your Arknights friends list.
     
  21. Supreme Minister Prime

    Supreme Minister Prime Hmm, yes, quite

    Joined:
    May 7, 2021
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    38
    Ah, I'd figured Ponytail might have been one of the "young geniuses" that Tanja talked about meeting when she was getting her degree. Thought it'd be funny if Tanja thought she was offering helpful advice to a young classmate on something like casting Arts when all her classmate heard were formulas for (hypothetically) turning people into ash piles and dosage thresholds of magical stimulants. Probably wouldn't work out tho, as Tanja states Arts and orb magic only share similar skill sets. I am a bit curious as to how she managed the shell. Maybe there was a shielding program already installed into the casting device and she just brute forced it?

    Yeah, context from Arknights made the misunderstandings enjoyable, otherwise nobody knows if there were misunderstandings (I wouldn't have if I didn't spoil myself reading a wiki page lol)
     
  22. DDNt

    DDNt Chronically Tired Stupid Smartass

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2017
    Messages:
    1,077
    Likes Received:
    3,219
    Think that might be Lotte(?). She's a character that shows up quite a bit in various fan art and does look like the girl in the manga.
     
  23. NTR Commissar

    NTR Commissar Recreational RACIST

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2016
    Messages:
    130
    Likes Received:
    1,583
    That's the character, yes, but her name isn't actually Lotte. Her full (real world) nickname as christened by the manga team is Ponytailotte. I just decided to have my Tanya internally nickname her Ponytail.
     
    boredbird and Pethrai D’arkos like this.
  24. al103

    al103 Know what you're doing yet?

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2013
    Messages:
    249
    Likes Received:
    2,445
    It's not like it's easy to grasp concept of ancient conspiracy which is lead by people who are literally too old to care about illuminaty shit but are still competent and ancient cospiracy... and so being charity is pretty much intended profit. Especially if you not only don't know about that, but don't even have a single fact to start. So when Tanya asks herself "where is profit" she misses like 3/4 of underwater parts of big big Iceberg to make a right conclusion. And she can't dismiss RI as naive idealists as they are not only successful but bloody successful.

    Rhodes Island is not in any way "simple pro-Infected charity". Or even "complicated pro-Infected charity". Ya Ya Doctor Fhtagn.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2022
  25. Pethrai D’arkos

    Pethrai D’arkos Murder Ensued

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2020
    Messages:
    181
    Likes Received:
    1,403
    Hold up. The Doctor is some sort of eldritch immortal? Is that why they wear that hooded cloak/labcoat thing over a helmet with a tinted visor and gloves, to avoid even the possibility of getting outed when standing bracketed by a four hundred year old and an eight hundred year old portraits of himself?
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2022
    5ColouredWalker, Rended and Panzaro like this.
  26. Panzaro

    Panzaro Making the rounds.

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2020
    Messages:
    42
    Likes Received:
    541
    They're talking about
    Kal'sit

    I'm not saying Doctor might not be, who knows?
     
    Azum likes this.
  27. Fernando

    Fernando Part-time Loaf

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2018
    Messages:
    414
    Likes Received:
    4,546
    Even more in character for Tanja! Task failed successfully.
     
    5ColouredWalker likes this.
  28. al103

    al103 Know what you're doing yet?

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2013
    Messages:
    249
    Likes Received:
    2,445
    There is also
    ghost in Amiya.
    Ancient Iluminati are pretty much Ancient Illuminati.

    Thing is - she misses it not because of willful ignorance of things that should be obvious. But because shit is really sneaky, yo! This time it's not Tanya that do crazy conclusions that are not in line with reality, but Tanya does logical conclusions... and reality is just crazy. Honest Greenpeace On Their Own Nuclear Aircraft Carrier level of crazy.
     
  29. Pethrai D’arkos

    Pethrai D’arkos Murder Ensued

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2020
    Messages:
    181
    Likes Received:
    1,403
    Honest Greenpeace On Their Own Nuclear Aircraft Carrier Run By A Princess In Hiding That Also Does Assassination When They Need The Cash crazy even. Because while she’s wrong about the Oripathy treatments being a cover for the wetworks she isn’t wrong about the wetworks themselves.
     
  30. NTR Commissar

    NTR Commissar Recreational RACIST

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2016
    Messages:
    130
    Likes Received:
    1,583
    Not to take away from your point that it's mostly not even Tanja's fault this time, I'd argue that Tanya never really comes to crazy conclusions. She applies paradigms that she's learnt without nuance or flexibility, and the result is that the otherwise logical modelling is completely off.

    The predictions of the Chicago School models can be accurate, so long as they're applied to an environment where actors are rational. Many markets in the real world, as behavioural economics will happily point out, are not rational environments. Likewise, Tanya applying the lessons she learnt to succeed in the Japanese business culture might still work well enough in modern Korea, but evidently doesn't in the 1910s Imperial Military.

    They seem like crazy conclusions, but the punchline of the novels is that she'd be absolutely correct if only the Reich worked in the same way that Japan's toxic work culture did.

    (That's not what's happening in this fic, ofc. I just write misunderstandings because they're funny, and I'm not super picky about what kinds. Also the idea of evil mastermind Amiya is hilarious to me.)
     
Loading...