Broken Ice (Ren Tanaka)

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Broken Ice (Ren Tanaka)
Date of Cutscene: 31 March 2014
Location: Sapporo, Asian Plains
Synopsis: Scenes from the life of a traveller....
Cast of Characters: Ren Tanaka


"A few months ago, I found myself in a place called Sapporo. Decent jingisukan. Good snowfall that year, or so the locals told me. Everyone was talking about something called the Battle Rondo. Well, I'm not really one for contact sports or anything like that, but I thought it'd be rude not to immerse myself in the local culture, so I busied myself with finding things out.

Little robots, as I happened to find out. Marvellous things. Little sentient robots called Shinki. Supposedly they're a product until they're activated, at which point they're recognized as people. Never heard anything like it before. Found out a lot of this from one of them, in fact. Name was Mii-chan, called herself 'a Mizuki'. We sat around, I ate some yakitori, she drank this special... shink jelly stuff, you know how people are when it comes to explaining local culture they're proud of.

I really should go back and pay for that food, come to think of it, because we ended up having to dine and dash. All of a sudden all of these poor little things were running around with icicles and clubs, little weapons made of ice, going rather wild and fighting one another. Except it was sort of like the weapons were using them, if you get my meaning. Very finely crafted ice weapons... strange thing.

Mii-chan was a lot more shaken up by it than I expected. I found out it was very poor luck of her to live in Sapporo- hated ice, one year, long back, she was working delivering some of those jelly drinks and the truck got stuck in snow. Now, she was in the back of the vehicle, and when those things start freezing, all swelling up and bursting out of their packaging... yes, that's quite... quite unpleasant. Traumatised her, I think. Winters in Sapporo are not a kind time for her.

Anyway, yes, bit of a dine and dash... and dash, and dash. There were these ice things everywhere. Little ice creatures, same size, same shape as Shinki, just, you know, ice. Chased us all the way to Ishikari Bay. She watched my back the whole way, I kept her calm, we talked our way through this terrible weather that was happening. Winter storm blowing in, I thought, and then I went, no, winter storms don't usually have faces in them.

That's when I realized it. You know how sometimes, if you go walking around in, say, some nasty frozen slush or something like that, and it stains your socks, and then you dry them out and the wet's gone but the dirt's still there? Now, if you've been dealing with wind elementals recently, and one of them may have just happened to explode all over you, you might see where I'm going with this.

A Wadjet Squall, that's what it was. You go into a cold place with wet socks, if you're not careful your socks'll freeze up. You go into a cold place with the essence of something that loves cold on you... well, it might just 'freeze up' again. So we had ourselves a problem.

Now, this particular fellow, very bored fellow. Thought he'd decided to go 'well, seen it all, nothing else left' and explode on me... no, seems I'd been played for a fool. Now he was here, and, you know, he's like a child playing with toys. You see these little walking, talking action figures running around, fighting, and you go to yourself 'I'd like to play with those toys too.' Except as I'd found out, they're not toys, really, are they? As soon as they start walking and talking, they're people.

Problem is, you try and explain that to a storm. I had to, of course, I had to get on a hang-glider and go right into the bay. Not a good place for Shinki, though. Mii had to stay behind. That's when I realised how much of an impression I had on her... she was clinging to my sleeve. Said to me, 'don't go where I can't follow'. But you can't really expect someone to go with you into a situation like that... nothing for it, honestly.

So in I go, eye of the storm. Right into the brains of this Wadjet Squall, so to speak. I say to him, you know, these are people, you have to understand this. That's when I found out he wasn't naive- he just didn't care. He wanted a new experience, so he snuck along unannounced as I went walking away, from one place to another, and he decided he'd come along and do what I did, immerse himself in the local culture. Except he didn't give a care about the local culture, really. Rather unfortunate situation, I'd bitten off more than I could chew again.

That's when Mii showed up anyway. Down on a boat- I wonder to this day, how did she drive it? Small thing. But there she was, and she had rigged up this catapult. She goes and launches all of these jelly cans up, up into the storm, they get picked up, and they... sure enough, they swell up and turn to ice and they burst. And now this elemental's got lots of big objects spinning around, disrupting his wind flow, messing up his currents. It all goes a bit pear-shaped and before you know it there's ice smashing up and his nucleus is disrupted, and he dissipates into... just a big snowstorm, really. And I'm lying face up in the boat.

We go back. Mii's on my shoulder, says she wants to stay with me, wants to be registered. But I just can't do it, you know? I don't... I can't do it. This isn't my place, I say. But you're good, Mii. You've overcome your fear, you could do good things in this city again. You know how to pilot a boat now, which is pretty surprising. There's this stevedore there, seems she knew him. Old friend named Kenpachi. Fellow who was driving the truck, as it turns out. Says they could work together again, he'd take better care of her this time.

Mii looks at me, and again, she says 'will you go where I can't follow?'. I say to her, you've got a bond here with an old friend who's willing to make amends. Don't drop the old for some new flash, Mii. You'll do alright. Where I go, there's snow, and there's wind, and there's sand, and there's vines and swamps and long, long roads, out in the dark, with nobody else for miles around. You don't want to follow where I go.

And so, I leave. She'll do well, will Mii. I hope.

Maybe some day I'll figure out why I said no to her."