Part 16: Interview 8 BonusDudecon 08 - Surprises in Store
In the kitchen, Commander enters just as Joker is heading into the back room with a freshly-filled glass of the special brew. Persona greets him with a curt nod, drinking his own special brew.
“Hey there, Persona. I wanted to check in - how’s Summoner doing with the bet?” Commander says. They stand in the kitchen and stare into the living room; Summoner looks to be drinking quite heavily.
“I… dare say that I may have scuffed things up a bit.” Persona says. “Me and Summoner had a bit of a disagreement. I think he might be drinking to, um, reduce his emotional stress.”
“What happened with you guys? Everything OK?” Commander asks.
Persona shifts awkwardly. “It’s not really worth going over. We both had different ideas about what the relationship was, pretty much…”
“Ah. Perhaps we should just drop the bet then.” Commander says. “Extenuating circumstances is kind of unfair. But at the same time, I’d like fifty from Summoner…”
“Twenty-five.” Persona replies. “We both made the bet, we split the winnings.”
“Right, right, of course. Well, he still looks moderately sober, so I guess we’ll see. But perhaps we should check in with him later.”
“Yeah, of course. There’s still four hours before we hit midnight.” Persona replies. “I’ll leave that to you, though. I still need to mull things over.”
They watch the party for a little longer before they turn back to the kitchen to discuss other matters over a drink. Hell pockets a small package as he re-enters Dudecon. He feels a little calmer after his brief trip home, and heads to the kitchen.
“Gentlemen.” he says as he enters. Commander and Persona greet him in kind, and he goes over to the special brew to pour himself a glass. With that done, he exits. Persona glances at Commander, who shrugs.
“Man of few words, I suppose. I suppose people come to the kitchen for the special brew, though, not to chat to us. Why don’t we head to the back room?”
“Sounds good. Joker, Tactician and Prof are in there at the moment. I’m sure you have plenty of stuff to talk about.”
“Yes!” Commander says, leading the way with glee. “I’ve wanted to discuss tactics with Professor all night but haven’t had a good chance. Let’s go!”
Hell, on his way to a bedroom with the drink, walks past Twee, who is just exiting the bathroom at the end of the corridor. They exchange glances, but don’t speak. Hell enters the bedroom closest to the bathroom, and closes the door behind him.
Meanwhile, in the living room, Dragonborn walks over to Celestrian, who seems to be a little out of it.
“Spending time with people, then rushing out for last-minute supplies. You’re quite busy this evening.” he says. Celestrian nods.
“Yeah, you could say that. I’m really tired, I won’t lie.”
“There are bedrooms.” replies Dragonborn. “Why not nap for an hour or so?”
“Ah, I would, but I’m trying to be a good host and all, and help out Commander.”
Dragonborn nods, and he places a powerful hand on Celestrian’s shoulder. “You can help better if you are well-rested. Get a nap; I shall take care of things here.”
Celestrian nods. “Yeah, that’s a good idea. Thanks, Dragonborn.”
“Think nothing of it.” Dragonborn replies as Celestrian walks over to the corridor with the bedrooms. Going for the door closest to the bathroom, he opens it and finds Hell in the room.
“Whoa!” Hell says, jumping up from his position at the desk in the room. There’s a drink of special brew in his hands, and he looks quite surprised.
“Ah, sorry, I can leave-” Celestrian says.
“No worries, you just scared me. I should’ve locked the door.” Hell replies, shrugging. “You having a secret tryst or something?”
“Oh, no, I’m not the type. Just need a nap. Sorry to disturb you.” Celestrian says, exiting the room. He picks the bedroom door opposite and finds it blessedly empty. Feeling his leaden eyelids beginning to close, he hops on top of the bed, and without even undressing or getting under the covers, he falls asleep within moments.
Barracks 08 - Queen of the Skies
The room is filled with the sounds of jubilation - the food is rich and tasty, the drink flows thick and fast, and the conversations are lively and upbeat. Everyone’s gathered to celebrate, even the COs. Nell herself has shown up to the celebration, but there’s only one girl in pride of place at the head of the table: the hero of the hour, Lucy.
“Absolutely incredible work, Lucy. You were amazing out there!” Michael says, raising his glass. Lucy, ever the picture of radiance, blushes and waves him away.
“Aw, c’mon, I just did what any one of us would have done!”
“I dunno, Luce.” Alfonse replies, grinning at her. “You spoke with such power and ferocity that for a minute, I thought Tina was back with us.”
“Top-notch work, definitely.” Max replies. “You said your name was Lucy, right? I swear I’ve heard that name before...”
“Yep!” Lucy replies. Max turns to Nell, who gives a secretive smile.
“I told you, Max, she’s one of the heroes who defeated Sturm. My dude’s soldiers are, to put it simply, some of the best.” she says.
“I wish my dude could’ve been here today.” Lucy replies, her smile faltering for a moment. “He’d have loved to see me doing my best out there.”
Nell takes her hand for a moment. “I’m sure he would be proud of you.”
“Do you know anything about his disappearance?” asks Max. “I know he was a bit strange but to up and leave like he did just strikes me as strange. He must’ve told you something, at least, considering your, uh, relationship.”
The group at the head of the table turn to Nell, who can’t look them in the eye. “He… said he had something to attend to. He promised he’d be back after exactly one year.”
“So he’ll be back in three months or so?” asks Alfonse.
“I trust he will be.” Nell replies.
Max leans back, eating a rib. “That’s a shame! He’s going to miss the rest of this campaign, and we could do with his tactical advice.”
“We’ll have to make do.” Nell replies. “Besides, my dude might be away, but his soldiers have certainly proved themselves to be capable beyond measure.”
“Of course!” Michael says. “We serve the Orange Star Army unfailingly. You can depend on every one of us.”
As he says this, he turns to look down the table. He sees Dave and Carter engaged in a no-doubt-scintillating discussion about being a good soldier, Selena piling Fliss’ plate high with food whilst Fleur chuckles at her sister’s unimpressed face, Carl and Von Panzer clinking their drinks together before starting to down them, Sami sighing as she explains the concept of continents to Andy, and every other soldier in the army enjoying themselves.
“Every single one.” he murmurs.
“Come on, Michael! Less talking, more eating. I’m starving!” Alfonse says.
Michael snaps back to reality and nods at his friends. “Right. Let’s enjoy ourselves this evening, then.”
“That’s more like it! The battle continues after this, but right now, Orange Star is safe, and that’s something to celebrate!” Max replies, and he greedily grabs another plate of food. Nell chuckles to herself and pours herself a glass of wine.
“You’re all right. Tonight is the night to celebrate.”