Part 80: Interview 40 BonusBarracks 40 - Siblings Of Green Earth
There’s a knock on the door of Cassandra’s room, which she shares with the amicable and excitable Petra, who jumps up. Cassandra is still lying in bed, the television in front of her playing a romantic comedy whilst she snoozes.
“The door! Come in!”
“Hang on, I’m-” grumbles Cassandra as she sits up, rubbing the sleep out of her eyes. She looks up to see Mulligan enter. His moustache quivers as he laughs at her position.
“So this is how you spend your Saturday evenings, is it, Cassandra?”
Cassandra shakes her head. “Argh, Mulligan, trust you to catch me napping. It’s been a busy week. What did you need?”
“I came to check on you.” Mulligan replies. Petra has gone back to her own bed, playing some music on her headphones, only half-listening to the conversation. “You’ve been fighting with incredible resolve lately, so I was wondering if you’d finally figured out your… problem, about returning to Green Earth.”
“I did, yes.” Cassandra murmurs. “I was thinking about what you said, about how the here and now matters, and you’re right. Orange Star dropped everything to deliver us supplies, Yellow Comet supported Drake during a rough battle… the countries have truly come together. We feel like one unified force.”
“I would agree. We’ve banded together against a common foe.” Mulligan says, nodding sagely.
“And so, because of that, it doesn’t feel like we went to Orange Star and came back to Green Earth any more. It feels like we reported to some new COs for a bit, the same way we switch between Jess, Drake and Eagle. Thinking about it like that has helped.”
“I’m very glad to hear it, Cass. It’s been a pleasure to have my sister in arms back alongside me.”
Cassandra smiles and nods, standing up and embracing Mulligan.
“You too, Mull, my brother in arms.”
“Well, how about we grab a drink? It’s probably more fulfilling spending a bit of time being social instead of watching another rom-com.” Mulligan says.
“Oh, I suppose so. I’m not the most social creature, and you’re not going to convince me to play poker again any time soon!”
As Mulligan and Cassandra leave the room, Petra hears a booming laugh from Mulligan.
“It’s not my fault that you lost to Lorelei! Perhaps this time you can get your own back? I’ll lend you some money…”
“I said no, Mull, how many times…”
Their voices fade away, and chuckling to herself, Petra takes off her headphones. She hears footsteps coming up the hall and skips over to the door, peering out. She spots Conrad, shaking his head as if he can’t believe what he’s seeing.
“Those two, I can never tell if they’re best friends or worst enemies…” he says. “Oh, Petra. Cassandra and Mulligan just came past, arguing about-”
“I know, I just saw them!” Petra says, smiling. “You have to admit, their bond is strong, though. People don’t use the phrase ‘siblings in arms’ lightly!”
“They’re kinda like siblings, I guess.” Conrad replies, shrugging. “They inspire you, huh?”
“They do! I was… I was thinking, just before, that I don’t really have a sibling in arms. Edgar’s my teacher, and the others aren’t, like, super close with me, you know?”
“Do you need one?” asks Conrad.
“Why, are you offering?” Petra replies, smirking at him. Conrad shakes his head.
“I- no, I was just asking why it’s so important to ya.”
“Well, it seems to be an important part of being a soldier! Mulligan and Cassandra, Edgar and Wallace, Abelard and Albert… everyone’s got that other half, you know?”
Conrad sighs, unconvinced. He leans against the corridor, looking back up at the rather put-out visage of Petra.
“Look, I don’t think you really need another half. You’re damn good at what you do, and Edgar’s got high expectations for you. But… if it’ll make you happy, I guess you can call me your brother in arms.”
Despite his distaste for moments of emotional weakness, Conrad can’t help but feel like it was worth it as he watches the smile return to Petra’s features; she gasps and jumps forward, standing in front of him. She’s shorter than him, and he looks down at her determined expression.
“Yeah.” Conrad says, shrugging. Petra punches the air.
“Alright! I’m gonna do my best in the next battle now I’ve got you, brother in arms!”
As Petra bounds away, barely able to contain her glee, Conrad lifts a single hand to wave at her.
“You too... uh, sis, I guess?”