Part 87: Interview 43 BonusBarracks 43 - In The Ruins
The Green Earth celebration is in full swing that evening. Instead of returning to the barracks, the nature-loving people of Green Earth felt that partying in the ruins of the factory provided a much more interesting place to hang out, amidst the mixture of metallic walls, crumbling and collapsing inwards, and nature, springing up to reclaim the factory.
Sitting outside the factory’s huge metallic piping, two men sit watching the water flow back and forth, up and down the beach in a regular pattern. Eventually, Wallace grabs a stone and hurls it as far as he can, watching as it splashes into the depths.
“It’s done. He’s resting safely now.” Edgar says.
Wallace nods. “He is. He is… thanks for what you said today, Edgar. I heard about it. ...Meant a lot.”
“We can mourn now. I’m confident enough in young Miss Petra and her compatriots that I… I honestly don’t think the Old Guard need to go to fight Sturm.”
“Conrad, Petra, Henry… they’ve all seen firsthand the harsh realities of war. But it didn’t shake them. They’ve continued putting their all into their fighting. I’d be proud to have them represent Green Earth in the final battle.”
Wallace nods. “Roland mentioned them a couple of times, I think. I never listened to everything he said… I should’ve.”
“You can’t live your life bearing regrets. He was a wonderful boy and a credit to your fatherhood. You weren’t perfect, Wallace, but nobody is. Look at Eagle - his father was one of the finest men I ever knew, and whilst Eagle’s got many of his attributes, he’s a tad more arrogant than his father was…”
Chuckling, Wallace turns to Edgar. “He is, isn’t he? And he still has those lucky goggles from when he was a kid.”
“He does. But we don’t begrudge him that. We’d all love to have a piece of our childhoods, wouldn’t we?”
“I’ve got all the memories I made with Roland.” Wallace says at last. “That reminds me of being a kid again. He reminded me of me. I… never really got on well with my old man, either.”
“You had your moments though. Roland loved you, and you loved him - that’s the memory you should hold on to.” Edgar replies.
Silence falls as the two men continue looking out over the ocean, glad for a chance to rest. The fighting is over.
Inside, however, the party is beginning to ramp up even further. Sebastian watches with some amusement as Amarah comes spinning past him, whooping with delight as she commands the dancefloor. Henry and a few of the other youngsters are dancing with her, and he shakes his head.
“I’m not much of a dancer.” he murmurs to himself.
“You never were.” says a voice, and he turns to see Adelaide stood next to him. They remain awkwardly in place for a moment, but Sebastian tries to focus.
“Hi.” Adelaide says. “I wanted to apologise.”
“Apologise!” Adelaide replies, glaring at him. “I… I’m not saying this because I want to fix things. We both need time. I get that. But… I wanted to say I’m sorry. I mistreated you. Manipulated you. I didn’t even realise I was doing it, but that’s still not an excuse. I just hope you can make friends with everyone now that I’m not-”
“...Thanks, Adelaide.” says Sebastian. “I appreciate that. I didn’t even realise you were doing it either. We’re still young, I, uh, guess. So we’ve got time to figure ourselves out.”
He strides off, leaving Adelaide stood thinking about his words.
“Figuring myself out… yes.”
Petra comes bounding into the upper areas of the factory, where some of the younger folk are relaxing.
“Whoa, what’s up?” says Conrad, jerking up. Quincy looks at the pair of them, taking a sip of a bright green drink and smacking her lips.
“You’re excitable today!”
“Of course I am! I just got a missive from Eagle himself. He… he wants to start training me personally! He says I’ve got talent!”
“Oh, damn.” Conrad says, eyebrows rising. “Edgar must have recommended you after this battle. Nice job, uh, sis.”
“Thanks, bro!” Petra says, jumping forward and hugging him. Quincy shrugs.
“It’s gonna be hard work, you know. You sure you’re ready?”
“There’s not a girl on this planet that’s more ready than Petra.” Conrad says, putting his arm around Petra, who nods.
“Right! I’m going to show everyone just how strong I am! Maybe one day, I can be a cool CO too!”
“I’ll be right there with you.” Conrad replies. “I’m gonna keep doing my best too. I wanna impress Edgar and show him what I’ve learnt.”
“Well, I guess I’m gonna have to chaperone the pair of you.” Quincy says, winking at them. “If you don’t mind having me along? You’re just delightful, you know.”
Conrad shrugs. “Yeah, whatever. I have a feeling the Green Earth army can stick together through anything now.”
“Yeah. I feel the same way.” Quincy replies, glancing down the stairs at the dancing and drinking going on below. “Heh, they sure know how to party. I’m gonna go join ‘em. You two keep it PG up here, OK?”
“H-hey! Why would you-”
“Aw, no, we wouldn’t-” Conrad says, but Quincy is already gone, off to enjoy the celebrations. As the sun sets and the night becomes even more lively, the soldiers continue to party with one another, celebrating with quiet drinks like Howard, Cassandra and Mulligan, or with excessive dancing, like Amarah, Noah and Frederick.
They are, however, all putting off the inevitable: soon, the countries will have to face Sturm. And casualties could be enormous.