Arknights: Rekindling

Description: Kal'tsit knows the past is the past, but the Doctor is the living reminder that the past continues to exist in the present, will she learn to finally let go of the past, or will she embrace it? - Kal'tsit x Doctor short story.

Commission by: Palik


Part 1: Evil Spirit of Babel.

Theresa was kind, merciful, somewhat naïve, and an optimist… but she was also a realist. She knew ideals weren't always enough. That sometimes, only through hard work and blood alone, could an ideal become a reality.

Such mindset was the true reason the Doctor never left her side.

If she was a benevolent spirit sowing seeds for the future of Terra, then the Doctor was the evil spirit irrigating Terra's lands with blood.

It didn't matter how flowery the higher ups of Babel tried to paint the picture of the unified future, most if not all members of Babel already had blood in their hands. True, some got their hands dirty by doing acts of good faith, others may have gotten their hands bloodied for giving peace to their infected friends, while others simply followed orders.

Orders…

Like the ones the Doctor followed.

Not by the council and certainly not by other comrades, no.

The Doctor followed orders by Theresa and Theresa alone.

Sure, he would complete the missions assigned to him on the daily and monthly, but Ghost would complete them following his own ruleset. His streak of success left little doubt in the minds of his superiors that leaving an entire task up to him alone was the best choice.

It was only Theresa's words alone that made him change his mind and plans.

And it was Theresa alone who chose when Doctor's hands would spill blood.

As all high priority targets, Theresa never lacked attempts at her life. In fact, one could say that due to how oblivious she could be at times, and how trusting she was of others, she was rather an easy target.

Were it not for the Ghost in her shadows.

Kal'tsit would never forget the first night she found out about Doctor's imposed task by Theresa to protect the Sarkaz life.

It had been a night where after Kal'tsit had many failures trying to find a stronger serum to slow down the infection of Oripathy, she felt like visiting the naïve and talkative Sarkaz that was both her superior and her friend.

The feline doctor had been incredibly tired at the time but still had enough presence of mind to bring with her two cups of coffee and a tray of leftover cookies to snack on while listening to her friend, but color her surprised when Babel's intruder alarm went off after not being active for two months straight.

There were only three places Kal'tsit cared about whenever that alarm went off. One was her personal lab, the second was the medical bay with her patients, and the third was her friend's bedroom.

In a split-second decision, Kal'tsit went towards the last place she cared about most as it was the closest to her at the time. Her spine tingled, a sign of her Arts all but ready to be used at a moment's notice.

Only to come upon a scene straight out of a horror movie.

The hallway outside of Theresa's bedroom was covered in blood from ceiling to floor, splatters of what used to be someone smeared across the wall with some bits still coming off of it.

And Ghost standing right in the middle of it, a syringe out of all things in his hand.

"Is it over?" Theresa's emotionless voice came from the bedroom.

"Yes."

"Did you get all of them?" Theresa asked again, her face propped out from the doorframe.

"One escaped."

The Sarkaz, leader of Babel, stepped out from her personal chambers dressed in what could be considered a royal nightgown of the whitest colors… with several blood splotches all across her nightwear.

"Find him and interrogate him"

The Ghost turned towards Theresa, "Restrictions?"

"… Do what you must."

"Understood."

The Ghost walked off into the opposite direction Kal'tsit had come in, for a second she believed him to be using an Arts of his own due to how the lights flickered as he walked off into total darkness, and only once his back was out of Kal'tsit sight did she realize the breath she'd been holding in.

"Oh, Kal…" The Sarkaz called her out and moved towards her, unbothered by her naked feet and gown touching the crimson pool between them. "I didn't see you there."

"Theresa, what happened?"

"The timeline is moving forward a bit faster than we expected," Theresa enigmatically replied while fixing her hair. "But don't worry, we're ready for what needs to be done."

Kal'tsit had back then thought that Theresa's use of 'we' meant the organization of Babel… She had been wrong.

The day after that incident, there was a mass purging of an entire branch of Babel that had been feeding their opposition several documents about their research and future plans. To the public, the mass purge was labelled as a laboratory incident where a reactive with Oripathic properties exploded and accelerated the infection of all the personnel involved.

Forty eight members of Babel didn't live to see the light of dawn.

Thirteen of which had been researchers Kal'tsit had worked with not a day earlier, seven that she had sat with to eat her meals from time to time, and one… that used to be another leading commander of Babel.

One that used to be a monster as old as her.

Perhaps, not as powerful as her, but certainly capable of altering the landscape if he tried.

But all that power meant nothing to the one known as Ghost. In the end, it only took that one night for the Doctor to purge that branch of Babel with Theresa's permission, and for the leader of Babel to not bat an eyelash when the report was given to the rest of the council.

It was thanks to that incident that Kal'tsit understood why she had felt fear when Theresa introduced the Doctor to them.

To him… Arts, lineage, heritage, size, shape, form, none of that mattered. If Theresa asked him to get rid of someone, he would find a way.

Kal'tsit found it somewhat humbling when she learnt that to the Doctor, everyone was but another living being struggling to see the light of the next day…

A light that he could snuff at will.

Fear turned into curiosity then.

'Perhaps, if it's him… There's a chance he'll understand what it's like to be someone like me.'

In a twisted sort of way, Kal'tsit and Doctor were not so different.

The feline researched had lived an extremely long life, a life that had been lonely at times due to nobody being able to understand what it was like to be in her shoes, to have the power and knowledge that she possessed, to have people cower in fear at her mere presence.

Thus…

"Oh dear, it's the first time you've asked something from me!" Theresa excitedly giggled as she grasped Kal'tsit hands, the latter being rather uncomfortable with the gentle act. "What is it!?"

"… It's about Doctor…"

"Go on!" Theresa smiled like a child playing with her favorite toy.

"Since we've lost several researchers during the last purge, I've found myself in need of competent coworkers."

"Uh huh, and?"

"…"

":)"

"…"

"x)"

"… I'm making the formal petition to have the best Oripathy researcher from branch 3O moved to mine."

"Consider it done, my friend!" Theresa gleefully took the paper from Kal'tsit hands. She plucked a stamp from somewhere and immediately signed it. "Also, just between you and me… He prefers his coffee without sugar."

"… I didn't ask for that." Kal'tsit retrieved the papers and turned away from her giggling friend. "But I'll keep it in mind."

By working together with the man known as Ghost, Kal'tsit learned what it was like to feel normal.

Sure, they weren't exactly the most normal or sane of people, less so with how heated their debates about Oripathy could become or the kind of problems they had to deal outside of the public's eye, but there was no mistaking how Kal'tsit felt at ease around him after all that.

Finally, there was someone who hadn't treated her words as if it was the law.

Finally, there was someone who didn't fear her for simply being her.

Kal'tsit could finally talk with someone other than Theresa about mundane things, about her world view of Terra's future.

Because for once, it seemed like Kal'tsit life wouldn't be one where she alone was the feared one.

But as Theresa had foretold, the timeline simply moved faster.

Theresa assigned the Doctor a mission — No, not to the Doctor — But to the Evil Spirit of Babel.

One month with no word from the Evil Spirit.

Then Babel received an emergency message from somewhere within Chernobog.

Ghost had fulfilled his mission and barely escaped with his life.


- 0 - Part 1 End - 0 -

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