The Let's Play Archive

Advance Wars: Dual Strike

by cosmicPostman

Part 14: Chapter 14 (Intermission) - The Impenetrable

In the Orange Star barracks after the battle, things are relatively quiet in the vehicle maintenance room. Ingo is in there alone, repairing his tank, and is so engrossed in his work that he doesn’t notice Julian come in.

“Ingo, isn’t it?” he asks.

Ingo looks up from the top of his tank, where he’s been kneeling, and sees Julian down below. He nods carefully.

“Uh, yeah. Ingo Easford-Martin.”

Julian raises an eyebrow. “Martin? I wasn’t aware your surname was double-barrelled.”

Ingo winces at this, and sighs. He hops down from his tank, landing on the ground with a heavy slam before returning to a standing position, where he stands just a little shorter than Julian. “Well, no, it’s not, really.”

Julian remains quiet, and prompts Ingo to continue.

“Martin is the surname of a soldier who passed on a long time ago. His name was Bill, and he was my blood brother.” Ingo replies. “So, yeah, I’m Ingo Easford, like my brother, Eric Easford. But… I prefer Easford-Martin, out of respect for Bill.”

“I see. He’s just as much a part of your family as Eric.” Julian replies. Ingo nods quietly, and Julian closes his eyes. “Mm, I see… you’ve suffered great tragedy on your path through life. I do apologise for bringing up your brother in that battle. I’ve been led to believe that was something of a social faux pas.”

Ingo smirks. “Heh. Guessing Lucy had a ‘quick chat’ with you, huh?”

“How did you guess?” Julian replies with a twinkle in his eye. “You’ve got a special girl there, Ingo.”

“Don’t I know it.” he says wryly. “How to live and how to love… yeah, she’s a good one.”

“So, this is your tank? It looks in good health.” Julian says, glancing up at the huge machine next to them. Ingo nods.

“Used to be Bill’s. I’ve been looking after it - generally I’m more of an artillery specialist.”

“I see.” Julian says. “Everywhere I go…”

After this, Julian falls silent, and Ingo waits for a few moments before nervously stepping forward.

“Uh, everything alright?”

“Oh, I was just deep in thought. Everywhere I go in this army, I see connections to other people. That Tina woman I keep hearing about, Bill and Eric… the Big Three of Orange Star, and Selena, who runs the show.” Julian muses. He looks at Ingo with a stare that pierces right through him. “Have you ever thought about how tight-knit your little division is? Virtually impenetrable to anybody who wants to become a part of this army.”

“…I guess so. You’ve not been given the warmest welcome, huh?”

“I don’t resent it. I know I’m… a little different. It’s just something I’ve noticed.” Julian says. “It’s a good thing, to an extent. You work together so well, and your commander, my dude, seems like he knows you well. But that leaves you unable to work with other soldiers all that well, I think.”

“You’d be surprised. We’ve got friends in every army.” Ingo replies. “But I do see what you mean. I don’t know what you want me to say.”

“Oh, you don’t need to say anything.” Julian replies. He strides over to Ingo’s tank and tilts his head curiously. “I hope we can become friends, anyhow.”

Before Ingo can reply, Julian walks past Ingo’s tank and heads for his own tank, further away, deeper into the maintenance area. Ingo stares after him, feeling a bit strange. He decides that he’s worked enough on his tank today, and makes his way back into the main barracks area.

As usual, it’s lively and full of noise, as the soldiers relax and enjoy themselves after a tough day’s battle. There’s several groups of soldiers sitting around that Ingo feels tempted to join, but he soon spots Lucy enjoying a drink at the bar, and heads over to her. Sneaking up behind her, he wraps his arms around her torso and kisses her on the shoulder.

“Hey, pal- oh, Ingo!” Lucy says, gasping. “Finished on your tank?”

“Yeah, I… ran into Julian, and had a weird kind of conversation. So I figured I’d get out of there.”

“Oh, yeah, that guy! He’s real weird. Every time I ask about his past, he just says he works in intelligence. Sounds kind of odd to me.” Lucy replies, but her face soon brightens up and she hugs Ingo. “Anyway, it’s good to see you! I made sure to not make any plans tonight, so shall we go on a walk together?”

Ingo nods. “That sounds good to me, Lucy.”

As they head out of the barracks room, Julian’s words are still playing on Ingo’s mind.

“Hey, Luce… do you think this army’s too insular? Like, do we make it hard for new people to join us?”

“Where’d that come from all of a sudden?” Lucy asks. “I don’t think we’re that insular! I mean, sure, not everyone’s going to fit right in, but Fliss and Carter did just fine in the last campaign, don’t you think? Plus, I feel like people are naturally going to become closer when they’ve faced such dangerous things together.”

“Yeah, I suppose you’re right.” Ingo murmurs.

“Heck, we all fought Sturm together! And if that didn’t bring us together, I don’t know what would have. I’m always down for meeting new friends, but I can’t deny that this army, as it is currently, is my family!”

“I feel the same way.” Ingo replies. “This is my family. And you are too, Luce.”

“Jeez, don’t say things like that! You’re gonna make me blush!”

The pair walk out into the gentle autumnal evening, where the wind is slightly cold and the sky is flecked in a series of ochres and pinks as the sun begins to set.

“...Have you ever thought about what we’ll do after this? Like, maybe… become a family properly?” Ingo asks suddenly, as the thought occurs to him.

Lucy’s breath catches in her throat. “Y-you mean, like, get… married?”

“Well, yeah, maybe. Perhaps we’re a bit young for that. But like… do you ever think about the future?”

“Not much, I gotta admit.” Lucy replies, blushing hotly. “But when I do think about it, it’s got you in it, Ingo.”

“I’m glad. Same here.”

Lucy feels Ingo’s hand creep slowly into hers, and she grabs it tightly.