A/N: So I decided this wouldn't be such a one-shot after all. Behold a more cautious Miho, and one more prone to underhanded methods, including using any and all goodwill she accrues. After all, if Kuromorimine and history lessons taught her one thing, it was that tactics weren't always enough, sometimes, pure armour + firepower (see Raseiniai), and other times, operational-level coordination (Operation Bagration and the Battle of the Bulge) were important too. Also, many more nightmares and some dream synchrony lie in wait for our victims… I mean crews here MWAHAHAHA. Anglerfish Team will also have a notable common fear of barbecues and meats prepared using ovens, I wonder why…
Just watched GuP, with Episode 10… Clearly Hana's flower arrangement represents a typical Catastrophic Kill. On Episode 11: This is why Fail-Platooning happens in WoT, I suppose *insert trollface here*. Episode 12: Yukari activated Adrenaline Rush perk! About the prequel manga, Emi could not be any more Severa-like (from Fire Emblem: Awakening) if she tried, right down to the red hair in two tails and even her mother has a hairstyle/colour similar to Cordelia's too (but not quite as impractically long)… someone needs to sue someone for character theft, depending on who put their stuff out first (the manga or the game).
Note: I'm writing this because I want to practice my tactical manoeuvre writing before continuing the SI Archives/Harmony Shepard series, am currently too tired to pick up the huge universe (so much to keep track of…) I built in my SupCom crossover series, and don't want to wait for Season 2 of RWBY. At last, a completed work I can use without attachments to any of my other works, how wonderful… how FREE. Also, Fire Emblem, well… that trololol needs time to ferment.
For the Record: I honestly think the opening sequence for Girls und Panzer abridged by Gunmetal Stug on YouTube is better than the opening for the actual show.
Chapter 2: Trolled By Fate
SS (School Ship) Ooarai
Miho Nishizumi flinched as she walked by a bakery "The smell of fresh bread is always good… but the ovens that must be in there…" heat… enclosed spaces, steel walls… she shivered slightly, still affected by the horrible nightmare—or was it some sort of premonition?—that had woken her up and made her feel to sick to eat any breakfast. "Hmm, we don't have any of those around my house…" she tried to distract herself with some of the stuff in the front window of a convenience store she passed, but failed, as she managed to stop just short of walking face-first into a sign featuring anglerfish-faced pedestrians as a warning sign for vehicle drivers "Heh, that's kind of cute…" The thought of a pink stylized anglerfish painted on the side of the turret of a disabled and burning Panzer 4 Ausf. D entered her mind and terminated that thought abruptly.
"I wonder what we'll watch today…" A group of three girls in the same school uniform walked past her
"What should we get after school?"
"We just ate breakfast and now it's all we're thinking about." One of the girls laughed
I hope the school doesn't have too much in terms of cliques… so that I can slot into the social life instead of being the outcast… Miho thought. At least they seemed reasonably amicable… we'll see how they deal with strangers soon enough.
Saori met up with Hana where they'd agreed to. Neither talking about the nightmare they'd had that night, preferring to keep it out of sight and out of mind… until the former registered the presence of someone's face on their class list. "That… that face…" Saori muttered.
"Which…" Hana went dead silent as she stared, before raising a shaking finger and tapping on one Miho Nishizumi's photo, "that one?"
"Hana… are you okay?"
"I… I'm fine."
Saori puffed up her cheeks, since this was really bothering Hana and she wanted to get to the bottom of it. "Don't lie to me!"
"I just had a funny dream, that's all." The mental image of feeling her guts squelch around her fingers in the gaping hole that bored out most of her ribcage, and then later the smell of cooking, burning flesh left Hana feeling cold and clammy and was most certainly NOT "funny" in any, way, shape or form to her.
"Did it involve us dying?"
"…How did you…"
"I had a nightmare too, did it involve Tankery?" Saori was looking even more wide-eyed than usual.
Hana felt very disturbed by this point "…Yes…" Dream synchrony only happens in myths and legends, right? Was it… was it a premonition? Am I going to die this year? No, no, however freaky it is, if we know it's potentially coming then we can avoid it by side-step. Broad gestures to change any perceived fate generally backfire, but sidesteps don't, at least, in fictional settings, which are the only places I've heard of this sort of freaky occurrence
"Wow that's… well, I wouldn't say amazing given how horrible it was and the amount of detail I could feel from it, but… maybe it tells us who we'll have as new friends this semester!" Saori was talking even faster than usual, which meant she was very nervous.
"Mako Reizei?" Hana arched a delicate eyebrow at the idea of being on a Tankery team with the top student of the school. From what she'd heard of Mako just getting her out of bed every day in time for Tankery practices would require the entirety of the rest of the crew to pull off and might as well qualify as another Wonder of the Modern World. "And that last girl? Yukari… something?"
Saori was blazing through her previous year's yearbook "Yukari Hayate… no, doesn't look right… hmm… this one?" She held up the yearbook page from the previous year that showed a picture of Yukari Akiyama.
"How are you so calm about this… unnatural occurrence?"
"We've known each other for years, Hana, you know full well that I find this thrilling, it's like fate's warning us about the hazards we'll face this year so that we can avoid them."
Heh, this is why we're friends, we think similarly enough… though admittedly Saori's a lot more vocal about it "I thought so too…"
"I think we should make our approach run now, get the shock of our meeting over with assuming she had the same premonition we did!" Saori whispered loudly enough that Hana suspected the only reason Miho didn't notice was because she was pre-occupied with getting her stuff together from where she was having a hard time with the bottom of the admittedly somewhat short desk.
"I don't think that's a good idea, Saori, we don't want to startle her, if she had the same nightmare we did, it'll be easy to make her averse to us from fear for her life."
"It'll be fine!" Saori then called out "Hey girl! You wanna grab some lunch?"
The way Miho whipped around probably said something about how jumpy she was feeling… That voice! It sounded like, but no, it couldn't be… She turned around and saw a cheerful orange-haired girl and a beautiful black-haired girl, and her brain locked up as she sprang to standing at attention as had been drilled into her from her "childhood", imitating her older sister in many cases. What… what is this madness? This almost reminds of an old cartoon I watched when I was younger, something about "I know you, I walked with you once upon a dream"? Except in this case it's "I died with you once upon a dream"… I thought I was seeing things in the class list, but… it's real. You're real. How… how could this be?
"See that, Saori? You startle Nishizumi, you'll make a bad first impression." Hana found her friend's greeting as cheesy as physically possible.
Saori grinned sheepishly "Sorry, I was just trying to be funny…"
Hana smiled before turning back toward Miho, who was frozen in place "Anyway, to repeat the question, if you'd like to have lunch with us, we'd both be delighted."
It was as if someone had smashed an ice sculpture with a very large hammer, such was the abrupt breaking of Miho's funk. "With… what? With me?"
"Mmhmm…" Saori and Hana nodded.
"We managed to pick her up!" Saori chirped happily, as if not talking about someone standing right next to her in the cafeteria line.
"To be honest, as soon as we saw you we wanted to try talking to you, Nishizumi." Hana said.
Miho was surprised, why would they want to talk to her on sight? "Uh… really? But… why?"
Saori had to bullshit something real fast to cover things up "You seemed a bit jittery, so we thought it might be interesting to talk to you."
"…Interesting?" Something felt wrong about what she just said… very wrong…
"So my name is…" Saori was cut off abruptly.
"…Saori Takebe, born June twenty-second." The just-named girl gasped in surprise at this. "Hana Isuzu, born December sixteenth."
Hana smiled "That's right."
"We just met and you already know both our birthdays!" Saori seemed as excited as ever…
"Yeah, I looked at our class list and learned everything I could about everyone, so that I could make friends with people easier." Miho explained as they moved with the line. I never expected this though, I thought it might be a coincidence that you two were in my class with those names and faces, but now… now I'm not so sure anymore.
"See? I knew you'd be interesting, by the way, can I call you by your first name."
Hana smiled at Saori's forwardness, it was very typical of her after all… "Miho is fine, right?"
Miho grinned widely "Omigosh it's like we're friends already!"
"Here you go, your teriyaki salmon lunch!" The tray was completed, and Miho pulled a very dumb manoeuvre with it, a spin that left Hana and Saori both amazed at her regaining balance and not spilling anything.
They scouted out a table before Miho spoke again to start the chatter this time "I'm so glad I was able to make friends, I moved here to Ooarai all by myself so I was kind of worried."
"I see, but you never know what might happen right? You know, like a complicated love triangle, or someone says they don't like you right before you confess your love, or your boyfriend cheats on you…" Saori went off on her usual tangent while stirring up her food, and Hana smiled slightly as she drank her soup.
A/N: For the record, I find Hana's tray of food around 7:20 in Episode 1 to be absurdly huge. A huge bowl of what seems to be ramen that should be about the whole volume of her stomach if you look at the image, a plate of stir-fry of some sort, a bowl of soup, and a large bowl of rice? Really, how the hell is that girl supposed to put it all away? It's not like she's two metres tall and halfway to being the Hulk in terms of physical size…
"Uh… yeah…" Note to self: Saori Takebe is obsessed with boys and romance… Hey, we can dazzle her with the topic if we must persuade her to do something… No, stop it, Bad Miho!
Hana thought this might be a good time to try a probe to see if Miho had the same vision "Did something bad happen with your family? Family in-fighting" There was a small shiver in her spine as something felt weird about saying that, almost as if she'd jinxed herself, but Hana did not let it show. "or something related to an inheritance maybe?"
"No… nothing like that…" Unless you count hunting for my own style of Tankery as family in-fighting between me and Mother.
There was an awkward silence before Hana tried to break it "we should eat before everything gets cold." Chatter eventually picked up again, though Miho and Hana were both very careful about not talking with their mouths full, Saori had chipmunk-like cheek skills with talking and chewing successfully at the same time without spraying anything.
"Wanna get some tea on the way back?" Saori said as she sat across from Miho after the first period of afternoon classes finished.
Miho hugged herself happily "It's like we're real high school girls…"
"Pretty sure we are, actually." Hana put in.
"By the way, I have a question… I've been worrying about something." Saori began. Hana grimaced slightly behind her back, expecting another tangent regarding boys… You know, if you want to deal closely with boys so badly, we could transfer to a co-ed school…
"I'm a terrible woman, you know…"
Yep, my prediction was correct… Hana sighed "Ugh… not this conversation again…"
"A lot of guys have been approaching me lately and it started to get kind of awkward… I'm not looking for any drama."
"A lot of guys?"
"Yeah, the people who live near me, every morning they're all like 'Hi there! And you're as cheery as ever today!'" Saori mimed a hand-wave and thumbs-up.
Hana stopped herself from laughing just in time "If that's the case I'm pretty sure they're just saying hi to you."
"Uh, no way, they've totally got the hots for me."
"You're easy to approach and you've got a great personality, that's why it's no surprise everyone wants to be friends with you." Miho stated what she thought was obvious. Saori blushed at the praise "I think it's great that you can get along with other people without even worrying about it. You know, at lunch today, when you came up and talked to me out of the blue, it made my day! I never thought I'd make such a great friend so soon."
"Hmm…" Saori looked off to the side in embarrassment.
"I think you're pretty great yourself, Nishizumi." Hana put in.
"Huh? No way, I'm totally lame… but Isuzu, you're cool-headed and confident and mature… and so smart… I mean, I'm really jealous."
"I… I'm glad to hear that, since people always say I'm too uptight…"
"Really? Well that's better than me. Back at my old school the kids used to always say I'm irresponsible. How can I become more like you?"
"I used to do flower arrangements, so maybe that's why."
"What? That's so cool! I've always wanted to try that… It's all feminine and graceful and stuff…" Hana wasn't sure what to say in reply to that, so she stayed silent. "Thanks for making friends with me on my first day, it means a lot…" Miho bowed as much as the desk would allow her.
"Uh… no, it was our pleasure." Hana bowed slightly
Thee people entered the room and the class went silent. Someone questioned "Why is the president here?"
One of the two girls standing on either side of the rather short "president" pointed Miho out after they scanned the room, and the girl with twin tails—kind of reminding Miho a bit of Emi, though this girl's hair was ochre instead of bright red and her tails were further back, and she also didn't seem like a tsundere—hailed her with a raised hand and a too-wide smile "Oh hey, Nishizumi!"
Miho reflexively sat at attention "Yes?" She glanced at Saori for an explanation as to who the other two were.
"It's the student council president, along with the VP and PR agent." Saori said as the three marched over to Miho's table.
She noted that one of the girls, the one who'd pointed her out in the first place, had a monocle on in half-glasses form. The same girl said severely "We need to talk for a moment."
"We do?" I have a bad feeling about this.
She was pulled out the classroom door for the talk "I don't know what you were planning for your mandatory elective, but sign up for Tankery!" The president said too-cheerily, close enough that Miho was thinking she's more in-your-face than Emi was, that's for sure… "Right?"
"I uh… Are you sure? I thought this school didn't have a Tankery class." I finally broke free, and now you want me to do that again? No, no, No, NO, NONONONONONONOOOOOOOO! Some music she heard a long time started echoing in her head, she couldn't recognize the song but she knew she had heard it somewhere All that I have left inside, is a soul that's filled with pride! I tell you NEVER AGAIN! Their depraved society, didn't end up killing me! Scream with me NEVER AGAIN!
"We didn't, but we're starting it back up this year." Monocle-girl said.
"Yeah, but… the only reason I transferred here in the first place was because I thought they didn't have Tankery…"
"AHAHAHA! Sounds like Fate!"
That dream… could it have been a premonition of some sort? A warning so that even if I'm forced into this I can avert our deaths? "I thought we could choose whatever mandatory elective we wanted…"
"Anyway thanks a bunch!" For a not-too-tall girl the council president sure could smack Miho's back pretty hard…
"Uh…" She was left staring after the three in the hallway as they walked off, lost in memory and drowning in her personal sea of loathing for the "sport" that humanity had made of what was originally war and death, much like the gladiators of old save with a few more safety measures.
Miho might as well have been a vegetable given how she was responding, or rather not responding, to Hana and Saori, who both had claimed to also not feel well, hauling her between them toward the infirmary, her feet dragging along the floor. Her mind was trapped, full of pure hate at her mother's disapproval while she was resuscitating a crew member of the Panzer 3 that had acted as the vanguard scout for the formation but had slipped down a slope into the river they were proceeding near and sunk into it. The girl she was doing chest compressions on finally coughed a couples times and Miho turned her onto her side so that she could vomit onto the wet, rocky ground. She and the Pz 3's commander had towed the radio operator to shore before starting CPR, since they'd evacuated the driver first, with the loader and gunner (the latter with a bit of help from Miho and the loader) managing to escape on their her own to the surface just before Miho told them to go to the shore and went down with the commander for her second rescue dive. Her mother was saying the commander and loader could have save the radio girl themselves and they could have won since it had been the two flag tanks face-to-face on that slope. The IS-2 behind the smaller Soviet tank needed time to manoeuvre around the T-34-85 for a shot, it had apparently been Miho's fault her crew was so drilled into obeying structured orders that they couldn't just take the damned shot before their Tiger I was hit by a 122mm shell that would have penetrated the upper front plate. Miho still didn't understand why Kuromorimine used a Tiger I for their flag tank instead of the Konigstiger i.e. Tiger II which they had in stock, with better armour protection all-round, particularly the front, and could bounce an IS-2's alpha strike frontally unless hit in the lower front plate or the cupola. Tradition was to be subsumed to the cause of victory, after all…
Once the nurse was back in her office and thus hopefully out of earshot, Hana looked over from her infirmary bed "Miho," Hana's voice brought a flash of a new image crashing in Miho's mind, that of the long-haired girl's mouth working up and down silently as she felt at the giant hole torn through her before she slumped against the gun controls, dead. "are you feeling okay?"
You shouldn't be asking me that, the dead don't speak… wait, what… uh oh, let's hope I didn't think out loud… "Huh?" She jerked awake and looked around frantically, suddenly realizing that they were all very much alive and that they were in the infirmary. She began to get up before Saori help up a hand to stop her.
"No, just lie down!" Miho had another sudden flash image of the same hand, stained with blood, clutching at the girl's chest where two jagged pieces of metal had punched into her as she suffocated from collapsed lungs. She fell back against the pillow, trying to evict the thought from her mind despite the bad taste the mention of Tankery had forced down her throat.
"If you want to leave school early I'll go back and pick up your bag…" Hana offered.
"Thanks Isuzu…" she muttered, reminding herself that the nightmare she had would not be allowed to come to pass.
"What did the student council president say to you back there?" Saori pressed.
"If you don't mind, could you tell us?" Hana double-teamed with the orange-haired girl
"She said they'd be… bringing the Tankery course back this year…" Miho muttered miserably.
Hana frowned "A Tankery course? I know it has a long history, but it's not very popular…"
Saori's eyes were much wider as she showed she'd made the connection between their shared nightmare and their real lives "But wait… I don't get what this has to do with you…"
"She… told me to choose Tankery for my mandatory elective."
Saori's eyes grew even wider as what seemed to her to resemble destiny smacked her in the face "But why?"
"Because I… um…"
"Is she trying to bully you for some reason? Wait… the president, you and someone else are involved in a love triangle!"
On Miho's other side, Hana let her head fall to her pillow in exasperation.
Hana sat back up somewhat "If she went out of her way to ask you to take Tankery, you must be some sort of master fighter. Are you a Tankery champion and were too shy to tell us? You don't have to be so humble about it… Tell us about your duels, rampages and all the plots you used…"
A/N: We're assuming tank-on-tank war is a thing of distant enough past that there aren't any real war heroes left around. I found canon ridiculous here.
"I'm not a champion…"
"Then what is it?" Saori seemed to have finally realized the need for stealth as the nurse wasn't far off.
"Well, um…" Miho looked up at the grey ceiling, so different from the dull golden paint Kuromorimine used to paint its German vehicles, closer tot eh base colour of the metal… "the truth is… I come from a family that has a… long history of riding tanks."
Hana gasped in surprise, while Saori vocalized with "Wow!"
"…But I don't like tanks much myself. That's why… I came to this school, to try to avoid Tankery." Miho pulled the blanket up over her eyes in shame at lying to her friends. She didn't dislike tanks, she used to love them… but now she hated them with everything she was and had. She hated the expectations of her, the expectations that she'd follow her family style of victory above all else. She hated Tankery.
"I see…" Hana said softly.
"So that's what happened…" Saori nodded to herself. "If you don't want to do it, why force yourself?"
"Huh?" Miho's brown eyes peered out from under the blanket again.
"High school girls don't really do Tankery now anyway, I'm surprised they're offering it again at all."
"It's fine to say no to the student council, don't worry about it, we'll go with you."
Miho smiled as much as she could given they were on the topic of Tankery "Thanks you guys…"
The tolling of the bells meant Hana sighed "Well, it looks like class is over now, we were just starting to relax too."
"Homeroom is the only thing we have left." Saori added. Then the Pa gave two long beeps "What's happening?"
"Calling all students, be in the Gym, I repeat, be in the Gym!" The three girls shared a look before casting off their blankets and putting their shoes back on.
"So, um, what's going on?" Miho asked Saori.
"I don't know." Saori had answered the question itself, but not the intended question.
Hana explained what Miho wanted to know "This is just how our student council likes to do things."
"Everyone's gotten used to it?"
Monocle Girl sounded as severe as ever as she growled "Quiet everyone, we're starting orientation on our students' mandatory electives for this semester."
Miho's shoulders tensed as the standard briefing reel "Introduction to Tankery" began to play. She shivered even more when the clip talked about how the clatter of tracks was supposed to be "cute and lively". Tell that to the Churchill in my nightmares it crushed my skull, or the desperate churning of the Panzer 3's treads as it tried to get back onto the road or at least prevent itself from sliding into the water. She thought bitterly.
"…a better wife," Yes, and that's exactly why Father said she'd become a "woman of ice" when he presented her with the divorce papers and told her that she had changed too much for him to stay, and that she wasn't the woman he'd married anymore. Then again, I can't blame him, whenever Mother wasn't busy with business she was always working on extra lectures, tactical books, and so on, I don't think I've ever seen her spend time with Father or interact with him at all except when picking Maho up from home for training sessions. Give someone a few good years of neglect and it wouldn't be surprising for them to leave. Miho thought hatefully, she had been sneaking around when she shouldn't have been when she came upon the sight of her father pushing the papers across the desk, and had been frozen in place as her mother had signed with a flourish and told him, without even trying to salvage things, "Your goals and ideals have obviously come to differ too much from mine, now leave my household and never come back." The newsreel followed with "a better mother" and Miho's head sunk further, wishing she was mad enough to spit on the ground or stand up and throw something at the screen and scream in defiance, but as the new girl she had to keep her head down and blend in for a while before trying to start to get anything done her way. At least her mother had taught her how not to deal with people or any kids she might have someday, that was an important part of parenting, right?
"You will become healthier," unless you die like the crew of that Panzer 3 might have if I hadn't helped them with the hatches before they all drowned "kinder," Pah, look at my Mother, fucking lies, all of this. "stronger," Maho has only become weaker over the years as all ability to resist unreasonable commands has been beaten out of her, now that I have gotten free, I will grow to be far stronger than she will be. Thank you, Maho, for making sure that my failure could get me a ticket out by being heiress, I promised myself that I would grow to be stronger than you so that your sacrifice will not be in vain. Perhaps you don't even quite know that I am aware of all this… but I am. Few ever suspect the sweet, seemingly innocent younger sister of knowing much after all, though admittedly I only truly realized after Mother pounced on you for the team's failure in last year's National Finals and only gave me a short dressing-down. Thank you… or should I say tank you, sister. "and men from all over the world will fall at your feet." Hah, only if you shoot them and they fall dead, because professional athletes in Tankery… we're… I mean they're more married to their vehicles than they can ever be to anything else. Even if a man doesn't want to be the most important thing in your life he still wants to at least register somewhere on your radar above the level of a stranger.
A/N: This comes from the fact that Miho, growing up in such an environment, would have learned enough to, by her teens, analyze their butler/servant woman's words in the prequel manga, along with Emi's analysis, as proof enough as to what Maho had chosen to do for her. She's not dumb you know.
"You may not know, but a few years ago it was decided there would be a Tankery World Championship held in Japan. As a result the Ministry of Culture asked that all schools strengthen their Tankery teams in preparation for the upcoming event." Monocle Girl said.
"So, we've decided to end our school's current hiatus on Tankery." The president said, cheerily as usual. "If you choose it as your elective, we'll give you a bunch of cool benefits. Vice President?"
"Those who perform well in the course will receive one hundred meal tickets, two hundred free passes if you're late, and finally three times the credit you receive in another class!" The busty girl said, while Miho stared Wait, what? So Monocle Girl is Public Relations? She's about as un-PR as possible with her severe attitude and appearance though…
Somewhere in the crowd, Mako perked up at the mass of perks. Even if that nightmare thing was a premonition, if I drive extra well and we reinforce the safety measures I'm sure we can overcome it… three credits… two hundred late passes… hmm…
"So that's that, thanks everyone!" The president said loudly, waving as they walked off the stage
"That's it, I'm in!" Saori said as they walked along the path outside the school buildings.
"What?" Miho questioned, not sure she'd heard quite right
"I read in a magazine" Miho's mind immediately wrote off most of the rest of the statement from Saori as junk data, though she still somewhat listened to it to not miss anything "that modern guys like girls that are strong and dependable, and if Tankery's popular, it'll make you popular too. You should take it too Miho, your family does it, right?"
Miho's grimace was forced at best, in reality she wanted to throw something at Saori—preferable Saori herself, however that might work—and scream in her face about how awful Tankery actually was for interpersonal relationships and everything else in life "I don't… I don't know…"
"I understand." Hana said while Miho's mind snapped back with No, no you don't. Don't even try. "It's difficult isn't it? It may not seem like it, but I'm in a similar situation. My family history is in flower arrangement."
"Oh, I see…" Miho sighed internally Family expectations… true of all cultures, particularly East Asian, probably part of why Dad, who was from America, couldn't take the strict aloofness anymore and left, still, he'd taught me enough before leaving for me to blaze my own trail, though Maho was a lost cause as we all knew mother would focus on indoctrinating her more than me.
"But Tankery does seem rather wonderful, don't you think?"
Miho was taken aback, had Hana succumbed and become another brainwashed victim? "Huh?"
"The truth is, I've always wanted to do something that keeps me a little more active than flower arranging."
"…Uh…" Miho couldn't think of much to say that wouldn't be a very loud rant about "Save yourself you madwoman, do some sport or something instead of the soul-crushing implement that is Tankery!"
Hana stopped, turning toward Miho and clasping her hands together in front of her "I'm going to do Tankery too, I've decided!"
"WHAT?" Miho gaped at the taller girl.
"Nishizumi, you should do it with us, teach us everything you know."
"Ungh…" Miho looked around, unable to meet Hana's eyes "Ugh…"
"If you take it, I bet you'll be able to make it to the top of the class, no problem!" Saori clapped her hands onto Miho's shoulders.
She couldn't answer, but her silence meant Hana and Saori both got the hint and left the subject alone soon enough. She did not speak again that evening, not even when she was alone and contemplating the elective selection sheet, full of rage and hate for her family's way of victory above all else, even actual survival.
The next morning…
Tired eyes from a night of zero sleep submerged in an ocean of hate were averted downward "Sorry guys, I… I can't do it. The only reason I came here was so I wouldn't have to do Tankery."
Saori and Hana shared a look "It's okay!"
"I'm sorry for making you worry about this…" They both brought their pens out and crossed out the circles they'd put next to Tankery, circling next to Incense instead to match Miho's selection.
"You pick whatever you like and we'll go with you." Saori explained.
Miho found this unacceptable to her moral compass "No way! You two wanted to do Tankery!"
"It's fine! We wanted to be with you more!" Saori was al smiles.
"If we're in Tankery and talk about it with you all the time, even if you're not in it yourself, you may be reminded of some old memories that you'd rather forget." Hana explained.
"Uh…" Miho wanted to cry at having someone actually care like this after her father left. Her mother and sister had always been very aloof about things on the few occasions they showed they gave a damn at all. "No, I'll be okay!"
"We just became friends, I don't want to make you feel bad already." Hana pushed.
"I'm the type of girl who gets into whatever a boyfriend is into so don't worry about me!" Saori was tapping her index and middle fingers together while making a peace symbol.
Miho's mouth worked up and down a couple times before she simply blushed and smiled slightly.
Over lunch however Miho was called to the student council office and the first major confrontation of her time at Ooarai began.
"Mind telling me what THIS is about?" The PR chief held up Miho's elective selection sheet like an arrest warrant.
"Are you too good for Tankery or what?" The president said from her high-backed office chair.
"At this school, there's almost no one with any Tankery experience." The PR chief said, looking to the VP.
The other girl's comment was "We'll be wiped out, our school will be wiped out." Miho's eyes narrowed slightly, though still downcast, at those words. What does she mean by that?
"Will you stop being so selfish?" Saori snapped, while Miho was thinking The student council's top three wouldn't be so insistent if there wasn't something big at stake here.
"That's right, she said she doesn't want to do it." Hana said in what was a relatively loud voice for her. "And now you're trying to force her?"
"Miho's not going to do Tankery!" Saori's bluntness was again bared. Miho on the other hand was thinking Save yourselves, it's clear they're not going to give up, save yourselves before you attract their ire!
"Please leave Nishizumi alone." Hana said.
"You know if all of you hate this school so much I could arrange to have you ejected from it…" the president sounded casual, and Miho's frown grew deeper They wouldn't risk their positions by abusing their powers for no reason, so that statement earlier about the school being wiped out had to mean something.
Saori gasped, while Hana merely sounded disappointed "I can't believe you're threatening us"
"This is not a threat, the president is always serious." Miho ground her teeth at the girl's words Great PR there, you bitch.
"That's right." Miho snorted mentally at the president's affirmation, it was obvious they were willing to try just about anything to get her into the Tankery class, most likely to lead it or be an assistant teacher for it. If you put your cards on the table I might consider it, but to be used like you're trying to do… NOPE.
"I think you guys should probably apologize before it's too late." Miho grimaced at the VP's attempts to stop the situation from escalating. Hmm, we have a mediator type here… "Please?"
Saori looked like she was about to lunge at someone, clearly enraged by the insinuation that THEY had to apologize "STOP IT!"
"We are not going to be cowed by your abuse of your powers." Hana's eyes were narrowed in aggression.
The exchange continued while Miho sighed. They wanted to do Tankery, and now they are being dragged down with me because I didn't… and it sounds like something serious will happen to this school if our team loses too soon in this year's nationals… Hmm… well, they say the bird that sticks its head out is shot first, but it seems they want me to captain the team, it may be better to just cast the die and let the pieces fall where they may. If the team does well I'll have a firmly entrenched position of influence in this school, but if I don't try, we'll be in major trouble, possibly even kicked out of the manipulative bitch gets her way. Images of the risks it would entail, of crew members being cut down one by one after she (literally) falls first, flashed through her mind, but a warning means a possibility of the future that can be overcome, right? "Alright, that's enough! I'll do it… I'll do Tankery."
"WHAT?" Miho quailed as her friends rounded on her with expressions of astonishment. Wow, Saori, I was not previously aware it was physically possible for someone's mouth to be open quite that wide…
"Thank goodness!" the VP clasped her hands together and looked extremely relieved, the president let out a pleased hum and even the PR chief cracked a grin and chuckled happily. Yep, they definitely need me in this. Miho thought. Well, since I'm stuck in this again… she was glad she'd learnt form her mother enough emotional discipline to be able to throw the kill-switch on her hate of Tankery if she really wanted to. Let's destroy everything in Ooarai's path to victory and prove once and for all that MY methodology is superior to the cold, calculating, tightly regimented steamroller the Nishizumi family is known for!
…Hmm, I think a quote I heard on the road sometime used between the Nishizumi disciples… wonder where it's from. Still, it applies here… PEACE (in my family—if it can be called one and not a miniature totalitarian police state)…THROUGH… POWER!
A/N: European culture has a thing for trying to dodge fate. Asia is more prone to facing and overcoming it at the last moment since they believe that dodging outright often just makes things worse. Believe me, I would know.
I wonder if Miho's got Sixth Sense trained… they definitely have the Brothers in Arms perk and I'm quite certain anyone from the Nishizumi school knows Jack Of All Trades, and given Miho's skill at teaching/inspiring her crew the Mentor skill is almost certainly at 100%… Also, losing one match in ten thousand equals potential expulsion? That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard (and probably said by Maho just to make her crew STFU), so they never spar in training battles? Because when someone wins someone else MUST lose, after all, except for draws, and I don't think they're well enough choreographed for 100% draw rate in training matches. As for why I mentioned 6th sense, my favourite line from World of Tanks forums is, after all "While I perform necromancy on my radio operator and wait for the magical track monkeys to fix my tracks, I sometimes get the extra-sensory feeling that someone is watching me."