Part 53: Interview 26 BonusBarracks 26 - A Mirror Brightly
When Vanessa comes to the office door of Sonja, she knocks with more confidence than last time. As Sonja invites her in, she takes a deep breath, steadies her breathing, and enters.
“Vanessa. What, um, brings you here to see me?”
Vanessa wastes no time. “I wanted to apologise.”
Sonja’s eyes widen. She gestures to Vanessa.
“The floor’s yours.”
“I acted irrationally - and I don’t just mean the other day. Back when you and I graduated military academy, and I caused a scene… I was a child.” Vanessa says. “When you said the issue was my attitude, I could barely understand it. But now that I’ve thought about it, you’re right. I resented you because I thought I was better than you. That arrogance, that sour attitude… that was always the problem.”
Sonja nods gently.
“So, I’m apologising. I’m sorry for what I said, and for the grudge I held. You’re an amazing CO. It was childish to suggest you only got your position through Kanbei.” Vanessa finishes.
Sonja takes a moment to sit and look at Vanessa - earnest, hopeful, with none of her usual vitriol. She gives a soft smile, and opens up a drawer to pull out an envelope.
“Here. This is for you.”
“What is it?” asks Vanessa, taking the envelope.
“It’s a letter of recommendation. I noticed how you’ve been fighting more effectively in our recent battles - and everyone noticed you slaying that medium tank with your bare hands. So I’m recommending that, as soon as this campaign is done, you’re to be promoted to ACO. And if you perform well, you may well be promoted again to a full-fledged CO.”
“Sonja, I…” breathes Vanessa, staring down at the envelope and feeling emotions well up in her chest.
“Ooh! Don’t thank me yet. You need to keep working hard if you want to convince them to promote you!”
Vanessa snaps out of her reverie. “Right! I will - I’ll prove it to everyone!”
“Before you go…” Sonja says, causing Vanessa to glance up with curiosity. “Out of interest, what made you change your mindset?”
“Well, when we last spoke, and you said the issue was my attitude, I didn’t understand what you meant. But… then I saw Rose at work. I saw the way that she approached difficult situations, and I realised just how different we are - I realised that’s why she was an ACO and I’m not. Did a little soul-searching, and… well, to put it simply, I’m gonna try and be more professional from now on.”
Sonja can’t help but smile. “I mean this sincerely: I’m very happy to hear that you’re making a change. I was worried that you’d remain a stick-in-the-mud forever.”
“I thought I would too.” Vanessa says, chuckling. “But I know what I want, and I’ll get there, any way I can.”
Without warning, the words from Lash echo in Sonja’s mind, and she finds herself saying them aloud.
“We’re not so different, you and I. It’s a shame we allowed our friendship to be dashed by such childish things.” she says. “Vanessa, would you like to take tea with me sometime?”
Vanessa places the envelope in her pocket, and looks up into the eyes of a girl she once liked, and then hated, and now…
“Yes. That sounds wonderful, Sonja.”