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THE KING OF FIGHTERS 97
KOF97
TEAM STORY
HERO TEAM FATAL FURY TEAM ART OF FIGHTING TEAM IKARI TEAM
PSYCHO SOLDIER TEAM WOMEN FIGHTERS TEAM KIM TEAM NEW FACE TEAM
'97 SPECIAL TEAM IORI YAGAMI SHINGO YABUKI

IKARI TEAM STORY

A battlefield in one of the world's hot spots. Ralf, Clark, and Leona are in the midst of a mission.
RALF:
"How far to our destination?"
CLARK:
"Thirty seconds."
RALF:
"Where's Leona? Do you think she'll be able to rendez-vous with us?"
CLARK:
"I suppose. What are you all jumpy about?"
RALF:
"Uh, nothing. Nothing at all."
Leona has already reached the destination before her comrades. She scopes out the surroundings.
LEONA:
"...!"
She sees a young boy lying near the collapsed house.
LEONA:
"Is he still here...?"
She runs to him and scoops up the young boy.
LEONA:
"Hey, wake up...."
The gasping boy opens his eyes. Seeing Leona, a look of fear seizes the boys face.
BOY:
"N-no...! Please...don't kill me...!!!"
LEONA:
"..."
All of a sudden, Leona loses her grip on reality. The boy's voice echoes in her head.

---
"Please...don't kill me...!!! Don't...kill...me!"
The tone of the boy's voice has clearly changed in quality. Leona fights to regain her lucidity.
LEONA:
"Kill...? Who...? Kill who...?"
She snaps out of her trance. But a clearly different scene than before comes into view. Along with that, the form of the owner's voice becomes distinct.
---
"Don't...kill...me...Leona!!!"
The figure of a blood-covered young girl sears itself into Leona's retina.
LEONA:
"...! M-Mama...!? Why...?!"
A disagreeably warm sensation is felt around her feet. The area of the feeling gradually begins to grow.
LEONA:
"Papa...!!!"
Leona's father clings at her feet. He opens his mouth as if trying to say something.
LEONA:
"No...! Not that...!!!"
All of a sudden something grips her shoulders. She looks back to see Goenitz standing there.
GOENITZ:
"Now...relieve your father of his pain as you did with your mother...."
LEONA:
"No...it wasn't me...."
GOENITZ:
"No. It was you. You killed her."
LEONA:
"N-n...ohhhh!!!"
Leona feels the sticky warmth of blood throughout her hands.
GOENITZ:
"Yes, it is so! Look closely. Look at your own hands!!!"
Leona looks at her hands. Both of them are drenched in blood. She can see the figure of her father who has breathed his last breath.
LEONA:
"Ah...Aaaaaah...."
Ralf and Clark have arrived at the rendez-vous point. They see the motionless Leona's in view.
RALF:
"...? What's she doing spacing out like that?"
CLARK:
"Ralf, watch out!!!"
The sound of artillery passing overhead comes from behind the two.
RALF:
"Oh, no! Get out of there, Leona!"
Leona remains frozen. Ralf and Clark rush toward her.
RALF:
"Get out of there, Leona! Leo-naaaaaah!!!"
All of a sudden Leona comes to her senses. A vision of the battlefield flashes before her. The sound of artillery approaches.
LEONA:
"...I...!"
RALF:
"Leo-naaaaaaah!!!"
Leona can see Ralf rushing toward her. Once again Leona mind goes blank. The sound of explosions echoes in her head.

Heidern's office. Heidern takes in the view outside his office window. Ralf has the floor. His hands are wrapped in bandages.
HEIDERN:
"So, just what do you have to tell me?"
RALF:
"I want you to tell me just what is going to be done about the failure of our mission...."
Heidern looks around to face Ralf, who stands behind him.
HEIDERN:
"Failure of your mission? Granted, there was an accident. But you fulfilled the objective of your mission...."
RALF:
"No, that's just a product of our efforts, but in actuality we failed: we failed to save the survivors. We failed as professionals."
HEIDERN:
"You're pretty hard on yourself. The bodies of those survivors of which you speak, however, are still unaccounted for. Our investigations revealed no bodies. Only Leona confirmed the presence of any survivors at that time. And as far as Leona goes.... That's that, isn't it? So, what more do you want?"
RALF:
"For the time being, I want you to remove me from active duty...."
HEIDERN:
"Are you telling me to suspend you?"
RALF:
"If that's the way you want to interpret it, that's copasetic with me."
HEIDERN:
"...Very well. But there's one condition. If I'm going to suspend you, I must suspend the whole team. If you agree to that, I'll accede to your demands."
RALF:
"Are you asking for our collective responsibility?"
HEIDERN:
"That's what I'm asking. I'll inform you of the period of suspension subsequently. That will be all."
RALF:
"Sir! Yes, sir! Thank you, sir!"
Ralf takes his leave. Heidern calmly reclines back in his chair.
HEIDERN:
"Concealing one's intentions from a superior and taking such an insolent attitude.... Do you actually think I don't get what you're up to?"
Heidern takes out an envelope from his drawer.
HEIDERN:
"The King of Fighters...hmmm."

Ralf heads for the briefing room. Clark appears around the corner.
CLARK:
"So how did it go?"
Ralf begins to remove his bandages.
RALF:
"He bought it hook, line, and sinker."
CLARK:
"Oh, really...? But do you think he really bought it? What'll we accomplish by entering KOF during our suspension?"
RALF:
"Think of it as rehabilitation."
CLARK:
"Rehabilitation? Leona's? Ralf, are you willing to go to those pains for her...?"
RALF:
"Don't get me wrong. If she keeps going in this manner, I just may find myself pushing up daisies. I'll have no part of that. No how, no way."
CLARK:
"Is that...all you're worried about?"
RALF:
"Yeah, so?"
Clark can't help but smiling.
CLARK:
"Hey, I've got no problem with that...."
The briefing room. Leona waits for the two. Shortly after, the two enter.
RALF:
"Our punishment has been decided. All of us have been suspended."
LEONA:
"Really...?"
RALF:
"But were not going to be idle during that time. Our "mission" during our suspension has already been determined."
LEONA:
"What are we going to do?"
CLARK:
"We're going to enter the King of Fighters."
LEONA:
"...?"
RALF:
"We can't let ourselves get out of shape, can we? Clark, show her the files."

Clark hands Leona the files.
RALF:
"It appears that all of the entrants have been determined. We're not listed, but we got a genuine invitation."
Leona looks over the materials. Her gaze freezes on the figure of an unfamiliar boy.
LEONA:
"Who's this boy...?"
CLARK:
"Oh, a new face. He's young, but he's one tough cookie. Look familiar?"
The entrant and the boy she recalls from the battlefield overlap in her mind's eye.
LEONA:
"...Not particularly...."
RALF:
"We don't have much time until the tournament begins. We should leave as soon as possible. Any complaints?"
CLARK:
"Understood."
Ralf takes a peek at Leona who appears to be staring off at some far place.
RALF:
"Leona, is that all right with you?"
LEONA:
"Understood."
Leona responds as if nothing is bothering her. Ralf exchanges glances with Clark and shrugs his shoulders. Leona once again looks to some distant horizon.

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