The Let's Play Archive

Advance Wars: Dual Strike

by cosmicPostman

Part 27: Chapter 27 (Intermission) - An Allied Nations Christmas

Update 27 (Intermission) - An Allied Nations Christmas

[Here it is, the Christmas update, as per usual. Hope you all enjoy, and I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas. As a note, I currently have The VirusTM so next week’s update will just be a short little one doing the opening scene of the next map, then giving you guys some time to vote on the next CO, since I didn’t include that in the previous update. Either way, enjoy your day, in whatever way you choose to!]

The snow is beginning to fall, and throughout the Allied Nations barracks, the sense of Christmas spirit begins to pervade throughout, filling nearly everyone with an unmatched sense of festive cheer and goodwill. It is Christmas once again for the soldiers of the Allied Nations, and they are all celebrating it in their own ways.

In the bedroom of Lucy, Rin and Selena, many of the girls (and Michael) have made their way on Christmas morning to swap presents and get ready for the Christmas meal in the afternoon, including Diana, Fenya, Rose, Khepri and Vanessa. It’s a little cramped, but the atmosphere is glowing.

“Doing a Secret Santa was a great idea, Michael.” Rin says, looking through the bag of gifts. “That one’s addressed to Rose, that one’s yours, Khepri…”

“Oh, certainly.” Lucy replies. “After buying my present for Ingo, I’m kinda glad we did Secret Santa! Saves me a fortune, for sure!”

“What did you buy for Ingo, anyway?” Vanessa asks.

Lucy blushes. “Oh, well… I wanted to treat him to something special, so I got a custom-made replica of his tank at 1/64 of the scale. Every scratch, every burnish, even the inside is exactly like his own!”

“Goddamn. That must’ve been expensive, yeah…” Diana replies. “Kinda blows my present for Dimitri out of the water, huh.”


“I got him a new gun care kit to keep his weapons in tip-top shape.” Diana explains. “I like practical gifts. Y’know?”

“Makes sense. Dimitri seems like a practical person.” Selena replies. “That reminds me, I ought to…”

Selena digs around in her bedside table, looking for something. She pulls out a gift, wrapped plainly, with a tag written in cursive writing. Lucy gasps with delight.

“Oh, that’s what you were wrapping last night! My dude’s gift, right?”

“I, um, yes-” Selena replies, blushing. “I had to get him something.”

“I also have a gift for Commander my dude.” Rose says. “Might I come with you to deliver mine, too?”

“Of course, Rose.” Selena says. She stands up and turns to Lucy. “You have one too, right?”

“Yup! I’ll tag along!” Lucy chirps, grabbing her gift and hopping up. “We’ll sort the Secret Santa once we get back. Later, gals!”

“Later.” Michael says, chuckling. As they sweep out of the room, he sighs. “They’re a handful, I tell you.”

“I’ll say!” Rin replies, sat on her bunk, trying to pick out a dress - one of them is a sparkling red strapless number, an incredibly fancy dress, and the other is a more demure green dress with a flower pinned to the chest.

“I must say, I found it rather odd when I was informed that you partook in girls’ activities.” Fenya says, nodding at Michael. She gives him a rare, soft smile. “But I understand now. You really do feel like one of us.”

“I’m very happy to hear that. I, um, do hope that you’ve all been made to feel welcome. I know Orange Star’s girls have been having girls’ nights for as long as I can remember, but we’re delighted to have you all come join us. The more the merrier, right?”

“Agreed. It has been… a welcome change from the difficulties of war.” Diana remarks.

“For sure! You’re all so fun, too!” Khepri adds, beaming at Michael. “Anyway, Michael, I’ve been told you’re the best nail-painter in these parts. Mind giving me some Christmassy nails?”

“Oh, um, I wouldn’t go that far, but I’d be happy to help.” Michael says, lifting some nail kits and searching through. “How about a nice deep green and red for Christmas?”



Despite the bitter cold, several people have taken it upon themselves to wander through the winter wonderland, as the snow has gently dusted the forests around the barracks, giving them a sparkling, magical feel.

Dimitri is walking with Zlata, hand in hand. Zlata, already wearing her Christmas wear, is shivering, and Dimitri glances down at her. He wraps his coat around her, and she nuzzles into him.

“Thanks… it’s freezing out here. You gonna be OK?”

“I was raised in snows like this. S’all good.” Dimitri says. “Kind of reminds me of home, actually. Haven’t had snow this nice in a long while.”

“It is nice. Romantic, don’t you think?”

“Maybe that’s just because we’re together.” Dimitri says. “Anything would be romantic with you, Zlata, I reckon.”

“Well, aren’t you cute?” Zlata replies, kissing Dimitri’s cheek by standing on her tiptoes.

“No, I’m just- ugh. Don’t say I’m cute, I don’t-”

“You’re cute! It’s confirmed!”

“No, god- damn it, Zlata.” Dimitri says, sighing. “Good job none of the mercs are around to hear you, you know.”

“Exactly. Nobody’s here. Say what’s on your mind, Dimitri.”

There’s a moment of silence as the pair trudge through the snow, the snowflakes glistening as they spiral around.

“Hm. Alright. …I love you, Zlata.”

Zlata blushes very hotly - it’s not often that Dimitri says it out loud, and she shivers and grips his hand even more tightly.

“I-I love you t-too!”


Elsewhere, on a similarly romantic walk in another area of the forest, Eva and Alina are enjoying the gentle dusting of snow on the trees around.

Alina stares up at the sky.

“It’s so blue. I could get lost in it for ages.”

“Really, that’s what you’re leading with?” Eva says, smirking. “I was expecting something goofy and poetic, but that takes the cake.”

“What do you want me to do? Make a veiled reference to gambling or something? ‘You’re a double six in the dice game of life’?”

Eva chuckles as Alina bumps into her good-naturedly.

“Alright, alright, I suppose there’s worse ways of starting a nice walk.”

“I’ve always enjoyed the snow.” Alina says, kneeling down to pack some snow into a snowball. Eva watches her carefully, but she doesn’t throw it at her, instead just content to toss it up and down. “It’s… comforting.”

“Y’know, I’ve never asked, why exactly are we called the Snowbound Free Company?”

“Ah, that.” Alina replies. “Well, when we first started out, most of our jobs were around Blue Moon. As you can imagine, pretty cold.”


“And, well, we would often have to react quickly or go into dangerous territory, so a lot of the time we’d travel directly through the snowstorms instead of taking a safe route.”

Eva sighs and shakes her head. “Somehow, I’m not surprised. Valeria must’ve been annoyed by that.”

“Oh, she always claimed it wasn’t efficient, but we turned up to battles on time, and let me tell you… a group of mercenaries, appearing from out of the snow like wraiths to rain down death on an enemy? That’s a striking image.”

“I see.” Eva replies, nodding. “So you were snowbound because you just… lurked in the snow like weirdos?”

“Yup!” Alina giggles, kissing Eva’s cheek.

“And the white rose?”

Alina falls quiet. “Ah, I’ll tell you that flower’s significance another time. It’s a nice symbol for our group, though, isn’t it?”

“I’ll say.” Eva remarks, grinning at Alina. “I’d like to think we’ve made it pretty iconic.”

“Oh, certainly!” Alina says, tossing the snowball to the ground. “So yes, I do like the snow. It’s an important part of our group’s identity. I’m… glad I can share it with you.”

“Yeah, I get that. Glad I can too, Alina.” Eva says, smiling. “Not to, uh, kill the mood or anything, but, can we make this a quick walk? I’m already freezing.”


My office door is, as it has been since the battle with Rose, closed tightly. Selena, Rose and Lucy walk up to it, feeling a sense of ominous dread.

“Is he even going to answer the door?” Lucy wonders. “I just…”

“Only one way to find out.” Selena says, gesturing to the door. She and Rose watch as Lucy walks up and knocks on it daintily.

The door remains still. For a moment. And then it creaks, and opens, and I stand there, looking a little tired, but wearing a red Christmas jumper and a festive hat, with a mug of hot chocolate in my hands.

“Well, hey. Wasn’t expecting visitors.” I say, quite honestly. Lucy beams at me.

“I couldn’t not give you a present! So, uh, here!”

She hands her gift to me, and then Selena walks forward. She gives me a soft, loving smile.

“Here’s mine.”

I take both presents and place them on my desk. When I turn back, the others have gone, but now she’s stood there.

“Rose Kuroda.” I say.

Rose’s eyes water a little bit, and she nervously stares at the ground. “I, um… my dude. I… hope I can give you a present.”

“Of course, Rose.” I reply.

She looks up at me sheepishly, holding a present in her hands. “I… was worried that you didn’t like me anymore. I’ve… never worried about hurting people’s feelings. In fact, I used to do it a lot without realising. But… for once… my dude, I don’t want you to be mad at me.”

There’s a lot of feelings broiling around inside me, but none of that matters. Rose is still young, still malleable. The way I treat her and the things I say will have an impact on the rest of her life. So I kneel down besides Rose and give her a smile as she hands the gift over to me, shaking.

“Rose, I’m not mad. Far from it. You put on an amazing performance, and your victory was well-deserved. You did wonderfully, kid. I’m… mostly mad at myself. I don’t want to let you or anybody else down, so I’m holed up in this office trying to rework my strategy. So don’t worry, OK?”

Rose nods. “I, um… may I thank you in a less-than-professional manner?”

That makes me laugh. “Rose, when have I ever done anything professionally? Now give me a hug already.”

Rose’s embrace is quite light, as her little arms wrap around my body. I pull her close, hoping that she can feel how genuine I am about what I said. I could never be mad at her. I’m nothing but proud. When we break apart, I place her present on the desk next to Selena’s and Lucy’s.

“I’m very curious what you got me, you know. I wasn’t expecting one.”

“Oh, I had to.” Rose says breathlessly. “I had to get a present for my dad- um, my dude! My dude… oh…”

I smile at her, but Rose is burning with embarrassment and spins around, her black longcoat swirling around her as she totters away.

“I should go- I- um, sorry…”

I keep grinning as she exits the office. It’s the first time I’ve smiled since the day I lost to her.


Later that afternoon, the Allied Nations are gathered for an incredible Christmas dinner, taking their seats at the tables before the food is served. Orange Star’s main soldiers have all grabbed the biggest table, though as they sit there, waiting for food, Dave pours himself more water, primarily just for something to do.

“Where the hell’re they?”

“Girls take forever to get ready.” Michael replies, winking. “Trust me, when you see how they look, you’ll feel underdressed.”

Dave pulls at his suit and tie, shaking his head. “Somehow, I doubt it. This is the fanciest thing in my wardrobe.”

“Yeah, I know…” Michael sighs. He leans back in his chair and closes his eyes. “Nice that we all get a bit of time to relax, though, don’t you think?”

“Heh. Christmas has always been good with you guys, honestly. Doesn’t matter how many soldiers or how many countries join us… the atmosphere’s still the same, you know?” Dave says.

“I’d agree. ‘Sides, if nothing else, we’ve got each other. Have you ever thought about how long we’ve been friends now?”

“Yeah, man…” Dave says, the thought occurring to him. He suddenly feels tired. “Not many of that first group left, huh? Barold, Steve, Colin, Wilbert…”

“Well, I’m not going anywhere, Dave. You and I, we’re the cornerstone of this army.”

“Agreed. Here’s to plenty more years, Michael.”

Eventually, the Orange Star girls arrive, all made up and dressed in their finest - Selena first, then the others, all taking their seats around the table and making conversation with the gentlemen. The seat to Dave’s right, however, is empty.

“Now where is..?” Dave murmurs.

The door to the room opens, and a girl enters. Her hair has been curled, and sits voluminously around her shoulders. On her face is a gentle smile in ruby-red lipstick, with fluttering eyelashes. She’s wearing a strapless red dress which she slinks over to the table with, the red glittering with sequins, reflecting the light and making the girl seem like she’s glowing with radiance. For a moment, she looks almost unrecognisable, but there’s a small scar by her mouth, and Dave gasps.

“Rin.” he breathes. “My god, you…”

“Ahah, Dave!” Rin says, smiling. “D-do I look nice?”

“Yeah, you really do. Didn’t realise you could scrub up so well.” Dave murmurs, staring at her. “Well, kid, you’ve blown my suit out of the water, that’s for sure.”

Rin beams and hugs Dave. “I was hoping you’d like it! I was, um, a little nervous about wearing this. I’m not really…”

She falls quiet, looking up across the table at the girls chatting with each other.

“I’m not really as pretty as Lucy, or Selena, or Fliss…” she murmurs. “So I wasn’t sure if I should put so much effort in, but…”

“Rin. I’m saying this from a brotherly sorta-perspective, before you get any ideas.” Dave says, putting an arm on Rin’s shoulder. “As far as I’m concerned, you’re better than any of ‘em. Don’t ever think otherwise, alright?”

Rin nods, bursting with happiness, and hugs Dave again, more tightly, causing Michael to chuckle as he watches his friend turn blue.

“Thank you, Dave! You really are the best, you know that?”

“Y-yeah, ch-choking me though…”

Rin lets Dave go and smiles at him. “And… that’s the first time you’ve called yourself my brother.”

“That weird? I can, uh, not do that if you’d prefer.” Dave says awkwardly.

Michael leans over, smirking. “Rin’s been calling you guys siblings since forever, you know. You said it yourself last Christmas, didn’t you? That she’s your little sis?”

Dave goes red. “Fuckin’, well, yeah, but she didn’t know that…”

“It’s just nice to hear you thay, uh, say it, Dave.” Rin replies. She takes her seat next to him. “I never had any siblings, so it’s nice to have one now. Especially such a cool one!”

“Heh. Took the words out of my mouth, kid.”


Ludmilla greets Andromeda at the entrance to the food hall, and tilts her head.

“Hey, Andromeda, everything OK?”

“O-oh! Ludmilla, I am just worry… nervous, worried… there’s so many people. Am I really… a piece, part of this group?”

Ludmilla puts her hand around Andromeda’s shoulders, and though Andromeda is initially nervous, she looks with hopeful eyes as Ludmilla gestures to the room.

“Take a look, Andromeda. You know, I’ve never been afraid of not fitting in, and that’s because I like to look at all of these people as a whole. If you focus on individuals, of course you’re gonna feel like you don’t match up. We like other people way more than we like ourselves; that’s just an unfortunate truth of our society.” Ludmilla explains. She winks at Andromeda. “But look at the room through fresh eyes - look at how many people there are. Look at how wonderfully different and diverse they all are.”

Andromeda gazes across the room. Sitting at each of the huge, round tables, soldiers from every country are pulling some crackers and sharing conversation, enjoying themselves even before the food has been brought out. Inessa is delightedly chatting to Yakov, wearing a party hat from her hard-won cracker, whilst Jackie is sitting with the card-game-playing group, getting in a quick game before the food arrives, beaming with joy as Ignat teaches her how to play against Felix.

Elsewhere, Rose is burning red with embarrassment whilst she tells Vanessa about her slip of the tongue earlier in the day, whilst Peregrine is already starting to down a glass of champagne. Kyril is chilling out with Dymek, swapping stories of wartime misadventures with Boris and Ivan of Dimitri’s Mercenaries. At the other end of the table, Zlata is wearing a beautiful dress, but still has Dimitri’s coat over it, and is chatting with Diana whilst Dimitri gets them all some drinks at the bar across the room.

Julian, Von Panzer and Alfonse are busy trying to solve a sliding tile puzzle that was in one of their crackers, egged on with helpful comments from Anton and Anatoly now and again. Fenya is relaxing for once, sitting with the Snowbound Free Company, though both she and Valeria have flatly refused to wear any kind of silly Christmas hat, despite the constant badgering of Alina, Eva and Nika. Fliss and Fleur are having a hushed discussion in French about a Christmas card that Fleur’s holding: the words “Bernard” and “mon mec” come floating up now and again.

Andromeda lets out a gasp. “I… I think I know, understand it!”

“You see it now?” Ludmilla says. “Doesn’t matter that we’re all different and diverse. We still get on, for the most part. You’re wearing an absolutely beautiful outfit, and honestly, your hair is incredible, I will be getting tips on hair care from you later, and you can’t stop me. But for now, Andromeda… go talk to your friends, alright? It’s not Christmas to them. Not until you’re there. Y’know?”

Andromeda nods. “Th-thank you, Ludmilla… I like you, um, appreciate, glad you spoke to me.”

“Anytime, s’what I’m here for. Enjoy yourself.”

Peregrine, spotting that Andromeda has arrived, gives her a wild wave from across the room, causing Rose and Vanessa to turn and wave too, and Andromeda, fighting back tears, waves back and goes rushing over. Ludmilla watches her go.

“Man, I say it all the time, but it might be the most true it’s ever been right now.” she murmurs. “People are absolutely incredible, and I love ‘em.”