Victory Is Not All Success (Arcadia)

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Victory Is Not All Success (Arcadia)
Date of Cutscene: 03 February 2020
Location: Argo Alexandria
Synopsis: Aftermath of a mission that turned (to her) unusual.
Cast of Characters: Arcadia

There was no fanfare of arrival. No flashy display of aerial maneuvers to announce that she had returned to Argo Alexandria. Arcadia just glided to the platform, unusually solemn and quiet for the energetic sphinx. The usual gathering of Technocracy officers and technicians was there to meet her but she only gave the vaguest of acknowledgement before skulking into the tower.

The men and woman looked at each other in confusion. Before Arcadia had only acted like that when she returned from a mission severely damaged. But she was visible unharmed save a few scratches and dents. They didn't realize she had been hurt by something a bit deeper than battle damage this time. As she made her way through the facility the hierarchy buzzed her comm for the standard mission report. She responded that the threat to that world had been neutralized, but complications had occurred. She would provide more thorough details after having a chance to recharge her reserves. They accepted this, and would wait.

Arcadia slipped into the small chamber that was her personal space. The guardian spent so little time in the room outside resting that it was pretty sparse and utilitarian. She didn't even really need to sleep, but it was the fastest way to recharge her arcane reserves. Magitek armor was dismissed, her wings collapsing down into smaller casings that mimiced the look of biological ones, and the sphinx flopped in the berth with a sigh.

The threat had been neutralized, Onyx Witch disabled before she went on a potentially devastating rampage. That was technically victory conditions. She had wanted to go down in a fight, and until the end that was what happened.

But what the other group of defenders had done to suppress her through insistent compassion and physical comfort had completely baffled her. Arcadia had been made and trained to fight until she won. This alternate method was alien to her, as was that it somehow seemed to work, and the fading magical girl was whisked away before someone that, somehow, moved even faster than she did. Onyx Witch had dropped her magic rod, and in Arcadia's confusion a reflex hardwired through experience had kicked in, seeing it as a source of power for the target. She blasted the wand with her weaponized magic, destroying it. Only afterwards fully realizing what she had done. Lezard had wanted to claim the magic device, but she blasted it to dust first. The threat had been neutralized, but in doing so she had in the flash of the moment unintentionally undermined the interests of an ally. Allies she was suppose to be impressing, proving the worth of herself and the city she served to. It had stung hard, harder the damage from battle. It was just, much like the whole winning through compassion, a situation she was not familiar dealing with due to working alone most of the time before the Concord.

By now she had a chance to think about it more clearly as she laid in private. Paws clenched into fists for a moment, and slammed on the frame of the berth in a moment of venting frustration, and then Arcadia slumped into the berth. She couldn't let this hold her down when nothing had before. It happened, it would be a setback, but she would just have to work harder to make up for it. Work harder to de-train some of the routines that were no longer appropriate to the current state of affairs. Learn from the mistake. Adapt, and rise higher than before.

Satisfied with that for now, she curled up and let the recharge sequence take over, thoughts simmering down in the closest state to sleep that she had.