Cutscene: Disciplinary Measures

April 24, 2017:

After her encounter with Red Robin, Juno limps home while trying to restore herself to equilibrium.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Red Robin

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

She's going to be punished.

Nobody has told Juno this, but she knows it. That is what happens to girls like her when they make mistakes, when they fail. And she has failed so very often over the last month. Were she still Back There, she would have been disciplined at the first sign of insubordination. Here, in Miss Elena's care, nothing has happened to her. Nobody has told her that she is worthless, or that she will die if she doesn't improve, or that she will be sorry she didn't complete a task.

Miss Elena and Pearce have always been very patient with her - taking care to use English words she will understand, explaining things when she shows obvious signs of not understanding. But nobody has yet broached the topic of punishment for failure or disobeying. She doesn't bring it up because Juno doesn't ask questions of the people who own her. She has made mistakes, and she has failed missions, which is just as bad as not following orders at all. Nobody has even scolded her yet.

In Juno's mind, this means that all the punishment is merely being saved up, to be cashed in all at once.

Ordinary discipline is fine. She knows that when she is beaten or starved or dressed down, she deserves it. Because it is deserved, she can withstand it. It hurts, of course, but so do many things. Juno can withstand far more pain than people give her credit for. Pain and suffering are measurable things. She knows when her body and mind are close to their limits. She knew, Back There, that her teachers would eventually stop punishing her when she'd learned her lesson.

It's worse, not knowing.

And that man with the bird on his chest… he'd done this to her. Distracted her. Made her question herself. Made her miss her shot. Made her lose the will to follow through afterwards. Her target may still be alive, even if he may be missing an arm now. Juno doesn't know yet. She'd run away when the cowled man had tried to speak to her like someone he knew. Every long-standing wall she'd built up to keep herself from feeling fear or uncertainty had tried to crumble away, and for just long enough Juno had doubted. It's all his fault for speaking to her. It's all her fault for listening to him.

Now, with her useless rifle broken down and hidden away, with what she is fairly sure is a broken leg, Juno returns to her owner. It will be all right, she repeats to herself. If Miss Elena is going to discipline her, it's because she deserves it. It will teach her to be better. It will hurt, of course. It will probably hurt worse than anything she's ever felt.

That's okay, Juno tells herself. It has always been okay. She hurts, and she learns, and she gets better.

Maybe this time she will learn so much that she never fails again.

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