Reconnecting (Yuna Kagurazaka)

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Reconnecting (Yuna Kagurazaka)
Date of Cutscene: 17 August 2014
Location: Fraulein Sector: Earth
Synopsis: A chance to catch up with an old friend leads Yuna back to a path from which she had begun to wander away.
Cast of Characters: 385

About a week ago ...

Liavelt von Neuestein, actress and sometime defender of the innocent, is seated outside Paffy's when she hears the voice.

"Lia~!!" calls out Yuna, waving to her friend as she crosses the street from Shiraokadai Station. "It's been far too long - I was so glad to get your invitation! How are you? How's everybody else? I saw that your show's still on the air!"

Lia smiles quietly, closing her magazine and sliding it into her purse as she gets up, greeting Yuna with a close, tight hug. "I'm fine, so are all of our comrades, and yes, we're preparing for our fifth season now." She lets go of the blonde, taking a step back to look Yuna over, still smiling. "You look like you're doing well too. - Have a seat?" she offers, indicating her table.

Yuna beams, "I'd love to - thank you!" She sits down in the offered chair, then blinks at a menu tablet sitting there. "Huh, they serve food besides ice cream now?"

"They have for a while, actually," says Lia. "Their cooking isn't very good, but their sandwiches make a good prelude to the ice cream you're so fond of ..."

And so the two of them converse like the old friends they are, talking about show business - TV in Lia's case, singing in Yuna's - and the travails of dealing with their respective fanbases. But both of them have another job as well, and it was that other role that first led them to meet each other - and, at the time, to fight. It was only after their first and last battle that Lia became one of Yuna's allies, freed from her enforced role as a Fraulein of Darkness and able to ally herself willingly with the Light.

"There's something I was wondering, Yuna ... Are you sure the Union is the right place for you?"

Surprised by the sudden question, Yuna plants her nose squarely into her ice cream cone. "Mmff!!" It takes a few moments for her to recover her dignity and wipe off the stray soft-serve ice cream from her nose and cheeks; by the time she does that, Lia has managed to stifle her unintended mirth at the mishap. "That wasn't funny, Lia ..."

"I'm sorry, really, Yuna," Lia apologizes, her chuckles coming to a quick halt and leaving a gentle, friendly look on her face, albeit a slightly sheepish one. "I wasn't trying to joke, either. It's just ... have you been following news about yourself?"

"Not really," admits Yuna. "Should I have been? I've been so busy with the Union -"

"That's ..." Lia winces, then lets out a quiet sigh. "That's actually part of what worries me. You've been with the Union so long - not that I think you shouldn't be, but ... you've never been the sort of girl to join any military." She sits back in her chair. "I still remember a girl who, despite the fact that her home city was going to be destroyed, despite seeing a plasma cyclone spreading outwards from the hospital, didn't think first of 'containing the storm' or even of 'saving the city,' but who thought instead, 'that girl is crying.' When everyone else turned their attention and their powers towards trying to stop the storm from expanding, that girl ran right *into* the storm with no thought for her own safety. And the storm stopped after that."

Yuna has fallen completely silent now, staring into the mouth of her ice cream cone.

"It's the same girl who was accused, some months before that, of wanting to conquer the Galaxy for her own, who had a small army of other super-powered young ladies and a giant robot who could have swept through any opposing army, and numbered among her friends one monarch of an ancient interstellar kingdom, and the artificial intelligence who commanded a planet-busting warship." Lia reaches across the table, squeezing Yuna's free hand with her own. "And who *couldn't* have been the impostor who was sent to 'back up' the claims ... because the *real* Yuna was risking her life to save a puppy from drowning in a canal at the time, and the whole city came to help her."

"What happened to that girl, Yuna? What happened to *you*? I hear your name on the news, but I don't recognize the girl who has your face ..."

Yuna's gaze has dropped to her lap by now. "If you've been watching the news, you should know," she says bitterly. "And even before that - Ayako first, then the crisis in the Holy Empire ... the Night of Blue Stars ..." She trails off. "I can't afford to be that girl any more, can I?"

Lia shakes her head, squeezing Yuna's hand. "You can't afford NOT to be that girl. Yuna, you were chosen - Elner was sent to make you the Savior of Light for a *reason*. *You* were the one who was chosen, and it wasn't just because the other candidates had been swept away by the Queen of Darkness. It's the other way around, really; the Queen of Light had marked you even before sending her Emissary to find you and equip you as the Savior of Light. A girl who was less merciful, whose heart wasn't ablaze with compassion for all others, could never have been chosen; the Queen of Darkness would have caught her, too."

"But ... the Confederacy -"

"I won't deny that the Confederacy is a terrifying threat to the free worlds of the Multiverse," Lia concedes. "But Yuna - you cannot fight against violence *with* violence. You've known that longer than any of us. You can't let yourself forget it just because it's simpler in the short term."

Lia gives Yuna's hand another squeeze, then draws it back and sits up. "Queen Ryudia asked me to pass a message to you, by the way."

"She did?" Yuna blinks at the seeming non sequitur. "What's the message?" she asks before taking a careful bite out of what remains of her cone.

Rather than speaking, Lia fishes in her purse and places a cylindrical case in front of Yuna. "It's best for you to read it for yourself. You should send a reply to her as soon as you've read it - interstellar radio will do; Elner should be able to reach her if your cruiser's communications array can't."

"Uh, right ..." Yuna glances between her soft-serve cone and the long, round case, and focuses on finishing her ice cream first. She can't help but wonder what's inside ...

But after she and Lia have finished eating, said good-bye (and promised to meet again soon), and gone their separate ways, Yuna opens it up and takes a look at the scroll inside. The titles inscribed at the start of the scroll make her eyes cross; they're not even in Japanese although the inscription *looks* sort of like kanji. The characters for 'Savior of Light' catch her eye, though. "Elner? Can you help me read this?" she asks the empty air.

Air which doesn't stay empty; Elner of Wisdom blinks in next to Yuna, looking over her shoulder at the scroll. "It's from Queen Ryudia, isn't it?" the robo-faerie inquires.

"Yeah, how did you -"

"'From Queen Ryudia, former Savior of Light,'" Elner starts reading. "'To Yuna Kagurazaka, current bearer of the Savior of Light's title and duties, chosen champion of the Queen of Light:

"'We send our greetings and best wishes to you, Yuna, and seek that you may meet us soon, at a time of your convenience, on the planet known presently as Ruliezes -' Ah, I see what she's talking about ..."

Yuna blinks, lowering the scroll. "You can read this?"

"Of course," Elner answers. "It's Ancient Galactic, the traditional language of formal interplanetary communications. I'm not surprised that you haven't learned it yet, but you really should try to study it. Should I read more?"

"Um ..." Yuna looks at the scroll again. "At a time of my convenience on ... Ruliezes - wasn't that where we met Marina? The jungle planet? What was the system called, Kape-something?"

"Right," states Elner. "I think - yes, she needs you to meet her at the ruins there, where you ran into Aleftina the first time. You'd better head back to your cruiser and get in touch with her. We don't need to go there immediately, but ... soon, in any case."

Yuna shakes her head a bit, rolling the scroll up and sliding it into its case again. "I should be able to meet her later this week. - Hey, were you listening in when I was talking to Lia?"

"No. Did she say something I should have heard?"

"Mmm ..." Yuna pauses, then shakes her head. "Maybe not ... she just thought maybe I shouldn't be in the Union."

"If I may be direct ..."

Yuna quirks an eyebrow at the robo-faerie as she waits for the light to change. "You've never had to ask."

"She's right. Enlisted rank in the Union has not done you any favors."

"Not you too," groans Yuna.

"Yuna, advising you and guiding you is a core part of my role," Elner chides her. "But perhaps I should have said that Lia is *partly* right. There's nowhere you really could be apart from the Union ... but you shouldn't be holding rank. You had Ally status with them before; you could resign your rank and return to being an Ally with no harm done."

"... maybe," murmurs Yuna. "It just ... I dunno. Let me think about it."

And think about it she does, for the duration of the journey back to core Union territory. But before Yuna goes to bed that night, a short e-mail has gone to Union Command.

And by the time Yuna awakens the next morning, a reply has been sent, acknowledging her resignation from Ensign rank and her resumption of Ally status within the Union Armed Forces.