Part 41: Interview 20 BonusBarracks 20 - The Touch of Kindness
Rose hears movement outside her bedroom, but she’s unsurprised. She puts her teddy bear, Marlon, aside, laying him carefully on the pillow, then goes to open the door, revealing the tall, pale form of Andromeda.
“Ah, welcome.” Rose says. Andromeda enters with her suitcase and walks over to the other bed in the room. It is no accident - Rose has seen Andromeda’s file, and has moved the rooms around so she can meet the girl for herself.
Andromeda is quiet as she begins unpacking.
“I hope you do not mind rooming with a girl such as myself.”
“Nay… no. No.” Andromeda replies in a soft tone.
“I am glad. I have no qualms with you either. Tell me, Andromeda… why are you in this army?”
Andromeda looks around like a deer caught in the headlights, and Rose flinches when she sees such real, palpable fear in Andromeda’s eyes.
“I… I owe a lot to this country.” she whispers. “I must repay it… even if it scares me.”
“I understand that feeling. I fought for Orange Star for a while because I owed them a debt. Might I ask what happened?”
Andromeda’s hands reach up to the necklace around her neck, which has a charm shaped like an infinity symbol on it, and she begins to play with it.
“I was born in Blue Moon.” she says quietly. “They… parents, them… they could not care for me. I was adopted by people in Yellow Comet.”
“I see…” murmurs Rose.
“People used to make fun of me for how I look… and being adopted… and being quiet… but my parents- my real Yellow Comet parents… they always loved me.”
“So you’re doing this for them.”
“Yes…” Andromeda replies. “I told them I would go… and fight… and try and make friends…”
Rose’s heart feels a strange emotion all of a sudden. She’s felt it once before - the deep-seated feeling of belonging, when Tina McCoy offered to be her friend. With that, she knows what she has to do, and extends a hand.
“Andromeda. I would be honoured to be your friend.”
Andromeda can barely speak, but reaches out and takes Rose’s hand. “Th… k… you…”
“You are ten years my elder,” Rose says, gesturing to her bed. “So we may not have much in common. But we shall endeavour to spend time together. Is there anything you’d like to do?”
“What... do you do?” asks Andromeda.
Rose falls silent as she thinks about the question for a moment.. “I try and play with my teddy bear, Marlon, when I can. I am still young, and I want to enjoy my childhood. I also spend time with the other soldiers, playing cards or other such games. And I write letters.”
“Yes.” Rose says, nodding. “I keep in touch with some old friends from Orange Star, such as Tina. In fact, I ought to draft a reply to her tonight…”
“I would like… to write a letter to my parents…” murmurs Andromeda. “They must be worried.”
Rose smiles at the girl. “Well, let us find some paper and write those letters, then. I’m sure your parents would like to hear how you’re getting on - it’s them you’re fighting for, after all.”
“Yes… you’re right…”
Andromeda smiles back, and Rose feels joy bubbling forth. She makes a promise, then and there, that she’ll be there for Andromeda.
Just like Tina was for me.