Part 10: Interview 5 BonusDudecon 05 - Commander’s Secret
“...Commander. I need to talk to you.”
Joker, Tactician and Commander look up to see Dudette stood outside the kitchen, facing into the back room. Getting up from his chair, Commander looks back at the other two and nods airily.
“Give me a few minutes.”
He walks away with Dudette, but in their place, several more my dudes arrive - Twee, Celestrian and Professor.
“What’s with those two?” asks Tactician to the newcomers.
“Those two, huh? I assume you mean Dudette and Commander who just came through the kitchen?” asks Professor.
“It’s not much of a story. They had a little too much to drink at last year’s Dudecon, ended up making love in one of the bedrooms.” Celestrian says. “SOME people would say that they were spiked with arousal pills.”
Twee giggles to himself.
“But that would be ridiculous.” Celestrian continues through gritted teeth. “Anyway, Persona was pretty rough about the whole ordeal, if I remember correctly.”
“Really now?” asks Joker, turning to the pair with interest.
“Persona liked her too.” explains Professor. “He ended up being pretty unhappy about the whole deal - until he found himself in a bedroom fooling around with Summoner.”
For the first time in the whole evening, Twee’s mouth drops open. “Wait, what? I didn’t hear about this!”
“Yeah. Summoner and Persona really hit it off, apparently.”
“Explains why they disappeared off to a bedroom earlier this evening.” mutters Tactician. “So, what do they have to discuss?”
“Now that,” Professor says, turning around and staring down the corridor to the living room. “That is a question I can’t answer.”
In the entry hall, Commander sighs and looks up at Dudette.
“Alright, I’ll bite. What’s this about?”
Dudette stares at the ground. “So… serious with Nell? We’re not going to… do anything this year?”
“No, we’re not. It was a one-time thing.” Commander says.
“I just…” she mutters, look up at him. “I’d looked forward to this night all year. Looked forward to you.”
“That’s your own problem.” Commander replies, brow lowering. “I told you last year that it wasn’t anything. We were both spike-”
“It was still special. Don’t deny it.” Dudette says. “I dare say that even if we hadn’t taken those pills, we would have still done it.”
“No, we wouldn’t. We would have been more in control!” Commander replies, somewhat more harshly than he intended.
“The feelings were there! We did it because there was something; the drink just helped!”
“And how do you know that?” says Commander loudly.
Dudette’s face flushes and she walks right up to Commander. “Because I ASKED Twee to spike you!”
She stops, and claps a hand over her mouth. Commander stares at her in horror.
“You… weren’t spiked.” he murmurs. “You… you knew you were… when I was… you… you set my relationship with Nell back by months, do you know that?!”
“Why can’t it be us, Commander?! We both needed each other that night! You felt something! Don’t lie to me!”
“Because Nell is the one I’m with now! I will NOT cheat on her, not even on the night of no consequences!”
“Why?!” shouts Dudette. “How serious is it that you won’t even consider the one who you spent the best night of your life with? What’s she done that’s made you so close to her? Last year you weren’t even together yet!”
Commander explodes in anger, and rounds on Dudette in his fury.
Silence falls in the entry hall. Dudette shrinks away from Commander’s imposing form, and Commander feels the colour drain from his face, and he croaks his next sentence.
He exits the sub-dimension without another word, leaving Dudette stood alone in the entry hall, feeling like the entire world is about to slip away into nothing.
Barracks 05 - Subdued Christmas Celebrations
Nell, standing in front of the assorted soldiers, nods as the clock on the other side of the room hits seven. The barracks’ main room is richly decorated with festive tinsel and a large Christmas tree, as well as fairy lights along the walls and garlands places on the tables - the yearly Christmas party is about to begin.
“I hope everyone enjoys the party; I’ll be in my office if anyone needs me. We’ll be moving out tomorrow morning, so I would recommend that everyone gets at least a few hours’ sleep tonight.” Nell says. “Enjoy, soldiers. You’ve earned it.”
She exits the room as the soldiers begin to talk amongst themselves, and makes her way down the corridors where the soldiers’ rooms are located, turning a few corners until she comes across the commander’s offices. Her office is the largest of the group, and she lets herself in quietly, walking over to her desk, then stopping. Rather than sitting in her chair, she simply sits on the desk for a few moments.
Her hand reaches up to her neck, and she pulls out a necklace with a red star symbol on it - a gift from a previous Christmas.
“Missing you, my dude.” she murmurs. “Not long to go now until it’s all done.”
Back in the main room, Fleur corners Alfonse at the bar. She orders a wine, then turns to face the young man.
“You… the other battle, you said something about my sister not being able to help. I… what did you mean by that?”
“Oh, that?” Alfonse replies. “It’s simple fact. I was watching her for about an hour at the firing range the other day, and in the whole hour she practised, she missed the bullseye twice. She’s the best sharpshooter I’ve ever seen.”
“That’s true,” Fleur murmurs. “But remember, Alfonse, the ability to kill is not the same as the desire to kill. She can shoot a target with ease, but once she turns her gun on a living person, she loses that talent. She cannot go through with it.”
Alfonse nods, reminded of his own early days in the army. “Yeah. I get that.”
“She needs a little confidence boost, I think.”
“I’ll have a think about that.” Alfonse replies. “What about you? You’re not one for fighting either, are you?”
“Not really. I am more helpful as a transport pilot.” Fleur says, sipping her wine.
Alfonse nods. “Everyone eventually finds their role in the army, I reckon. We all work well.”
“We’re a good team.” says Fleur, smiling. “Bernard would have been happy to see everyone doing so well. There’s so many of us not here, though…”
“Barold, and Bernard, and Wilbert and Tina… yeah, we’re missing quite a few. They’re living happy lives, though.” Alfonse replies. “And we’re fighting to defend those happy lives.”
“That’s a good way of seeing it. We’re protecting them.” Fleur says.
Alfonse grins, and holds up his own glass of drink. “Cheers to that.”
On a table nearby, Carl, Arthur and Von Panzer are drinking together.
“Hallo, Carl. It’s good to see you back.” Von Panzer says.
“Yeah, definitely!” shouts Arthur.
Carl nods awkwardly. “Yes… though I feel like I am new here. It’s almost as if I’ve forgotten what it was like.”
“It’ll just be because you’ve not seen everyone in a while.” Arthur says. “Just lighten up and chill out - why not spend this party getting to know everyone again?”
“But… my lust for blood, and…” Carl murmurs. “They didn’t want to get to know me last time.”
“Did Gareth not help you a little with all that?” Von Panzer asks.
Carl nods. “I… could certainly give it a try. It will be difficult without Gareth to give me guidance. Would… you two care to help me?”
“What, help you be a bit more normal around people? Of course!” Arthur says loudly, leaning back in his chair. “First things first, let’s go find Dave and Fred and get the lads back together for a round of poker. Whaddya say?”
“An excellent idea, ja!” Von Panzer says, nodding. “I have brought my cards for just this occasion.”
Feeling a little foolish, but willing to do his best, Carl makes his way over to where Dave is having a conversation with some other soldiers.