Part 77: Interview 38 BonusBarracks 38 - Newfound Resolve
Petra comes dashing into the barracks’ break room, squealing, which disturbs the two occupants nearest to the door - Conrad and Edgar.
“Conrad! You were so amazing out there!”
Conrad winces. “Uh. I guess I was OK. Just supporting from the back.”
“Yeah, but in a Neotank!” Petra says, eyes shining with admiration. “You struck fear into the hearts of the enemy, I’m sure of it!”
Edgar pats Conrad on the back, and gestures to Petra.
“Please, Petra, have a seat. As it happens, I was just speaking with Conrad about his battle performance today.”
“Yeah, I…” Conrad starts as Petra sits down next to Edgar, still grinning from ear to ear with her characteristic glee. “I wanted to apologise to you both.”
Edgar nods gently, which urges Conrad to continue. He takes a deep breath.
“Last time we spoke, I said some stuff. I didn’t understand what I was talking about. What you said about my own beliefs determining my future… you were right. I was jealous of Petra, so when you said she could potentially be as good as Eagle, I… lashed out a little. But now I understand why Petra’s better than me.”
Petra is no longer smiling, but staring at Conrad with a confused expression.
“Not because of talent, or skill, or luck. Just because she’s plotted her life differently to me. Her beliefs are different to mine. And, look, I’m not saying I’m gonna blow anyone’s mind in the future, but… I don’t just want to end up another nameless body in a ditch. I want more.”
“If that’s what you believe, then that’s your truth.” Edgar says, smiling at Conrad. “I’m very proud to hear that you’ve come to this conclusion.”
“Yeah! That explains why you were fighting so well on the battlefield today!” Petra replies, grinning. She gives Conrad a big thumbs-up. Conrad chuckles, and returns the gesture awkwardly.
Edgar leans back in his chair, and turns to his left to view the rest of the soldiers in the break room. They’re fetching drinks, chatting over coffee, lounging around at the tables and playing cards with one another. For a while, he doesn’t speak, but he soon senses that Conrad and Petra are looking in the same direction as him, curious as to what he’s noticed.
“Every soldier in this room has the potential for greatness. It does not come from skill. It comes from raw belief. When you’re caught under fire, surrounded by tanks and bombers, no amount of skill will let you find the best escape option or pull the trigger to fire on a surprise enemy; that’s instinct, and instinct is drawn from belief. A soldier thinks they are nothing will delay pulling that trigger. He will not spot an escape route.”
“A soldier that wants more will do those things.” murmurs Conrad.
“Without hesitation.” replies Edgar calmly. He continues to let his gaze wash over the break room, smiling at the camaraderie on display as the soldiers chat idly about nothing. Sebastian enters, and though he isn’t in the mood to stay and chat with anyone as he prepares a coffee, he soon spots the voluminous black hair and pink bow of Amarah. She gives him a little wave.
Once his coffee is ready, he walks over and takes a seat at her table. Amarah sips her drink, then looks at him honestly.
“Sebastian, I heard about what happened.” she says.
“Yeah.” Sebastian replies. “I guess you were right. I wasn’t happy. But even though I’ve got all these new friends now, and I can actually talk to people, I… still don’t feel happy.”
“Breakups are tough, Seb.” Amarah says. “You’re not going to feel better right away. It could takes weeks, even months. It’s all about moving on ahead, though.”
“I suppose.” Sebastian mutters. He gives Amarah a little smile. “Thanks for talking to me about it before, though. I appreciated that.”
“I was just worried.” Amarah replies. “I think you’ve made the right decision, though, even if it doesn’t feel like it right now. And you have plenty of friends to reach out to now, so don’t hesitate, OK?”
Sebastian nods. “OK.”
He stands up, still holding his cup of coffee, and looks down at Amarah.
“I’ll, uh, see you later.” Amarah says.
“Yeah. I’ll… I’ll make sure to reach out to people.” Sebastian says. As he walks away, Amarah can’t help but let her face fall. She can barely imagine what he’s going through.