Scenario:Ilsa - A Drill Sergeant's Duty

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A Drill Sergeant's Duty

Patrolling her base's perimeter the day after the monster attack, Ilsa runs into (Captain) and the crew, who are on a supply run. They invite her aboard the Grandcypher, but she refuses on account of her responsibility to her cadets. That night, (Captain) spots Ilsa walking alone and runs after her. She tells the captain about her past which inspires her to work so hard.

Ilsa has been traveling from place to place with her cadets from the now defunct Society, evading the Foe's efforts to steal her seal weapon, Nybeth.
The day after defending a town from a monster incursion seemingly instigated by the Foe, Ilsa patrols the perimeter of their temporary base.
Ilsa: (Nothing out of the ordinary. I may as well get in a little training myself, before the maggots show up for theirs.)
???: Hey, Lyria! I found a sturdy-lookin' rope!
Ilsa: That can't be who I think it is, can it?
Lyria: This should work. Good thing we found one so quickly!
Ilsa: I thought I recognized those voices. What a coincidence to run into you all on this island.
Lyria: Huh? Ilsa!
Vyrn: We were wonderin' where the heck you'd got to! It's been a while since we heard a peep from you. All good on your end?
Ilsa: I apologize if I worried you. As you can see, we're fine.
Nybeth's twinned halves sit in their holsters on her belt. Ilsa gives their grips a light pat.
Ilsa tells the crew what's happened since the defeat of the Society's Central Command.
She has refrained from contacting the crew to minimize the risk of the Foe discovering her location.
Vyrn: Sounds like those Foe guys aren't gonna let you get away without a fight.
Ilsa: I'm not sure if it's because they have yet to pinpoint my exact location, but so far they've only sent monsters to do their dirty work.
Ilsa: They may send their main force if they do figure out where I am though. I have to remain cautious.
Ilsa: If they can all use moon weapons the way that jar-cruncher woman did, there's no guarantee of survival, even for me.
Lyria: I know you said you don't want to cause us any trouble, but I'm worried about you, Ilsa.
Vyrn: Yeah, me too. If you're goin' from island to island, you need a ship anyway, right? It's not too late to hop aboard the Grandcypher.
Ilsa: I'd love to take you up on that, but I can't. For one thing, I've got too much baggage.
Ilsa explains that she has students with her who have lost their families to the Foe and have nowhere else to go.
Vyrn: You've got an army on your tail, and you're taking care of your students too?
Ilsa: Yes. They're people who've lost everything to the enemy and live only for revenge. There's no chance that hatred in their hearts will subside.
Ilsa: Old grudges can lead to reckless behavior. If I don't keep a leash on them, they'll run wild—it's my responsibility to keep them in check.
Lyria: This might sound weird, but... I'm proud of you, Ilsa. You already have so much to handle...
Ilsa: I wish there was something else I could have done for them, but that's the way it is.
Ilsa: Well, I have preparations to make. Take care of yourselves.
Vyrn: I always knew she was somethin' else, but she's takin' care of that seal weapon, her cadets, and herself. And she's doing it all on her own. Yeesh.
Lyria: Huh? (Captain), why are you staring at Ilsa like that?
  1. She's not doing so well.
  2. Her clothes were ripped.

Choose: She's not doing so well.

Lyria: What? She isn't?
Vyrn: She sounded like her usual self, but you're right... She's really pushing herself to the limit.
Go to "Continue 1"

Choose: Her clothes were ripped.

Lyria: Oh... Now that you mention it...
Lyria: Her pants and the hem of her cloak were all ragged...
Lyria: Does that mean she's been fighting nonstop? I really am worried now...
Vyrn: Well, maybe not. I feel like I've seen deliberately ripped clothes for sale...
Lyria: Oh... So you think it's just a fashion statement?
Vyrn: Wearing whatever she wants sounds like her style. Either way she's definitely in a tight spot...

Continue 1

Lyria: I don't like this. Isn't there anything we can do for her?
(Captain)'s brow furrows as Ilsa's caped figure recedes into the distance.
That night, at the inn the crew has chosen, (Captain) wakes unexpectedly. Outside the window, the captain spots Ilsa.
Leaving Lyria and Vyrn sound asleep in their room, (Captain) hurries outside.
Ilsa: (Looks like I've picked up a tail. Just one, I think.)
Ilsa: (Could be a member of the Foe, a bounty-hunting skyfarer, or a brainwashed local. Time to give them a proper greeting.)
Ilsa turns a corner and whips out Nybeth without breaking stride. She swings around to face her pursuer.
Ilsa: (Captain)! It's just you...
  1. Sorry for startling you.

Choose: Sorry for startling you.

Ilsa: I should be the one apologizing. Forgive me. Pointing a gun at an ally is about the worst thing a soldier could do.
Ilsa: What brought you after me in such a hurry, anyhow?
  1. I wondered where you were headed.

Choose: I wondered where you were headed.

Ilsa: I heard a strange rumor. I thought I'd tack an investigation onto my nightly patrol.
Ilsa: I can't go tossing flightless maggots straight into the frog's mouth. Thought I'd do this mission solo, to keep myself light and maneuverable.
  1. Sounds rough for just one person.

Choose: Sounds rough for just one person.

Ilsa: It's fine. I can better assess the situation if I do my own reconnaissance anyhow.
There's an exhaustion in Ilsa's face, born of countless solitary battles, that looks a lot like resignation.
  1. Why are you pushing yourself so hard?

Choose: Why are you pushing yourself so hard?

Ilsa: I'm just doing the bare minimum necessary to keep myself and the maggots in one piece.
Ilsa: Call it my responsibility as their CO. That's what's keeping me moving.
Seeing the perplexed expression on (Captain)'s face, Ilsa looks a little deeper into her own motivations.
Ilsa: You know... I guess I could talk to you about this.
Ilsa: When I was looking down the barrel of all this trouble, one of my old instructors came to mind. A mentor who made me who I am today.
Ilsa: Since you're here, you wanna indulge me in a little reminiscence, at least until we get where we're going?
(Captain) smiles and nods, and the two of them set off shoulder to shoulder.

A Drill Sergeant's Duty: Scene 2

Recent Society recruits Ilsa and Eustace show great promise, but their drill sergeant, Dylan, is unimpressed with Ilsa and leaves her off the roster of the upcoming field training. Ilsa objects, sparking a fight and a retest, which she fails. Fed up with Dylan's insults and the training she thinks is beneath her, Ilsa storms off.

Ilsa: Haaagh!
Gunfire rings out across the Society training grounds.
Ilsa moves like a hurricane, driven by some inner fire. In the blink of an eye, shots from her twin pistols honeycomb the artificial life-forms the Society uses for combat drills.
Eustace: ...
A little ways off stands Eustace, who calmly sights along his rifle before precisely targeting the artificial life-forms' vitals to take them down.
Despite their wildly differing styles, the two combatants finish off their opponents at almost the same time.
Dylan: All right, that's it! Ilsa, Eustace, you've both passed your marksmanship exam!
Jesse: Man, Ilsa and Eustace really are a cut above the rest of us.
Elmer: Especially with guns in their hands. I bet they'll be chosen as seal weapon contractor candidates right away.
The assembled cadets murmur their agreement, blown away by Ilsa and Eustace's displays of martial prowess.
Ilsa: (Dylan's an impressive fighter, so when he scouted me, I figured this "Society" would be some kinda hot spit organization...)
Ilsa: (But my fellow recruits are barely out of diapers. It's like they've never even touched a weapon before! And these tests have all been a joke. This place is a disappointment.)
Ilsa: (The compensation is still enticing, I guess. I wish we could get this lame "training" over with and get on to the real assignments already.)
The cadets' marksmanship exam comes to a close, and the sergeant addresses them in clipped tones.
Dylan: Good work today, cadets.
Dylan: Based on all of your exam results thus far, the following people will be participating in tomorrow's field training.
Dylan: Eustace.
Eustace: Understood.
Dylan: Elmer.
Elmer: Huh?
I mean, understood!
Ilsa: (Elmer's been selected? He failed two of the tests. You don't even have to pass them all to participate in field training?)
Ilsa: (Well, I'll just have to clean up after him out there. Maybe that's why the sergeant's including him.)
Dylan: That's all five. If I called your name, I'll contact you later with the mission brief.
Ilsa: What?
Jesse: Ilsa wasn't selected? Why not?
The other cadets are shocked to see the star pupil left out of this assignment. Murmurs ripple through the ranks.
Ilsa: Sergeant Dylan! Why wasn't I selected for field training? I'd like an explanation!
Dylan: You weren't ready, so I didn't put you on the list. That's all.
Ilsa: How was I not ready? I passed more of the exams than Elmer did!
Dylan: Yes, your test results have been excellent. It's easy to see why you've had such success as an agent.
Dylan: But my decision is final, so suck it up.
Ilsa: !
Jesse: Ilsa, no!
Eustace: ...
Heedless of her fellow recruit's warning, Ilsa shoves the other cadets aside to get to the front of the group.
Ilsa: I'd like an explanation that makes sense.
Dylan: I don't remember calling you to the front. Get back in formation.
Ilsa: Not until you give me an explanation, Sergeant Dylan!
Dylan: Hunh... If you doubt my judgment that much, then I'll give you a retake.
The sergeant pulls a training knife from his belt and hands it to Ilsa, then leads her to the center of the training grounds.
Dylan: If you can beat me in a fight, then you're on the roster for tomorrow's training exercise.
Ilsa: Where's your weapon, Sergeant?
Dylan: I don't need one to handle a maggot like you. Give it your best shot!
Ilsa: (A maggot? Me? How dare he!)
Ilsa: Hah! Haaah!
Dylan: ...
Using the blade to draw her opponent's attention, Ilsa watches for the best moment to move in.
Jesse: Amazing! Ilsa managed to grab him from behind!
Elmer: Go, Ilsa! You can do it!
Ilsa: (Hmph. With his arms immobilized, this fight is mine. Now, let's end this—)
Ilsa: Ow!
Dylan: Hnh!
Ilsa: Gyah!
Just as Ilsa is sure of her own victory, Dylan brings his heel down on her instep. When she flinches, he takes advantage of the distraction to throw her to the ground and pin her.
Dylan: You left your feet wide open.
If you don't forfeit, I'm going to break your arm.
Ilsa: Ngh...
I... forfeit.
Dylan: You fail the retake.
Now. Back to training!
At Dylan's barked order, the cadets hurriedly apply themselves to their exercises.
Ilsa: Ngh!
Jesse: Ilsa, we're supposed to be doing push-ups! Hurry!
Ilsa: My arm still hurts.
Jesse: Then let's do sit-ups first. C'mon!
Ilsa: Urgh... How could he choose someone like that over me! It's not fair!
Eustace: ...
Eustace: Settle down. Is complaining going to make you stronger?
Ilsa: Hunh. You get picked for field training and all of a sudden you think you're a big shot.
Eustace: Says the woman who just disobeyed direct orders from a commanding officer.
Ilsa: Battlefields demand competency. I need field experience, not these monotonous exercises!
Eustace: Have you ever seen a battlefield created by the Foe?
Eustace: You're just a brat who's hit the bull's-eye a few times at the shooting galleries. All you're gonna do out there is die in vain.
Ilsa: Who are you calling a brat! Say that again, you little squit!
Dylan: What's all the noise over there!
Eustace comes to attention at the sound of the sergeant's voice and returns to his training. Ilsa remains motionless.
Dylan: You again! If you hate training under me that much, then get out, you sniveling maggot!
Ilsa: (He just called me a maggot again! To hell with him and this place!)
Ilsa: Yeah, I'm going! What kind of idiot would follow orders from a moron like you?
Jesse: W-wait! Ilsa!
Unable to control her anger any longer, Ilsa turns on her heel and storms away.

A Drill Sergeant's Duty: Scene 3

Drowning her woes in sugar at a restaurant, Ilsa runs afoul of an empty-eyed man threatening another diner. She attempts to help and is captured herself. Dylan arrives and uses insults to lift Ilsa's fear-induced paralysis, allowing her to use a technique he taught her and escape. The next day she returns to the Society and suffers through insult and corporal punishment in order for Dylan to accept her.

Ilsa: Munch... Nom...
Aaggh, I'm so mad! That dipstick doesn't know his ass from his elbow!
Ilsa is seated in a restaurant before a table laden with sweets. She growls to herself in between efforts to cram it all into her mouth.
Ilsa: (I've had it with being insulted while he bores me to death with his so-called training. To hell with this stupid organization.)
Diner: What's wrong with you? Put that blade away! Don't point that at me!
Ruffian: Be quiet or you're dead. Come with us. Now.
Ilsa: (What's going on over there?)
Ruffian: Don't make this harder on yourself. Do as you're told and I'll stab you.
Ilsa: (That guy's talking nonsense. Well, he picked the wrong place to pull this crap.)
Ilsa pulls her guns out of her bags and trains them on the empty-eyed man threatening the diner.
Ilsa: Let him go. Now.
Ruffian: This has nothing to do with you. Stay out of it.
Ilsa: Nh! Cough, cough... Damn. My eyes!
The man grabs the pepper shaker off a nearby table and flings the contents into Ilsa's face.
Temporarily blinded, Ilsa is unable to react. Noticing something, the troublemaker releases his original prey and approaches Ilsa.
Ruffian: By the looks of the armor you're wearing, you belong to that organization, don't you? You'd be a more useful recruit than this guy, anyhow.
Ruffian: Come with me. You and I are going to be burnt at the stake.
Ilsa: Nh. Get your filthy hands off me!
Dylan: Target acquired. Commence—
Dylan: What... Ilsa, what are you doing here!
Ilsa: Sergeant... Is that you?
Ruffian: Too bad. Looks like I'll be the only one burning.
Hey. If you shoot, I'll cut her head off. Throw down your weapon and I'll kill her.
Ilsa: Hh... Ah...
The knife blade rests cold and sharp against Ilsa's nape. The endless darkness behind her sealed lids paralyzes her with fear.
Ilsa: (I can't move... Can't speak... How could this happen? To me?)
Dylan: There's no crying in the field, you pants-wetting ninny!
Ilsa: !
Dylan: If your hands are free, hit him in the family jewels! If all you can do is snivel when the chips are down, you'll never graduate to field duty!
Ilsa: (I'm only tearing up because I have pepper in my eyes! And I didn't wet myself!)
Ilsa: (Aaaugh, I could just murder him! Why won't my damn eyes open? Move, body! Move!)
Ilsa: Haaagh!
Ilsa stomps down on her captor's instep and makes a break for it. Still half blind, she blunders straight into a table and pitches over.
Dylan: Now!
As soon as Ilsa is clear, Dylan and the other Society soldiers move in and restrain the man.
Some of the soldiers drag the miscreant back to base for questioning.
Ilsa: Sergeant...
Dylan: Hunh... Make sure you wash the piss out of your uniform before you return it, maggot.
Ilsa: (Wha... I never pissed myself, you rotten son of a—)
Ilsa: (What a jerk! He knew damn well I was scared spitless, and he still wouldn't stop trying to piss me off!)
Ilsa: Wait. Trying to piss me off?
Ilsa realizes that her anger was what dispelled the fear holding her motionless earlier.
Ilsa: (If he hadn't come, I would have been abducted.)
Ilsa: (And the move that got me free was the one the sergeant used on me during that exam retake. He... saved me.)
Ilsa joined the Society with a career as an agent already behind her. Her strength and ability had brought her a great deal of success.
Thanks to her incredible marksmanship, she had never been in a situation where victory was in doubt. She had never before faced true fear.
Ilsa: (If that's all it took to shake my resolve, then maybe he's right... I'm not ready to be out in the field, risking my life.)
Ilsa: (Argh, I'm so angry at myself! I was all talk. I really am a maggot!)
Ilsa: Well... I won't let it end this way!
Ilsa: ...
The next day, Ilsa stands before Dylan at the training grounds.
Dylan: What are you doing here?
Ilsa: Reporting for training.
Dylan: I thought you were too good to learn from me. Get out.
Ilsa: I apologize for my conduct yesterday. I've seen the error of my ways. Please allow me to learn from you.
Ilsa stands sharply to attention and salutes. The other cadets look at each other blankly, shocked at Ilsa's change in attitude.
Elmer: What the heck happened to Ilsa? She seems like a different person.
Jesse: I'm glad she put her pride aside. I wanted to keep training with her.
Dylan: At ease, Ilsa.
Ilsa: ...
Ilsa: Ow!
Ilsa: Wh-what...
Without a word, Dylan slaps Ilsa's face over and over. Ilsa has no idea how to react.
Ilsa: Sergeant?
Dylan: You turned your back on me once. I have no use for cadets who can't follow their CO's orders!
Ilsa: Aaah!
Jesse: Oh no... Ilsa!
Ilsa: Ngh... Hgh!
Eustace: (Giving up, Ilsa?)
Dylan: Get out of here, maggot! I don't want to see your sniveling face on my training grounds again!
Ilsa: No!
Dylan: Oh, you want some more?
Ilsa: (No way am I backing down. I was too arrogant because of my unblemished record. But I'm going to humble myself and learn everything I can from this man!)
Ilsa: I know now what I have to do, so this is nothing! Doesn't hurt a bit!
Ilsa: No matter what filthy names you call me, or how many times you hit me, I'm going to get you to teach me, Sergeant!
As the slaps continue to land, Ilsa's cheeks redden and swell, and she tastes copper.
However, the determination in her eyes never falters, nor does her gaze stray from Dylan's face.
Dylan: ...
Dylan: You can ice your face after training. Now get in formation.
Dylan walks past Ilsa as if nothing happened and begins barking orders at the cadets.
Ilsa: ...?
Dylan: Still woolgathering, maggot? Get to it!
Ilsa: Yes, sir!
Eustace: (She's changed. What happened?)
Ilsa: One, two, three, four...
Ilsa cranks out her push-ups, ignoring the throbbing pain in her face.
Ilsa: And that's how my Society training started.
  1. That sounds really painful...
  2. It's hard to believe you had a phase like that.

Choose: That sounds really painful...

Ilsa: Yeah... He didn't hold back. It took at least five days for the swelling to go down.
Go to "Continue 1"

Choose: It's hard to believe you had a phase like that.

Ilsa: Well, we were all young once. I barely understood how the world worked.

Continue 1

Ilsa: I'm grateful to that sergeant for breaking down my arrogance.
Ilsa: Resolve can change the course of a person's fate. And it can easily crumble at the crucial moment.
Ilsa: That's not something you can get across in a lecture. An instructor has to carve it into their cadets' flesh and sinew. And do their utmost to bring as many of them as possible back alive.
Ilsa: That is my duty and my calling as an instructor.
Ilsa: Even with the Society gone and the Foe on my heels, my obligations toward my students remain unchanged. I refuse to lose another one of them.
Ilsa's expression is placid, yet filled with determination as unyielding as steel.
Ilsa: I think our destination should be just up ahead...
Monster: Grrr...
Ilsa: Seems like we're not the first ones on the scene. Get ready, (Captain)!

A Drill Sergeant's Duty: Scene 4

In the present day, Ilsa finds boxes of weapons and dark essence shards and deduces the Foe has tracked her down. When (Captain) worries over the toll her life on the run is taking, she trusts the captain with her complaints and her hopes for the future: when the matter of the Society and the Foe is settled and her trainees can stand on their own, she wants to join the Grandcypher crew.

Monster: Gyaarrh...
Ilsa: I thought so. Take a look at this, (Captain).
Ilsa beckons (Captain) to the side of the alley, where a number of boxes are stacked. They peer inside to find them filled with weapons and dark, glittering fragments.
Ilsa: Dark essence shards. This must be what attracted that monster.
Ilsa: I'm willing to bet this stuff is behind all the unnatural monster attacks. And I'll bet double these weapons were manufactured by the Foe.
  1. Then you mean...

Choose: Then you mean...

Ilsa: Yes. The Foe is preparing an all-out assault on my base.
Ilsa: I need to move it right away. Tomorrow the cadets and I will up stakes and get off this island.
(Captain) wonders how many times Ilsa and her charges have gone through this. The drill sergeant shakes her head in weary resignation.
  1. Ilsa, are you okay?

Choose: Ilsa, are you okay?

Ilsa: Absolutely. I already have a location in mind. We've got this process down to a science by now.
Ilsa: Did I get you worried about me, (Captain)? That's why you followed me, isn't it?
"You seemed tired when we saw you this morning," (Captain) tells her.
Ilsa: Haha... You've got a sharp eye, Captain. And here I thought my poker face was flawless.
Ilsa: To be honest, I have a lot more on my plate than I did when I belonged to the Society. Last night, I fell asleep at my desk mid-report, for crying out loud.
Ilsa: I've had tougher missions in the past, but not knowing when this one will end is taking its toll.
(Captain) is unsure how to respond to the revelation that Ilsa has surely been bottling up for a long time. As the captain struggles, Ilsa laughs softly.
Ilsa: Thanks for listening to my bellyaching, (Captain). I feel better having gotten it off my chest.
Ilsa: I have my duty as an instructor. I have the strength to do it. I have my pride and my resolve.
Ilsa: And I won't let this lousy situation drag on forever. I can promise you that.
Ilsa speaks as if she's gotten a second wind, and (Captain) flashes her an encouraging smile.
Ilsa: Not forever. But when exactly I'm going to sort it out, I can't even guess.
Ilsa: Once the Society and the Foe are gone for good, and my cadets can stand on their own two feet... Once everything's settled, I'd like to go on my own journey, wherever the wind takes me...
Ilsa: When that day comes, (Captain), can I come aboard the Grandcypher?
  1. Of course you can!

Choose: Of course you can!

Ilsa: Haha... Thanks. That perked me right up.
Ilsa: I'll do my best, Captain, so I can join you as soon as possible.
The captain and the drill sergeant chat about nothing in particular, enjoying each other's company as they carry the boxes of weapons and dark essence back to Ilsa's base.