Part 4: Interview 2 BonusDudecon 02 - The Rest of the Party
The party begins to liven up as more my dudes begin to arrive. Commander mans the door, greeting each one as they enter.
“Scout, nice to see you!”
“Hey, Professor, pleasure. Did you do something different with your hair?”
“Yo, Hell! Get yourself a drink, dude, you look like you need one.”
“Breed, please come on in! This is your first Dudecon, right? You should go introduce yourself!”
“My main man Tactician, glad you could make it! Sorry again about not being allowed a plus-one, I know you wanted to bring Lyn.”
“Luminary, hey! Oh - no swords in the apartment, leave it by the door. We’re not having a repeat of last year.”
“There you are, Twee. You better be on your best behaviour this year!”
“Oh, Joker, I love the mask! Please, make yourself at home. You’re not the only first-timer here, so don’t worry!”
“Dragonborn, my fucking bro! Come right on in, dude - the special brew’s ready for you.”
“There you are, Summoner. Did you get Legendary Eliwood yet? …Ah, sorry to hear that.”
“Prince My dude of Alberia, we humbly welcome you to this gathering… Nah, I’m just fuckin’ with ya. Come on in, Prince.”
Persona walks over to Commander, still sipping his lemonade. Commander grins at him.
“What a turnout! That’s like, how many now? Fifteen, including Celestrian?”
“Yeah, it’s quite a few. How many invites did you send this year?”
“Like, twenty-odd.” Commander says, shrugging. “More will probably arrive as the night goes on, it is still pretty early.”
“More than last year, though.” Persona says. “No more girls yet, though…”
“I thought I told you that female versions of yourself are off-limits?”
Persona bristles at Commander. “You told me Dudette was off-limits last year and then straight-up took her for yourself!”
“OK, that wasn’t me. Twee spiked us both with fuckin’ libido pills or something.” Commander sighs. “Look, we’re all gonna be good this year. No random banging each other.”
“Sure.” says Persona, shrugging. “If you say so.”
Summoner, clad in a hooded white coat inlaid with golden patterns, sidles over to the pair as they wander vaguely in the direction of the kitchen corridor. “Hey. You invited Twee again?”
“I mean, I could hardly disinvite him. He’s a cock, but he is a fellow my dude.” Commander says, glancing over to Twee, who’s sat on the sofa with Professor and Dragonborn, a safe distance away from the drinks.
“It’s your funeral.” replies Summoner darkly.
The trio enter the kitchen, where there are more glasses, drinks and snacks laid out. There’s a large tub filled with a strange blue liquid, and Persona stares at it intently.
“The special brew.”
“Mm. Celestrian hand-made this stuff, so I don’t actually know what’s in it. But one thing is for sure - it’s damn good.” Commander says, getting a glass and ladle, and pouring himself a drink of special brew.
“Fuck it, I’ll have some.” Summoner says, taking a glass of his own. “I could do with drinking myself stupid tonight.”
“So long as you don’t end up throwing up into a toilet again.” smirks Persona.
Summoner sighs. “Twee spiked me, I swear to God. Why does nobody believe that I can hold my drink?”
“Alright, Summoner. We know for a fact that Twee’s not had access to the special brew yet. Drink as much of it as you want this evening - we’ll see whether you hold your drink or not.” Commander suggests.
Persona grins. “Sounds good.”
Taking his first sip of special brew, Summoner nods. “Alright, sure. I’ll prove I can do it!”
Persona’s grin widens.
“Will you put money on it?”
“I play gacha; of course I will spend money on useless things.” Summoner says. “Fifty says I can hold my drink until midnight tonight.”
Commander checks his watch. “Six hours… alright, Summoner. The bet’s on.”
Barracks 02 - The Newcomer’s Arrogance
“You did great today, Ingo!” Lucy says, giving Ingo a quick peck on the cheek. Along with Ingo, Michael and Fliss, Lucy is relaxing in the barracks. Fliss’ eyes widen, and she gives a soft smile.
“You g-guys are together?”
“Indeed we are.” Ingo replies. “Took me a while to come around after… everything that happened, but we’re happy now.”
“We are! Even my dad likes you, and he never likes anyone!” beams Lucy.
Carter arrives, walking proudly into the barracks room. He gives the others a nod. “Solid work today, everyone! I expect to see you all contributing more in future battles, but this was a good start!”
“Oh my god.” murmurs Michael. Fliss blushes with second-hand embarassment as Carter sits down beside her.
“Like you, Fliss! You needed to kill that tank with a single shot towards the primary cannon! I know you’re an expert shot - why didn’t you take it out?”
“Hey, now, let’s not judge anyone for their decisions on the battlefield. We all act irrationally when we’re out there.” Michael says.
“Yeah, sometimes I have to get really angry when we’re fighting bad guys! But that doesn’t mean I’m not nice!”
Carter pulls a face. “You’re pretty young to be in the military.”
“Speak for yourself.” says Ingo, under his breath.
“I guess you’ll do, though. Stay behind me, and I’ll teach you everything you need to know, alright?”
“Excuse me?” Lucy says. “You must be mistaken! I served in the last campaign against Black Hole - I’m the expert bomber, Lucy!”
Fliss grins as she watches Carter flounder, unable to say anything to save face.
“I, uh… uh, right. OK. Never mind, I guess. The rest of you better fall into line, though!”
With that, he stands up and salutes at the soldiers, then strides off.
“It’s a good job Tina’s not here.” Ingo says. “She’d knock his teeth in.”
“Wh-who’s Tina?” asks Fliss.
Lucy brightens up. “She’s the most amazing soldier I’ve ever met! A legendary medium tank driver, and the hero of the last campaign! She would go deep into enemy territory, time and time again, and come out on top with barely a scratch on her. She fought for everyone, so that nobody would die on her watch. She was amazing!”
“Definitely. She’s quite the inspiration for the younger soldiers.” Michael nods.
“She sounds incredible…” murmurs Fliss. “Can you tell me more about her? M-maybe my parents want me to be like her…”
“If your parents want you to become a heroic soldier, then yeah, you ought to look up to Tina.” Ingo says. “But… I get the sense that you don’t want to be here.”
“I, um…” Fliss replies. “Well, it doesn’t matter… I’ll go and talk to Carter about his behaviour.”
“That might be an idea.” Michael replies, as Fliss gets up and makes her way out. The three old hands watch her go.
“She definitely doesn’t want to be here.” Lucy says, crestfallen. “Are her parents forcing her to be?”
“She’s Fleur’s sister, so it’s possible.” Michael replies. “Still, let’s not delve into things if she’s not comfortable with it. For now, our priority should be putting Carter in his place before he annoys somebody.”
“So, Dave?” Ingo replies, and the trio laugh.