Scenario:Ilsa - Day Before the Storm

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Day Before the Storm

Ilsa is delivering a report to the high commander, when she overhears the word "Foe" come through his transceiver. However, she doesn't waste much time dwelling on the oddity. Instead the drill sergeant returns to her main duty—putting fresh cadets through her grueling brand of conditioning.



Somewhere within the Society headquarters, Ilsa is delivering a progress report about her platoon of cadets.
Ilsa: These are the ones who've passed yesterday's firearm exercises.
High Commander: I see that very well.
A curtain obscures the man addressing Ilsa.
High Commander: Concerning the potential contractors you mentioned earlier, do you have anything else to report?
Ilsa: I've compiled them into a list. Here.
Ilsa slides the document underneath the curtain.
High Commander: Hm. Just three.
Ilsa: They've all passed my test; they wouldn't pose any problems of particular note.
Ilsa: The cadet at the top of the list is quite ambitious and conspicuously powerful. I feel that he has the necessary qualities to be a contractor.
Ilsa: It is my opinion that we should begin live-fire exercises to give him sufficient experience. Afterwards we can test how he responds to the weapon.
High Commander: Well, you're the one with boots on the ground. I'll leave it to your discretion.
Ilsa: Understood, Commander.
The transceiver sitting next to the high commander begins to vibrate.
High Commander: It's me. Yes, that's not a problem. Continue the operation.
Ilsa: ...
(The last time weapons were involved, the brass were in a panic.)
Ilsa: (But now it seems they're only concerned about the coddling of the new units. My, how times have changed.)
Ilsa: Mm?
The words "the Foe" escape the transceiver and float into Ilsa's ear like an electric whisper.
But the sound quality of the device distorts the voice on the other end, and Ilsa is able to pick up on only a few more details.
High Commander: Mmm... So it has come to that after all...
Ilsa: (It's rare for the commander to brood this much.)
Ilsa: (And this informant spoke about a gun or something. Do the Foe's weapons pose a problem?)
Ilsa: (We're caught in something...)
High Commander: Got it. Continue the investigation. But do it in total secrecy.
Ilsa: Commander, is an emergency dispatch required?
High Commander: No. And this doesn't involve you.
Ilsa: Understood, sir.
High Commander: If that's it for your report, get back to the drills.
Ilsa: Sir, yes, sir!
Ilsa: (I should have known he wouldn't talk to me.)
After saluting her superior, Ilsa turns and heads for the office door.
The high commander raises an eyebrow when he catches a glimpse of Ilsa's gun, Nybeth, holstered on her hip.
High Commander: No... Wait, Sergeant.
Ilsa: ...?
Ilsa: Yes, Commander.
She briskly returns to the curtain.
High Commander: You mentioned something about starting live-fire exercises with one of the potential contractors, correct?
High Commander: Then I have the perfect assignment. Tomorrow you'll go with that cadet to complete it.
Ilsa: Understood. What does this assignment entail?
High Commander: Take care of the Foe, who's been causing grief in the city. Catch up with Zeta and Vaseraga. They'll have the details.
Ilsa: Those two can't handle it on their own?
High Commander: I don't recall giving you permission to ask questions.
Ilsa: Apologies, Commander.
High Commander: I admire your zeal as a sergeant, but don't patronize me.
High Commander: I know that potential contractors are precious. I wouldn't send them on risky assignments.
High Commander: It would help them grow faster to see qualified contractors in the field. That's all I was thinking.
Ilsa: ...
Ilsa regards the high commander's actions as too kind.
Even if the Society has been growing softer on newer units for quite some time, it seems unnatural to her that mere cadets would be given assignments normally reserved for full-fledged contractors.
Ilsa: (The contractors are the Society's secret weapon. If something were to happen to them, it would be a grave loss for us.)
Ilsa: (Hmm... I'm overthinking things.)
Ilsa: Understood. Thank you for the opportunity, sir.
High Commander: Now, back to the drills.
Ilsa: Yes, sir.
After leaving the office, Ilsa heads to an empty dressing room. She sits in front of a mirror and begins rebraiding her hair.
Ilsa: ...
Staring intently at her reflection, she begins to mutter under her breath as if reciting an incantation.
Ilsa: Don't be afraid of being hated. You're a drill sergeant.
Ilsa: If they hate you, if they fear you, then they're learning. You're teaching them the mindset they need to survive.
Educating recently recruited cadets is not a task for the faint of heart.
Faltering on the battlefield leads to death. Expressing this sentiment through words is simple enough, but training inexperienced bodies to appropriately react in a dire situation is a monumental task.
Ilsa: Root out incompetence by any means necessary. That is my mission, and I must do it without exception.
Ilsa: There is no shame in forging weak iron into strong steel. And to do that, you need to put a barrier between you and them.
These words are always her first step in putting up that barrier. She needs this ceremony to perform her duties.
As a drill sergeant of merit, she continues to repeat this secret ritual every day so that she never forgets what she must do for the new recruits.
Ilsa: Never accept those that aren't prepared. Never give up until they're ready.
Ilsa: Don't let those that are ready slack off. Never be afraid to straighten out an arrogant cadet.
Ilsa: ...
Having completed reciting her mantra, Ilsa gives her cheeks a quick smack.
Ilsa: Now. Time to go whip those weak-willed worms into shape.
She gathers the equipment she needs for training, raises her chin high, and exits the dressing room.
Ilsa: Line up, maggots!
Trainee 1: Yes, Drill Sergeant!
Ilsa: You did well on the test.
Ilsa: Especially the three that passed—most impressive. It looks like some of you may have graduated from maggot to fruit fly.
Trainee 1: ...!
Ilsa: But only three passed. Make no mistake—the rest of you are maggots through and through.
Ilsa: You're the kind of insects that crawl out of their holes only to die under the foot of some clumsy kid.
Ilsa: I didn't ask for this unit. You're all crap piled on crap, a cesspool so vile not even flies would want to buzz around you worthless lot.
Ilsa: Somebody want to explain how this happened? If any of you are happy wallowing in your filth and disgrace, then go home! Go back to the countryside and live life like the pigs you are!
Thoroughly berated by their drill instructor, the recruits stand lip-locked and tight-faced.
Ilsa walks patiently down the line, stopping in front of each cadet and peering directly into their face.
Ilsa: Today we're doing fundamentals! Drop and give me three hundred!
Ilsa: You're worthless dung now, but you'll work until you're at least worth fertilizer! Begin!
Trainee 1: Ma'am, yes, ma'am!
Ilsa: You! Kid Clueless!
Trainee 1: Yes, Drill Sergeant, ma'am!
Ilsa: You've got a special assignment. Be glad! We leave tomorrow at sun up.
Trainee 1: R-really?
Ilsa: Yes. And depending on your performance, we'll determine whether or not you're ready to become a contractor.
Ilsa: You'd better come with everything you've got! Understood?
Trainee 1: Yes, Drill Sergeant!
Ilsa: Good. Get back to training.
Trainee 1: Drill Sergeant, permission to ask a question!
Ilsa: I told you to get back to your training. I have no time for crap, or I'll make you eat dirt!
Trainee 1: Sergeant, please allow me to speak. I have to say something.
Trainee 1: Please!
Ilsa: Oh? Spit it out.
Trainee 1: You've been an incredible instructor, ma'am...
Trainee 1: Permission to express my gratitude!
Ilsa: Perhaps I should reconsider whether you're actually fit for the privilege of an assignment! Do you mistakenly think you've already been selected to be a contractor?
Trainee 1: No, ma'am! I just wanted to do something to show you my thanks!
Ilsa: Humph! Is this supposed to be flattery? I won't go any easier on you.
Ilsa: But fine. I'll let you do a job for me. This way.
Trainee 1: Yes, ma'am!
The two pass by cadets struggling to finish their pushups, as they make their way to the corner of the field.
Ilsa: After training has concluded for the day, run into town and get my cream puffs.
Trainee 1: Ma'am? Cream... puffs?
Ilsa: I don't have time to buy them myself. After I'm finished working with all the crapdets out here, the shop will have already closed.
Ilsa: You'll go in my place. If I don't have my cream puffs soon, I'll die.
Trainee 1: Yes... ma'am...
Ilsa: Cream-filled and berry. Two of each. And I want them in the shapes of swans. Got it?
Trainee 1: Ma'am, yes, ma'am!
Ilsa: Consider this a part of your training. If you don't make it before the store closes, you'll have slop for dinner, Kid Clueless!
Trainee 1: Understood, Sergeant!
Ilsa: Dismissed!
Trainee 1: Ma'am!
The trainee turns away from Ilsa and begins to smile broadly before heading back to do pushups with the others.
Ilsa: (Don't you dare let this chance escape.)
Trainee 2: Groan... Fifty-one, fifty-two...
Ilsa: Mm? You! What's the problem!
Ilsa: Maggot, have you injured your elbow? Who told you to destroy your arm! That's one lap around the warehouse!
Trainee 2: Yes, ma'am! Right away, Sergeant!
Ilsa: (This job would be easier if it weren't for these fresh idiots who don't know the difference between persistence and foolishness.)
The sun begins to set on the training field, but Ilsa continues pushing the cadets until the last golden ray disappears over the horizon.