Part 22: Interview 11 BonusDudecon 11 - A Moment of Peace and Quiet
Breed and Scout sit in the chairs in the back room, and Breed lets out a satisfied sigh as he sinks into the seat.
“Man. That film was good, but I’m not feeling grabbed. Thanks for offering to talk to me.”
“Oh, of course.” Scout replies with a grin. “It’s cool to meet my dudes from different universes, but our universes are so similar that I just had to chat about it. So, you also have monster tamers?”
“Yep, and a lot of the same wildlife, too.” Breed says. “Slimes, skeletons, drackies…”
Scout rubs his chin thoughtfully. “I wonder why our universes are so similar? There’s got to be some kind of rhyme or reason to which universes have my dudes, and which ones don’t.”
“I’ve really no idea. I think we can leave that kind of deep thought to Commander and the other higher-ups.”
“Hah, true.” Scout says.
Summoner peeks into the room.
“Are you- oh.”
“Hey, Summoner.” Scout says. He stares at the white-coated individual for a moment. “Were… you expecting something else?”
“I’m not gonna say I thought you were fucking, but… well, I thought you were fucking.”
“Oh, heavens, no!” Breed replies. “We were just bonding over having similar universes. Until you walked in, anyway.”
“Sorry. I’ve seen the film before so I figured I’d satisfy my curiosity. I, uh… guess I’ll leave you to it?”
There’s a yell from the living room and the sounds of groaning and giggling in equal measure. Summoner tilts his head.
“On second thoughts, mind if I join you?”
“Go for it.” replies Breed, gesturing to an empty chair. “Sounds like something stupid went down out there.”
Back in the living room, Twee leaps to the side as Commander lunges for him.
“Twee! That was the most emotional bit and you just had to turn the subtitles off, didn’t you?”
Giggling insanely, Twee continues to dance out of Commander’s range, grinning.
“Really, that’s on you. Firstly for watching subs over dubs, and secondly, for leaving the remote unattended.”
“Urgh, unbelievable.” sighs Commander. Celestrian, still on the sofas, holds up the remote.
“I turned them back on! The film can continue!”
Commander glares daggers at Twee, who simply grins in response. Despite his machinations, however, Twee doesn’t do anything out of the ordinary for the rest of the film, and it finishes just before 11. The my dudes jointly decide to wait a little while before starting another film, but they keep the lights on a very low, moody setting as they mingle for a little while.
Breed, Scout and Summoner return from the back room after a lengthy and interesting conversation, and rejoin Commander and Hell. Tactician, Celestrian, Dragonborn and Prince are relaxing on the sofas, keeping an eye on Twee, whilst Joker, Luminary and Prince are on the other end of the sofas, playing cards.
“Oh, Commander! I wanted to speak to you, actually.” Breed says. Commander looks at him.
“Go for it.”
“Well, we were just talking about how my dudes all look so similar. Any reason for that, in particular?”
“Not really.” Commander says, shrugging. “Universal constants always have similar physiological features. I mean, there are some differences. Prince is shorter than us, Dragonborn is way more ripped than us, and, uh… Dudette has some… notable differences.”
“Double D-cups, you mean?” says Hell, and the group laugh.
“Yeah, exactly. So there are differences, but honestly, most of us could probably swap universes and not have anybody notice.”
“Interesting.” Summoner says. Hell muses on the information, and Breed is staring at the ground, apparently lost in thought. Commander gives them a moment, then gestures to the kitchen.
“More drinks? Plenty of special brew left.”
“I don’t like the special brew.” Hell says, shrugging. “But I’d love to continue this conversation. Universal constants are kind of weird, and I still don’t get them.”
“Well, I’ve done a little research on them.” Summoner replies. “I actually met another universal constant; her name is Anna. Anyway, let’s get those drinks, then we carry on chatting about this.”
“Sounds good to me!” Breed says. The group head off, still chatting about the deep and complex subject of universal constants.
Leaned against the wall on the other side of the room, Dudette joins Persona. It’s quiet in the living room now, with just the soft sounds of music and conversation drifting over from the sofas. Persona nods at Dudette.
“Hey. Up now?”
“Yeah.” Dudette replies. “Joker and I are, anyway. Professor is still asleep.”
Persona chuckles. “Somehow, I’m not surprised. That guy could sleep for a whole month, I’m pretty sure.”
“Why are you just stood here on your own, anyway?”
“I just… I dunno. Relationship troubles, but I suppose you’d know a bit about that.”
“Yeah.” Dudette says. She sips her drink. “Things didn’t go well with Commander today but I… think we’re still friends. So that’s good. How about you?”
“Ah, I don’t wanna talk about it, really.” Persona replies. “Best just to drop it. I’ll just be single. People always say that being single is more fun, don’t they?”
“Apparently.” Dudette replies sullenly. She sees the sadness in Persona’s face and places a hand on his shoulder. “Hey. Any guy or girl would be lucky to have you, Persona.”
“Thanks.” mumbles Persona, hiding his face in embarrassment.
The pair stand there for a few moments more, staring at the other my dudes chatting on the sofas. Dudette sips her drink again. Eventually, Persona turns to her.
“Do you want to get really drunk and make some bad decisions?”
“God, I thought you’d never ask.”
Barracks 11 - The Challenges of Youth
There’s a knock on Ludmilla’s door.
“A guest?” Eva, her roommate, asks. She puts her book on the bedside table and glances at Ludmilla.
Ludmilla nods. “Hm. I wasn't expecting anyone over, but you never know. Perhaps…”
Eva, having roomed with her friend a while now, knows what that means. She nods. “Alright. I’ll make myself scarce.”
She opens the door and steps out immediately, muttering a quick ‘excuse me’ to the young man outside the door. She turns as he wanders in, and Ludmilla looks up at him.
“Mark. Um, can I help you?”
Mark, red in the face, begins to form a sentence. “Well, you, uh… like the act of, you know, fornic- sex… and… um, well, it’s my right- I think we- I’d… I require your body.”
“Your right?” Eva, in the corridor, says, bristling.
Ludmilla’s eyebrow rises, and keeping her cool, she gestures to Eva.
“Take it easy, E. You go hang out in the break room - I’ll deal with this.”
She stands up and tuts at Mark, as Eva walks away, glowering.
"That's… really not a great start. You're either really new to this, or just a plain dickwad."
"So, what, no fornicating?" asks Mark.
Ludmilla stares stonily at him.
"No. No fornicating." she replies, rolling her eyes. "Top tip. When you're trying to woo a girl, the phrase 'I require your body' rarely works. It's a little 1800's serial killer. Secondly, read the room, pal. Really not in the mood at the moment."
“You… don’t want to?"
“Contrary to popular belief, I’m not a dick repository, Mark.” says Ludmilla. "I am a woman who sometimes has needs, and isn't afraid to fulfil them – when she feels like it. You know why? Because I can do what I like. And the only person who requires my body, is me. Capiche?"
“Unbelievable. Peter, Anton, sounds like you’ve had everyone except me. Double standards, or what?”
“It’s not about you.” sighs Ludmilla. “Leave, now.”
She sits back on her bed and leans over to the bedside table to retrieve her remote control. She switches the television in the corner of the room on.
Mark sags in defeat. He turns to the door and leaves, but the moment he’s out of earshot, he begins to mutter angrily to himself.
“I knew it. I knew it’d end like that… it’s just because I’m not as good-looking as them. So stupid that she can just get away with turning me away like that…”
He walks past the barracks’ main room, where Eva has gone to sit with Anatoly and Peter, who are dealing some cards. She’s cooled off after Mark’s outburst, and has homed in on her favourite thing - a game of cards.
“Hi, gents. What are we playing?”
“Oh, we were going to play a few rounds of Gin Rummy or something. Want to join us?” Peter says.
Eva nods, sitting down. “Deal me in! I should probably stay away from cards, especially after last week.”
“Oh, right. You’re the girl who lost five hundred funds on one game of Blue Moon Poker, aren’t you?” Anatoly says.
Eva goes red as she picks up her hand. “Maybe, yeah. How did you hear about that, anyway? You only got here the other day.”
Anatoly gestures to his hair and face. “Come on, don’t you see the resemblance? I’m Anton’s older brother. He told me all about you guys.”
“Oh, I see!” Eva replies. “Pleasure to meet you. So, you must think I’m some kind of mess…”
“No, not at all.” Anatoly says, grinning. He places a card down and Peter sighs. “He said you were pretty well-read and fun to debate with… but that it all goes out the window the minute the deck of cards comes out.”
“Yeah, that’s about right.” Eva says, chuckling. “Life is all about taking chances, you know? I mean, taking chances is the only reason I ended up here in the army.”
“Oh? What happened there?” asks Peter.
“Well, there’s a whole story, but now’s not the time. There’s cards on the table and a game to be won!” Eva replies.
“Alright, alright.” Anatoly says, then grits his teeth. “Argh, Eva, I wanted that card…”