Part 12: Interview 6 BonusDudecon 06 - A Difference of Opinion
In the bedroom, away from the bustle of the party, Summoner and Persona are lying on the bed. Summoner can still feel Persona’s kiss on his lips, and he shivers. He’s not sure how to feel.
“Hey.” he says.
“It’s been nice so far.” Summoner says. “After our little drunken ‘thing’ last year, it’s nice to spend time with you when sober. If I’m honest, I’ve been looking forward to this night for a while.”
“Yeah. Same here, actually.” Persona replies.
They remain in silence for a few moments longer. Persona’s hand creeps its way into Summoner’s hand, and they sit there, staring at the ceiling, lost in their own thoughts, but together.
“Hey.” Persona says.
Persona shifts awkwardly. “I was just wondering if you wanted to, say, meet up outside of Dudecon. Like, you know… dates?”
“Dates? You wanna…” Summoner murmurs. “Look, Persona, I enjoy spending time with you. But I do technically have a Summoner Support back in Askr. This wonderful girl called Silque. Here at Dudecon, we can spend time together. No consequences and all that.”
“But not outside of Dudecon.” Persona says.
“Yeah. Sorry, I jus-”
“No, I get it.” sighs Persona, sitting up and getting off the bed. Summoner sits up, feeling awkward.
“Persona, come on, we can still enjoy ourselves tonight.”
“I’m not really in the mood any more.” mutters Persona. He opens the bedroom door and exits, and Summoner follows, trying to mollify him. They see Dudette walking through the living room, on her way out.
Outside of the sub-dimension, there’s a front porch with a group of gates, each one leading to a different universe that a my dude comes from. Commander is sat next to one of the gates, doing nothing but staring disinterestedly up at the white sub-dimension before him, where the quiet rumble of the party music can still be heard.
There’s a flash of light, and a my dude wearing sunglasses, a stylish tracksuit and a hat exits one of the portals. Commander looks up at him.
“Hey,” he says, waving. “I’m a my dude. This is Dudecon, right?”
“This is Dudecon. I’m Commander, the host.” Commander replies. “Not that I really look like one right now. I’m sorry, tensions are a little high between some of us. Which my dude are you, again?”
“I’m from the Galar region.” my dude explains. “I think my nickname was voted as being Sword?”
“Sword, yes.” Commander says, remembering the name. “Well, hey, head in and make yourself welcome. Drinks and snacks are available, as well as plenty of other my dudes to meet.”
Sword nods. “Thank you!”
He heads through the entrance. Commander sits back once more, and puts his headphones on, cycling through music on his MP3 player. Once he’s found something to listen to, he closes his eyes and tried his best to block out both the world and the thoughts broiling in his head.
Barracks 06 - The First To Fall
Fliss knocks lightly on the door to Fleur’s room. There’s a few moments of quiet, and then a subdued “Come in.” She enters to find Fleur lying on the bed, staring up at the ceiling and toying with a small stress ball.
“F-fleur, are you OK?” she asks.
“Yes.” Fleur replies. “I just… I knew Harvey.”
“From the l-last campaign?”
“It was one of the nicest nights of my life.” Fleur murmurs. “The night before the final battle, me and Harvey and Bernard relaxed in a transport copter. We just talked, and talked, until late into the night.”
“Oh, Fleur, I’m…” Fliss says. “It’s r-real, isn’t it?”
“War’s always real.” Fleur replies. She sits up, and pats the bed next to her; Fliss walks over and sits down. After a moment, she hugs Fleur tightly. The sisters remain there without moving for several minutes. Eventually, though, with a single tear running down her cheek, Fleur relinquishes the embrace.
“Fliss, we lost a friend today. Nous continuons.”
“Nous continuons.” Fliss repeats.
Fleur shakes her head, pushing her hair out of her face. “Right. Let’s relax for a while. Would you like something to drink?”
“Yes. That w-would be nice.”
Fleur stands up and offers her hand to Fliss. She takes it, and gives her sister a faint smile. “Let’s go.”
As they enter the main barracks room, they can’t help but notice the group sat in the middle of the room - Dave, Alfonse and Carter. Carter seems to be looking meek, and Fliss is quite surprised.
“I’ve been having a think.” Carter says.
“Go on?” Dave asks. Alfonse, drinking his coffee, is only half-listening.
“I was top of my class. Best in the business. All the teachers loved me.” he says. “And yet the minute I join the army properly, everyone seems to have problems with me being a natural leader.”
Dave raises an eyebrow, unconvinced. Carter is thinking to himself, and as his face lights up, he grins at Dave.
“I suppose it’s like getting any other job, isn’t it? I have the qualifications, but not the experience.”
“That’s right. But each day you go out to fight, you’re getting that experience.” Alfonse replies. “We’re not saying that you’re gonna have to bow to our knowledge for the rest of your career. But you’re still learning.”
“Learning in the harshest school there is - the battlefield.” Dave says.
“Right.” Carter replies. “I… I’m sorry. When you outstrip your peers by a huge amount, it kinda comes with a bit of an ego, I guess?”
“A lot of an ego.” Alfonse says under his breath.
“Today kind of sent your message home.” Carter said, his face falling. “That poor guy, he just… like it was nothing. If I’d been strutting about, making the orders and commands, more people might have…”
“Hey. But you didn’t make any commands, and we minimised losses.” Dave said. “That’s all we can do. Well, that and honouring the fallen.”
“I’m sorry, basically.” Carter said. “I’ll stop taking the position of leader, since you guys are all more qualified than that, and I suppose I’ll just have to be satisfied with being the most skilled soldier in the army.”
As Dave and Alfonse stare at him, completely taken aback, he stands up with great dignity, and strides off.
“What the fuck was that?” Dave says.
“Don’t ask. He’s half-learnt his lesson, so let’s just call that a success.” sighs Alfonse, his head in his hands.