Part 84: Interview 42 BonusBarracks 42 - The Champion
On the way back from the Green Earth factory battle, as the sun is beginning to set, the Orange Star soldiers are only focussed on one thing: the return of their most legendary soldier, Tina Van Koning, in considerably badass fashion.
Lucy is so excited that she’s vibrating violently, and when she spots Tina walking towards her and the other soldiers, she dives towards her. Dave, Selena and Alfonse shake their heads in bemusement, whilst Fliss watches with quiet confusion.
“Luce! Have you’ve grown even more since I’ve been away? You’re gonna be taller than me soon, and I dunno how to feel about that!”
“I do my best!” Lucy says, laughing.
“How’s your pa?”
“Oh, still travelling the world, tasting fine drinks and the like. I got a letter from him a couple of days ago!”
“Good to hear.” Tina says, grinning. She catches the eye of the other soldiers and nods at them.
“Tina Van Koning! Could you have made a more incredible entrance?!” Dave calls. Tina and Lucy stride towards him, and Selena chuckles.
“I’d been practising that one for weeks!” she replies. “Dave, you’re looking well. And Selena! Dare I say it… your eyes are harder, you look a bit tougher. You used to be so nervous, but now? You seem to be, how do I put it... really fucking badass?”
Selena blushes a little. “Oh, I wouldn’t go that far.”
“What happened to ya?” Tina asks.
“You left. I stepped up.” Selena says. “Someone had to become the new, uh, head bitch of Orange Star.”
Tina lets out a glorious belly laugh. “I’ll say!”
“She’s a damn good one, too.” Dave says, nodding. “She’s been holding this army together almost the entire time.”
“Speaking of the army, there’s some new faces.” Tina says, looking down at Fliss, who jumps with nervousness. Lucy smiles at her.
“Yep! We made a few new friends!”
“M-my name is Fliss…” the girl murmurs. “I’ve… heard a lot about you. They say you’re on of the g-greatest soldiers in the world…”
“Oh, they would!” Tina sighs, staring over at Dave and Alfonse and giving them a wry grin. “I’m not, I’m just hyper-aggressive and I like shooting things. But I’m pretty good.”
“Well, we’re glad to have you back with us, anyway. Especially since our toughest battle will be coming up soon.” Alfonse says.
“Oh yeah, Sturm again, huh? So long as we’ve got my dude, we’ll be fine. Haven’t seen the boss around in a while, actually. Where is he?”
A silence falls as the group continue walking without answering, and Tina’s eyes widen as she sees the sad countenances on the faces of the soldiers.
“Oh, don’t tell me…”
“He’s not dead!” Lucy says desperately, as if trying to convince herself. “He… vanished, about six months before Black Hole invaded again. Apparently only Nell knows where he’s gone and when he’s going to be back…”
“Aw, hell!” Tina says, sighing. “That’s unfortunate. I missed him. You holding up alright, Selena?”
Selena blushes a deep, deep magenta as she looks up at Tina.
“I- yes, of course! I’m… I’m missing him like the rest of you. I don’t- that’s all.”
Tina grins at her, but says nothing else.
“Hey, we’ve got Nell, and all of the armies are supporting one another. I’m sure we’ll be fine.” Alfonse replies. “Tina, you could probably take out Sturm singlehandedly.”
“Give me a big enough tank, and I’d be happy to try!” Tina replies with a laugh. The soldiers continue to walk back to the Orange Star encampment, talking about this and that, but as the encampment comes into sight, Tina begins walking slower, and Selena joins her. The rest of the group head off, and Tina watches them go, a faint smile on her face.
“What are you thinking?” asks Selena.
“It’s nice to see that stuff hasn’t changed. It feels a little bit like coming home.”
“I know what you mean. These people… they are my family.”
“Wilbert wanted to come too, but obviously we couldn’t both go.” Tina murmurs. “He’s staying at home with little Lucy. And… whilst those two are the dearest family in the world to me, I feel the same about the rest of you lugs.”
“Perhaps once the war is over, we can come and visit you. I would… enjoy that.”
“Yeah.” Tina replies, nodding. Her eyes scan the beautiful sunset blazing in the distance, and she lets out a long sigh. “Yeah, that’ll be nice. Let’s kick Sturm’s ass quickly then, so I can get home to my girl.”
“I’ll be right there with you, Tina.”