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 3: Disguised Treatment

Part 3: Disguised Treatment

When they first met, Kal'tsit didn't like him.

Not.

One.

Bit.

But she had been extremely curious about him.

About what kind of relationship her Sarkaz friend had with him, how he made her feel long-forgotten emotions, and then… about what made him tick.

Her curiosity led her to establish a formal friendship with him in a stable environment where they met every single day to work together in various research projects, and as they days went by while working together, they grew close enough for her to call him a close acquaintance.

But then he went and got himself killed.

Well, not killed – But the Doctor whom she grew close was gone from the moment he went off into that forsaken mission into the depths of Chernobog. All the memories they shared together, all the squabbles, all the riveting, all the meals tighter… all of it was gone.

At least, the Doctor who returned from that mission hadn't closed himself off as he initially did when he joined Babel under Theresa's order. He had actively tried to make it seem as if nothing had occurred to him during that mission, even though Kal'tsit had discerned the truth through his minor actions.

There was a good chance that many other operators had also spotted the difference, but as nobody except Theresa had actually seen the man beneath the helmet, nobody bothered confronting him whenever something slipped his mind.

It only made him all the more… humane(?).

Luckily – or unluckily, depending on who you asked – The Doctor had not forgotten Theresa, or whatever relationship those two shared before Kal'tsit met them… But if she was to be honest with herself, that relationship truly irked her to this day, and it was not because of some stupid emotion known as jealousy.

It irked her because if he had forgotten Theresa after his mission in Chernobog, then maybe… just maybe… neither of the two would've died.

And for a second time when it came to him.

Kal'tsit still didn't know the details of what happened during the most turbulent point of the war, and neither did the remaining higher personnel of Babel, but it was unanimously decided that the only one who could protect their kind leader who wished for the bloodshed to end was their leader's shadow, Theresa's Ghost.

And for a good while, their tactic worked since the Doctor completely stopped several more attempts on the Sarkaz life but for every attempt that was stopped, Theresa would appear more and more tired and drained in their next council meeting.

As her friend, Kal'tsit tried to figure out what was happening to her friend, but the Sarkaz was tight-lipped about her state and always asked her to simply trust in her and the Doctor.

Then the day finally came when Theresis, the opposition's leader, mounted an elaborate attack that would finally take down Babel and put an end to the civil war so the country could move forward once more, yet…

All Theresis and his men found when they reached the inner complex where Theresa was supposed to be hiding in, was Theresa's long dead corpse.

And her Ghost nowhere to be seen.

Thus, the war had finally come to an end, and several more sinister plans born out of filial affection were born but Kal'tsit cared little for those plans.

Because she needed answers. So, even when Kal'tsit mourned the death of her closest friend and the possible salvation for Terra as a whole, she sought the man who should've been protecting Theresa.

And she did find him, far away from where he was supposed to be. With more people that had either died by his hand or sacrificed themselves for him. People whom she had spoken to, questioned… People who had been involved in that god-forsaken mission in Chernobog that took away the Doctor's memories.

But he was in no shape to give her answers. Hell, he couldn't even move without the help of someone else…

The Doctor had similar – if not the same – wounds that had taken the life of Theresa which even for a being as monstrous as him, left him barely clinging to his life.

Kal'tsit had the perfect opportunity to take revenge for her deceased friend. In her head, the notion of the Doctor failing his duty to protect the Sarkaz was just enough judgement to cut his life short but…

Unlike him, who had forgotten all about her, she still cherished all the memories where he made her feel normal.

If that wasn't enough, Kal'tsit truly couldn't bring herself to end his life, because… She had been asked to trust in them.

So, despite her reservations, Kal'tsit did what the crew that died or were killed by the Doctor couldn't do. Take the dying Doctor to the only facility that had brought him back from the brink of death once and hope that when he woke up, she would finally get the answers she deserved.

For both his, Theresa's and Kal'tsit's sake.

But she never was a lucky fellow, perhaps that was the price she had to pay for being a being like herself. In the end, her efforts never paid off. She lost the Doctor who made her feel normal, she lost her best friend and hope for a better future to that same Doctor, and then… she also lost the Doctor who held all the answers she needed.


- 0 - A: RK - 0 -


Kal'tsit reclined back on her office chair and glanced up at the white ceiling, the cold light on the ceiling dilated her pupils as she stretched her sore shoulders for the tenth time after the memories flooded back into her brain. "PRTS, how long until Rhode Island reaches Siesta?"

A comm on her desk buzzed alive, a mechanical light voice whose owner she once knew replied, "16 hours until arrival."

'We'll arrive before next day's dawn.' Kal'tsit rubbed the bridge of her nose, 'I'll have to make sure Amiya doesn't let anyone leave R.I. until we're certain Siesta did receive our letter. I don't need another civil war on my hands."

Had Rhodes Island been the organization from before… the Doctor… returned, perhaps Kal'tsit wouldn't have to worry about such an event as most countries did not believe R.I. to truly have the military might to cause unrest. However, with the Doctor onboard and all that had happened so far and adding to that some of the entities who'd rejoined the paramilitary organization, Kal'tsit wouldn't put it above the countries to label them as a dangerous entity.

As much as Kal'tsit hated to admit it, there were too many Operators in Rhodes Island who worked not for the sake of what the organization believed, but for the… bonds they shared with the Doctor.

'What is it with him and his Charisma to attract such problematic Terrans?' Kal'tsit wondered for what felt like the hundredth time. 'No sooner had Amiya retrieved him from the Sarcophagus and we meet on Lungmen, and he's already managed to fluster the little Lung, Head of L.G.D Special Inspection Unit, into collaborating with Rhodes Island.'

Kal'tsit's nail started tapping the desk, 'I wonder how much time Amiya spent with him outside of my supervision for her to acquire his same kind of Charisma?'

That though tickled her mind from the same memories of their meeting in Lungmen and how Amiya managed to convince Wei Yenwu to follow R.I. plan against Reunion when she, herself, couldn't convince the wizened Lung.

Whatever answer came from that thought, Kal'tsit didn't find it in herself to continue entertaining it. Instead, the feline researcher had an order to deliver to the leader of R.I. before the notice of another vacation spread through the Operators and the organization was engulfed in another ceremonious atmosphere.

Kal'tsit fixed her accessories and clothes into a more presentable appearance before leaving her office in search for her departed friend's hope of a better future – And no, she was not talking about the one who killed Theresa.

"Where is Kal'tsit going?"

Kal'tsit's feline eyes drifted to the ceiling and found the source of the question. A certain hunter she 'found' and convinced into working with her, which somehow clung to the ceiling and gave gravity the middle finger with her skills.

"Red, find Amiya and tell her to meet me in my personal lab." Kal'tsit barely finished her words before the Wolf Hunter disappeared from her vision. 'If only the other Operators were as obedient as her…'

Without the need to find Amiya herself, Kal'tsit went for her personal laboratory located at the floor below her personal office. She took the stairs leading down since they were closer than the elevator at the end of the hallway. Her heels clicked against the metallic stairs; her fingers glided over the handrail before she found her stop over at the push door with a warning sign.

Two fingers pressed against the door which shrilled as it was pushed open, a sound that made Kal'tsit wince.

'Need Closure or Mayer look into improving R.I. facilities...' Kal'tsit massaged one of her feline ears as she continued down the hall towards her laboratory.

"Hey, do you really not remember?"

A distinct voice Kal'tsit hadn't heard in so long echoed from the corner of the hallway up ahead.

"… No."

Then another voice replied, one that she was extremely familiar with. One that she had been thinking and remembering things about for the last few hours.

"Hmmm" The first voice hummed disappointedly, "Do you really not remember? How did you recognize me the last time, then?"

Kal'tsit wasn't one to hide herself, but the answer to the question asked by that woman was one that she herself was curious of. So, she silenced her steps and approached the corner where she could hear the two's conversation perfectly clear.

"Do you dream, W?"

"What has that got to do with your-"

"Do you?"

"Fine, always so pushy. Yeah, why?"

"Do you remember how your dreams ends?"

"Most of the time… I'm not sure where you're going with this."

"Then tell me, do you remember how your dreams starts?"

"…"

"I can't remember either, W."

There was another prolongated silence broken by his baggy and heavy clothes crinkling as he likely searched for something within them before he continued.

"But like everyone else, I still get small visions of what happened in my dreams." His clothes rustled again and Kal'tsit carefully peeked over the corner to see the Doctor holding one of W's trademark bomb remotes, one that he was taking from the vest pocket of one of their most problematic Operators as of late.

"I've seen you before, I've spoken with you before, I've commanded you before, but I don't know you anymore." The Doctor used his other hand to hold onto W's wrist as the Operator made a troubled face, then he flicked the detonator off and placed it back in her hand. "I believe this is yours."

"Tch," W looked away as she snapped her hand out of his grip, a slight redness to her face from anger – Kal'tsit guessed – "You could've just said no, didn't need to be so blunt about it."

"Is that so?" The Doctor tilted his head forward before he resumed his neutral position of hands resting inside his baggy clothes.

"At least you haven't changed much," W whispered but it was loud enough for all of them to hear.

That was the point where Kal'tsit felt like she had heard and dillydallied enough, she walked towards them with a stoic face set in place. As Kal'tsit expected, W – her old, very old acquaintance from her time working with Babel's military – crossed her arms as soon and glared at her.

"Good morning, Kal'tsit." The doctor greeted her much more amiably, with another forward tilt of his head.

"Good morning." Kal'tsit replied without stopping to talk any further since her laboratory was at the end of the hallway and she had no more words to share with either of them.

But their problematic Operator seemed to have another idea in mind.

"Hey, Kal' wait a minute." W called out for her, and Kal'tsit returned the earlier glare from the explosive operator with her own.

"Yes? Oh, and it's Miss Kal'tsit to you."

"Right, still as uptight as ever. This is why everybody said you'd never get a boy-"

A pointy green lance stopped short just of drawing blood from the explosive Operator who smirked in victory.

"I suggest you choose your next words very carefully or need I remind you that you're only here because you're still useful to us and easily replaceable."

"Hmph, acting tough only in front of-"

"W, that's enough." The Doctor tapped Kal'tsit's weapon which broke into a thousand pieces under his touch. "Didn't I ask you to not tease those who don't share your sense of humor?"

'When did he…' Kal'tsit frowned as W pouted and crossed her arms like a petulant child.

"You're no fun…" W huffed before rudely pointing at Kal'tsit with her finger. "You're lucky the Doctor was here this time!"

Plink - gorogorogoro

Kal'tsit and the Doctor stared at the grenade that had fallen from W's sleeve and rolled over the hallway until it came to a stop.

Then everything turned white.


- 0 - A: RK - 0 -


"If you do not set her right the next time, I will have her thrown into the deepest, murkiest jail cell of R.I. where she'll never see the light of the day unless we need her for an operation." Kal'tsit all but yelled at the Doctor changing his scorched clothes behind her, which she was very much doing the same.

"W's already stopped using lethal bombs inside R.I."

Kal'tsit turned her head to glare at the mostly naked back of the Doctor, "I want her using no bombs inside R.I. at all."

"I don't think even I will get her to stop using bombs at all, Kal'tsit." The Doctor responded without looking back and patted the soot off his pale shoulders.

Kal'tsit tsk'ed and returned back to taking off her ruined clothes.

While the explosion had not been lethal to live beings, less so for one such as her, it was still strong enough to blow through the hall's wall and scorch hers and the doctor overly protective gear. It hadn't been the first time an event such as this occurred by the hands of their explosive operator, but it was the first time Kal'tsit had been involved, and as the red from her face had yet to go away – It was clear she was still angry about it.

W was lucky that Kal'tsit had prioritized the safety of the Doctor rather than chasing after her since he had been blown onto his back by the explosion and had trouble standing up on his own. Lucky for him, her laboratory was nearby and Mon3ter was darn too happy to summon itself to carry the Doctor where she could treat his injuries if there were any.

Again, Kal'tsit wondered just how he managed to make Mon3ter be more loyal to him than it was to her! – It was her summon!

"By the way, did you accept Siesta's proposal?"

Kal'tsit kicked off the dress pooled at her feet so it wouldn't get in the way before replying, "I accepted. PRTS estimated will arrive in fifteen hours, but it may take longer before we receive their response verifying our entry."

"So, that's why PRTS changed course earlier…" The Doctor closed the locker on his side, "I hope it'll have a positive effect on the Operators after our last few operations."

Kal'tsit paused at that to glance again at the doctor who had just finished buckling his pants and was holding onto an old version of his protective gear she had saved for research purposes. "Are you still bothered about what happened to her?"

Kal'tsit watched as the doctor's muscles on his back tensed; his lean chest expanded with a long breath before he spoke. "As long as I remember her, I will always be bothered by it." He flexed his hands and forearms, probably in remembrance of the weight of the one he carried and lost that day even her body's heat could've made him lose both limbs.

'As long as you remember, huh…' Kal'tsit's gaze returned to her locker where an old version of her own protective gear sat, one that she hadn't wore since Babel had stopped existing. 'If only you remembered m-"

SLAM

"MISS KAL'TSIT, SORRY FOR BEING LATE I WAS-" Amiya's dashed, screaming, into Kal'tsit laboratory but stopped as soon as the young girl processed the scene in front of her.

The Doctor halfway dressed and Kal'tsit still in her underwear.

"-askjhwdqw-" Amiya fainted.


- 0 - A: RK - 0 -


"No Amiya, it's not what you think." The Doctor placated their younger protegee; both his hands raised in defense. "Kal'tsit and I were in the middle of a treatment."

"Uhuh, as if that wasn't how they called it these days…" Amiya side-glared at the Doctor as he sighed for the hundredth time.

"Amiya," Kal'tsit pinched her protegee's rabbit ear and pulled. "What exactly is this 'it' you're speaking about and who did you hear it from?"

"Ehe… nobody…"

"A-MI-YA."

"WARFARIN, MA-AM!"


- 0 - Part 3 End - 0 -


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