The Let's Play Archive

Advance Wars: Dual Strike

by cosmicPostman

Part 4: Chapter 4 (Intermission) - Overflowing Confidence

Back in the barracks, the bar’s been open for an hour or two, and in the spacious main room, many of Orange Star’s finest are getting themselves some drinks to ring in the weekend after a successful few battles.

There’s two newcomers to the usual group - the suave and confident Julian, and a grinning, teetering-on-the-edge-of-arrogance Carter. They sit at the table with Dave, Alfonse and Michael.

“Well, well, well! If it isn’t Carter!” Dave says, putting his drink aside. “Been a while since I’ve seen you, kid. You’re looking well, though.”

“I got promoted! I lead a small squad of guys now, just like you guys!” Carter replies. “It’s so strange that I only got promoted after I started being less arrogant, but hey, it worked. I gotta thank you, Dave.”

“I didn’t do nothin’.” Dave replies. Michael raises an eyebrow at this, and Carter shakes his head.

“But,” Carter muses, thinking back to his meeting with the COs. “They told me you personally recommended me…”

“Oh, well,” Dave splutters. “I just - look, you impressed me by the end of the last campaign. Wanted to reward you for your efforts.”

“Man, what has Rin done to you, Dave?” Alfonse replies. He sips his drink with some amusement. “You’re the sweetest guy in the barracks these days. Even Michael’s got more bite than you.”

“You wanna put money on that, Alf?” Dave replies, burning red. He knows Alfonse is right - he’s become more soft since hanging out with Rin.

“There’s nothing wrong with that. If anything, it makes you a more well-rounded soldier. It’s all about knowing when to be hard, and when to be soft. You know that well.” Michael adds calmly.

Dave nods. “Yup. Suppose so.”

“So, you’re the legendary Dave Ruston.” states Julian, on the other side of the table. He gives a silky smile.

“I dunno about ‘the legendary’, but yeah, that’s me. Let me guess - the folks at the military academy are still talkin’ about me defeating Blue Moon singlehandedly?”

“Which isn’t even true. We helped.” murmurs Michael, sidelong to Carter.

Julian shrugs. “I’m afraid I wouldn’t know. I didn’t attend the military academy. I came from out of town. No training required.”

Dave raises an eyebrow. “Huh.”

“You said you were primarily good with intel, right?” Michael asks.

Julian sips his drink - coffee, rather than alcohol like the others - and nods. “Correct. Though, as you no doubt saw today, I am a dab hand in a fight. I adapt to any situation with aplomb.”

“Uh, sure.” Carter replies. “Well, you’d do well to listen to these guys whilst you’re here. They’re the Big Three of Orange Star, you know!”

“Oh, god, do people still call us that?” Alfonse chuckles.

“Big Three? Hm. I wasn’t aware there was such a social structure in place. You three are a higher rank, then?” Julian replies, raising an eyebrow.

“Oh, nothing like that! It’s more like… we’ve just been around for a long time.” Michael says hurriedly.

Dave nods. “Yeah, it’s not us that made that name. We don’t get special treatment.”

Carter sniggers a little. “Except Selena. She and my dude…”

“Shh!” hisses Alfonse. “Selena’ll have your head if she hears you talking about that!”

Dave is still staring evenly at Julian, not sure what to make of him. Eventually, he shrugs.

“Do you play cards, Julian?”

“I could be convinced. Allow me to get a drink first, if you wouldn’t mind. A coffee ought to keep my senses sharp for this battle of wits that’s about to unfold.”

He begins to walk away, and Dave pulls a face. Carter winces a little.

“He’s… interesting.”

“I was thinking that myself.” Dave says, eyeing the figure as he makes his way to the bar to buy another drink. “I just… anyone else getting a weird vibe from that guy?”

“I think it’s just because he talks proper, Dave. Come on, let’s just relax. We’ve got the whole weekend off before we’re being deployed again.” Alfonse replies.

Dave nods. “You’re right, you’re right. Well, whilst we’re waiting… Carter, promotion. I take it you’ve been helping with the Macro Land clearup of Black Hole, then? Any stories from the front line?”

“Oh, plenty! Turns out leadership is more stressful than I thought.” Carter says, grinning. He takes a big swig of his drink, finishing it off, then slams it on the table in a typically masculine fashion. “Right! So, we were skirmishing with a group of Black Hole infantry who were trying to sneak into our factory to nab a Neotank…”