"Okay, the mission was a success. The base was destroyed, Wesker and his little group are dead, and the Devil's Machine has been blown to bits. We have rescued almost half of our missing soldiers, and Gordon's getting them fixed up now. Pyramid Head is AWOL, boss is gonna send a scout party to look for him. Otherwise, nothing really to report. OK, that's done. "
Casey rushed over to the Medical Pavilion as soon as she could. The irony that she was rushing back to the place she had been imprisoned in when all this started didn't escape her, but she didn't want to think about that right now. She had to make sure Link was ok.
She finally arrived at the hospital, where Link had been dropped off the second the rescue team had brought them back to Rapture. She quickly found the room Link was staying in. It was easy to find, considering that Mario and Aven were outside arguing.
"There is no way that someone who scrubs toilets for a living should be in charge of medicine! Not for him!"
"For the third time, Aven, I'm just consulting! I worked as a doctor's assistant for a full year."
"And THAT gives you qualification to treat a soldier's wounds?"
"I'm not treating, I'm…"
Casey brushed past them, interrupting their argument as she bolted into Link's room. She froze in the doorway for a nanosecond, surprised at how badly Link had been hurt. His arms and legs were in casts, and there were multiple bruises on his face and chest. He had taken a very bad fall when Ganon had been killed, and now he looked like a broken toy.
Masha was right next to him, holding a red balloon for comfort. The crooked little girl turned to Casey. "He's still sleeping. Want to wait here?"
Casey was nervous, but on seeing Link exhale softly she breathed a sigh of relief. With nothing else to do, she took a seat. She'd wait as long as she needed to.
"Douglas, I need you to find another person for me. Her name is Brigid Tenenbaum, a former geneticist of Rapture. A photograph will be in the enclosed document. She's gone into hiding on the surface, likely with a man named Charles Milton Porter, photo also included. She's the expert on Little Sisters, and we'll need her expertise to treat Masha. Contact me as soon as you can once you find her."
Arbiter was relaying the details of what had happened at the power plant to Sofia Lamb. When he got to the part about the encounter with Robotnik, he became quiet and made himself sit down.
Before Sofia could open her mouth, Arbiter interrupted her. "I do not want therapy. I do not need comfort. I do not need your help. What happened with Rtas was…unfortunate, but…what I did was necessary. He would have rather died than live in that enslaved state."
Sofia nodded. "Of course."
There was a long silence, neither of the two commanders looking at each other. Arbiter tried to distract himself by watching a Jellicent float by the window, but it didn't work for long. There was something that had been bothering him for a while now, and he had to voice it.
"How can I say that for Rtas when I had Gordon control the SWATbots? Does that make me a hypocrite? Gordon's freed some of the soldiers already, and they are not happy about what happened."
"You saved their lives. If you hadn't taken control, they would've killed you or gotten themselves killed."
"True, but…" Arbiter was acting unusually quiet. "I do not know. Considering how strange this assignment has been…"
Sofia stopped him. "If you really are confused, perhaps you should rest. There will be another assignment sooner or later, and you will need to be at your best."
Arbiter sighed. "I suppose you're right."
"I've given similar orders to the rest of the operatives. After this particular assignment, they need a rest."
"Now, if you're ready to continue..."
"I appreciate your concerns, Sofia. Especially considering that many of the soldiers are leaving. However, I can safely assure you that the Coalition has no plans to dissolve the League. There's still a lot of situations on Earth that need to be resolved, and the Coalition's forces are still busy offworld. However, the operatives are free to leave if they see fit. Please inform them of that."
Casey waited for hours with Masha for Link to wake up. After Mario had left to help with some of the soldiers, Aven waited outside the door. Masha noticed that he was pacing just outside the door and tried to hand him a balloon, but he declined as politely as he could.
So it was just the three of them (technically four, but Casey doubted that the Rumbler could grasp what they were doing) were waiting for their friend to wake up. It felt like hours, with Casey drumming her fingers on the bottle she had gotten from his room. Aven never sat down, and kept pacing right outside the door. It was starting to get irritating just as Link made a noise.
Everyone froze. At first, they though he might just be talking in his sleep, but it quickly became clear he was waking up. His eyes wearily blinked open, and everyone breathed a huge sigh of relief.
Masha, of course, was ecstatic. "YAAAAAAY! You're up, Mr. Woof!" she bounded right up to Link, celebrating his resurrection with all her natural giddiness. The sight made Aven crack a reluctant smile before he walked away.
"Yuh-yes…" Link chuckled, wincing as the pain returned. Casey promptly ran up to him.
"H-here, boss said this'll help." She presented the red bottle she got from Link's room. With both Link's arms in casts, she had to open the bottle and carefully pour the drink into his mouth. He lapped up the potion as heartily as she could.
When she pulled the bottle away, she could see that the potion was definitely working. Maybe it was just her seeing things, but some of the bruises were fading from his face. His smile was definitely back, and he looked up at Casey with a bright face. It was as if he wasn't hurt at all.
Casey playfully shoved his shoulder that wasn't wounded. "Don't do that! You had us all worried."
Link winced. The potion was magic, but there was only so much it could do. "Careful…"
Caset immediately felt incredibly guilty. "Oh shit, sorry, sorry…"
"I'm okay, okay…" Link smiled wanly. "How is everyone else?"
Masha gave her crooked smile. "You bet! They're all sleeping."
"Well…yeah, they're resting." Casey corrected. "Everybody is getting some rest after that mess with Giygas."
"I imagine." Link remarked. "The solders?"
"Gordon's getting them fixed up. Doing some good stuff. From what I hear, a lot of 'em might be leaving after this."
Link sighed. He couldn't blame them. But then something crossed his mind. "What about you? Will you leave?"
The question caught Casey off guard. "Um…I…well, Sofia asked me about it. I thought about it, but…after all this, I don't think I can go back to playing at Las Venturas." Shrugging, she turned the question back. "How about you?"
Link shook his head. "I…don't think so. I…think I can do good here. More good. I'm not sure if there is anything at Hyrule for me…I don't know what to feel."
Casey chuckled slightly. "I know. I guess…me too." Smiling, she looked Link in the eyes. "Truth is…there's something here I wanna stay for."
Link nodded, agreeing. "Y-yeah." There was something here for him.
Masha blinked, confused. Why were the grown-ups staring at each other like that? It was weird, like she wasn't in the room. "Ummm…"
Suddenly reminded of the younger presence, Link and Casey started laughing nervously and tried to change the subject. "Well…anyway, I got something else for you." Casey dug into her pocket for a second and produced a small blue instrument. The Ocarina Link had gotten from his ancestor's tomb. "Here…you should have this."
Link smiled that smile of his. "Thanks…it's special."
"I bet." Casey nodded.
Link smiled. "Could you…play something? I can't…need fingers."
Casey paused for a second, unsure. Then she agreed. "Sure. What…what would you like to hear?"
Link thought for a few minutes. "Something…something about the future. About what will happen next."
Masha smiled. "Yeah, that sounds great! Something like that. Do you know any songs like that?"
Casey glanced at the Ocarina. An odd request, especially for an instrumental piece. Besides, she didn't really know what would happen next. The future was a big blank, all things considered. The League, her and Link…Maybe it'd be good, maybe It wouldn't go so well. But…
"You know? I've got the perfect song for that."
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