The Let's Play Archive

Advance Wars: Dual Strike

by cosmicPostman

Part 8: Chapter 8 (Intermission) - The Mercenaries Meet Again

Fred can’t help but give an amazed yell when he sees Dimitri walking into the Omega Land barracks in the early evening.

“I knew it was you in today’s battle! You’re Dimitri, the Meteor, right?!”

Dimitri gives him a curt nod. “Uh, yeah, that’s me. Sorry, what’s your name?”

“Fred! I’m here to slay every Black Hole soldier that gets in my way. Their blood will replenish this dying land, I swear it!”

Dimitri vaguely recalls playing poker with the Orange Star boys in the previous campaign, and remembers them mentioning a very… intense soldier by the name of Fred.

“I see. I’ve heard a little about you from your pals.”

“I’ve heard a lot about you!” Fred says, grinning. “I’m excited to be able to destroy evil alongside you! The invincible Meteor!”

“I’m not-” Dimitri says, but Fred is already wandering off, chuckling to himself and excitedly chattering about meeting his heroes. “Man, Zlata, I thought you were my biggest fan, but this guy might have you beat.”

Not for the first time, Dimitri winces; his partner, Zlata, has yet to join him and the rest of Dimitri’s Mercenaries on the Omega Land front, and he’s missing her quite a bit. He spots some familiar faces having a chat nearby, however, and heads over to join them.

“Ladies.” he says to the four members of the Snowbound Free Company: Alina, Eva, Nika and Valeria.

“If it isn’t Dimitri Volkov, of Dimitri’s Mercenaries.” Valeria says, nodding. “I’m glad to see you well. How are the rest of your merry band?”

“Most of ‘em still aren’t here yet. They’ll catch up in the next couple of days, with any luck.”

“Oh, I hope they get here soon.” Nika says, pulling a face. “I’ve been wanting to play around with Neotanks, and Zlata promised she’d show me their insides next time we met up. She’s done more work on them than me!”

Dimitri nods. “I’ll let you know when she gets here. Anyhow, what’ve you guys been up to in the last six months?”

“Skirmishes here and there, the usual.” Eva says, shrugging. “Did a bit of work for Kanbei on the southern front of Yellow Comet’s Macro Land territory. To be honest, work’s been slow.”

Alina nods. “It really has! Which is why we were anxious to join you guys on the Omega Land front - I’m so glad Colin hired us again. We must’ve really impressed him in the last campaign.”

“I’ll say.” Dimitri replies, nodding. “You gals sure know your way around a battlefield, that’s for sure.”

“You too, Dimitri.” Eva says. “I’m looking forward to fighting alongside you all again. Let’s just hope these battles aren’t as tough as last time.”

“I dunno about you, but Black Hole seems even tougher than last time. And with the land dying so rapidly… makes me worried.” Alina murmurs.

“We’ll figure it out.” Valeria replies. “After all, that’s what we’re here to do - solve the problem, and defeat Black Hole.”

“Aye. I like that thinking.” Dimitri says.

Nika tilts her head. “Oh, hey, Dimitri, isn’t that Ivan over there?”

Dimitri turns around to where Nika is looking, and gives an exhausted sigh - he knows exactly where his subordinate is going. “Oh, god, is that the way to Commander Sasha’s office? Hold on, I can’t let him flirt with a commanding officer - uh, see you guys later!”

Alina giggles, her voice high and musical, as Dimitri dashes off. “Oh, dear… looks like our leader’s got his hands full, as usual. Still, it’s good to be back, isn’t it?”

“I’d like to think so. We can find battles anywhere, but… it is only here that I feel like we have found a family.” Valeria says, allowing herself to smile for the briefest of moments.


As the evening wears on, it isn’t long before everyone in the entire barracks is asleep - almost everyone, anyway. As tends to happen every so often, Selena has found herself unable to sleep, and she’s wandering around the barracks late at night, listening to music and thinking.

She eventually wanders in the direction of the exit, and steps out into the cool Omega Land night; it’s warmer than it should be around this time of year, and Selena idly wonders if it has something to do with the desertification of the land that Black Hole is perpetrating. She sighs and walks over to a bench, seating herself upon it whilst she stares at the moon. Behind her is the CO’s sleeping quarters, and everything seems silent inside.

Selena, entranced in her music, only barely hears a murmuring noise as one of her songs comes to a close, and glances down to see a beautiful woman looking at her. She takes her earbuds out.

“I said, ‘penny for your thoughts’?”

“Oh! Sorry, I didn’t hear you…” Selena murmurs. “I was… lost in thought. Sorry, what’s your name? And what on earth are you doing up?”

“I’m Ludmilla, of Blue Moon. I was just heading back to my room after, uh… an unsatisfactory time with Boris, let’s say. Shouldn’t I be asking you that question? It’s very late to be awake, outside and lost in thought.”

“My name is Selena.” Selena replies. “It’s, um, complicated.”

“You’re in love.”

Selena looks at Ludmilla, her eyebrows shooting up. “How did you-”

“Honey, I know all the signs. Now come on, tell me what’s going on. Maybe my unique perspective can help out.”

Ludmilla sits on the bench next to Selena, placing a comforting arm on her shoulder.

“Well, I suppose it’s not that complicated.” Selena murmurs. “It’s… Commander my dude.”

“Oh, that guy? Big black coat, headphones, Eurobeat?”

“That’s the one.” Selena replies, blushing hotly as she thinks of my dude, striding confidently across the barracks, his coat swaying in the breeze. “He’s married. To Nell. They’re very happy together, and we never… we never did anything. We liked each other. Just… nothing ever became of it.”

“Hm, I see. A married man…” Ludmilla murmurs. “That’s a tough one. I’ve been around the block a couple of times, but don’t mistake me being loose for being immoral. Marriage is a sacred oath - it’s just not my cup of tea personally, but I can respect it. Guessing you don’t wanna be a homewrecker?”

“Oh, no, absolutely not! I… in all honesty, I don’t mind the situation right now. I would happily serve as his finest soldier for the rest of my life. That would make me happy.”

“I see. But something’s gotta be keeping you up.”

“That’s just it.” Selena replies. “But if I’m mostly satisfied… then I shouldn’t have such insomnia. I won’t deny that I feel sad about it sometimes, but to be at the point that I can’t sleep…”

“I don’t think it’s you.” Ludmilla replies, musing on it. “If you’re satisfied, then that’s probably not the thing keeping you awake. No, if I had to guess… you’re not sure about my dude. You don’t know how he feels about the situation.”

“You… you might be right.” mutters Selena. “I wonder if he wants me to stay away from him. Or if there’s something unresolved we need to discuss. Perhaps… perhaps that’s it.”

“Well, then, have a sit down with him and talk about it. Honestly, Selena, the number of problems that can be solved by a guy and a gal just sitting down and talking it out is really remarkable. Sound like a plan?”

“Yes. You’re right, we just need to talk about it. I’ll see if I can meet with him sometime soon.” Selena says, nodding.

Ludmilla claps Selena on the back and beams at her. “Just the two of ya. Should be a good chance to talk everything out, and find that closure you’re looking for. And after that? No more uninterrupted sleep, with any luck!”

“Thank you, Ludmilla. I appreciate having someone to talk to about this. My friends in the Orange Star Army have, well, heard it all before.”

“Hah, I know the feeling. Anytime you need more advice, come find me, alright? I’ll be around.” Ludmilla says. “Now come on - let’s get back to bed, shall we?”

As they make their way back into the barracks, Selena looks at Ludmilla with a grateful smile.

“Thanks again. I must ask, have you ever been in a situation like this?”

“Oh, me? I’ve had more guys than I can count. As for… love? I dunno. I’m not even sure if I’ve ever properly been in love.” Ludmilla replies, her face falling as she tries to think. “You gotta keep hold of that feeling, Selena. It’s powerful. Even unrequited, it’s powerful.”

“I understand that. I’m only sorry that you’ve never felt it yourself. Do you… want to?”

Ludmilla muses on this question for several moments. “I’d like to, eventually, I reckon. But whilst I’m young, I want to enjoy myself. And you should too, Selena - loneliness is an old woman’s game. Doesn’t look good on a girl as pretty as you.”

“Oh, well… I hadn’t even thought- you think I’m pretty..?”