The Let's Play Archive

Advance Wars: Dual Strike

by cosmicPostman

Part 38: Chapter 38 (Intermission) - Race For The Title

On a balmy weekend morning in the barracks, the soldiers are gathering around the airfield in preparation for the race between Lucy and Peregrine, all chattering about what the outcome will be, and who will earn the title of Queen of the Skies.

“Abelard, pleasure.” Dimitri says as he spots the Green Earth veteran sitting and admiring the skyline. Abelard nods.

“Dimitri. Well met.”

“Where’s Edgar, by the way? Haven’t seen him around.”

Abelard shrugs. “A few of our number are still catching up, so it may be some time before we have everybody. As for Edgar, however… he has stepped down as leader of the Green Earth Old Guard. …He finally decided to retire.”

“Huh. Never imagined he’d just step down, but I guess he’s been at this a hell of a lot longer than any of us.”

“Indeed.” Abelard replies. “He has passed the mantle down to me - I now lead the Old Guard. Today, though, I am simply an observer. I want to see for myself the race between these two pilots.”

“Oh, yeah, it’s all anyone’s been talking about.” Dimitri says, nodding and sitting beside Abelard. “I hope Zlata and Diana get here before they start, otherwise they’ll miss it…”

Down by the planes, Petra and Vanessa are officiating, and they turn to face Lucy and Peregrine.

“Alright, let’s do this!” Petra says. “I’ve picked out two planes virtually identical in form and function; they’re based on the BM-820 Fighter, a plane that neither of you have flown, so you won’t have any advantages there!”

“As for the race itself, you’ll be flying from here down to the edge of Red Rock Desert, where you’ll turn around and fly back here. First person to land here wins!” Vanessa adds. “Hop into your planes and we’ll get started shortly!”

The girls begin walking to their planes. Peregrine looks to her left at Lucy and winks.

“Enjoy the last few minutes with your title, Lucy!”

“Hope you didn’t need Clive - that bomber is as good as mine!” Lucy replies, grinning. Both pilots can feel their excitement building, and they know they’re in for a good race.

Dimitri looks over to see Zlata and Diana arriving, and sighs at them. “God, you two cut it fine.”

“Forgive me.” Diana replies. “We were chatting over coffee and lost track of time.”

“They’re using the BM-820 Fighter. BM’s Blue Moon, right?” Dimitri says.

Diana looks over at the airfield as the two girls hop into their fighter jets, and she nods.

“They are, yes, I’ve flown them myself. They’re quite fast and manoeuvrable, though they don’t carry as much ammo as, say, the YC Snakewind Fighter.” Diana replies, though she tilts her head afterwards. “Isn’t Peregrine more comfortable with fighters, though? Lucy’s more well-known for flying bombers, is she not?”

“Yeah, I thought that!” Zlata replies. “As a bomber pilot myself, I couldn’t imagine out-flying you in a fighter, Diana. They’re very different planes!”

“If Lucy’s agreed to it, I guess she’s confident enough.” Dimitri says. “Guess we’ll see how it turns out.”

With the girls ready, Petra nods at Vanessa, who lifts her radio.

“Right! Ready…”

The fighter’s engines begin roaring.


Lucy looks out of her cockpit at Peregrine, and for a moment, she feels a pang of nervousness, but it passes, and instead she grins at Peregrine.

“GO!” Vanessa shouts, and the two fighter jets scream down the runway and take flight almost immediately, barrelling into the air.

“Remarkable speed.” murmurs Jackie, who’s sitting with her card-game-playing friends, Ignat, Felix, Yakov and Inessa.

Yakov shrugs. “It’s the headwind. You’d think flying into wind slows you down, and it does, but it’s great for takeoffs because it gives you more lift more quickly.”

“Huh. I don’t think I knew that!” Inessa says, staring up at the fighter jets, quickly turning into specks in the distance. “And that’s why they’re banking left now, I’m guessing? Because they don’t want to be in the headwind once they’ve taken off?”

“Correct.” Yakov says. “They’re both very good pilots, and good pilots take every advantage that the wind gives them. Should be interesting.”

High in the sky, the two fighters are on roughly even pace, but Peregrine is surging ahead a little thanks to exiting the headwind sooner than Lucy. The plane moves subtly as she guides it forward, and she finds that it responds to her controls incredibly well.

Lucy crackles on the radio.

“Whew! This is exhilarating, huh?”

“Hah, you said it!” Peregrine replies. “I’ve never had this much of a rush, even testing some of Yellow Comet’s fastest military jets!”

“Well, you might have a rush, but you’ll be in a rush in a moment! Bye!” Lucy says, and Peregrine realises that Lucy is pushing her plane even harder, and overtakes her. She grins.

“You really wanna challenge me in the sky, huh, Lucy? Alright, here we go!”

As the ocean glitters underneath them, the pair spot the halfway point - the coastal edge of the Red Rock Desert - just ahead of them. Peregrine grins - she can take an advantage here.

The two fighters blaze a trail through the sky as they approach the desert, and the moment that the ocean underneath them turns into land, they turn around. Lucy swerves her fighter jet around, taking a large arc around to the left and speeding back. Peregrine, however, pulls back on her controls, causing her fighter jet to shoot upwards and turn around in one fell swoop; much faster than Lucy’s turnaround.

Lucy lets out a low whistle. “Whew! Nice flying, Perry!”

“Heh, thanks! I love a nice barrel roll or a bit of flying upside down. Andy finds it terrifying, though!”

“Don’t think I’m out for the count yet!” Lucy says, but she knows she’s lying; it’s a straight run back to the airstrip, and Peregrine’s got a notable lead on her. She pushes her fighter as hard as she can, her mind racing: how can she win from here?

As the planes come back into view, the crowd gasps.

“Oh no!” Rin says, grabbing Harlow’s chest and shaking them with nervousness. “Peregrine’s pulled ahead!”

“By quite a margin, too,” Dave says, eyes narrowing. “Once Peregrine lands here, it’s all over.”

“She made a good effort, though! Regardless of the outcome of the race, they’re still the top 1 and top 2 pilots in the whole army.” Quincy replies.

“Guess that’s worth something.” Harlow says, gently removing Rin’s hands from their chest. “You, uh, finished panicking, Rin?”

“Yes! Sorry.” Rin says sheepishly. “I was just hoping to see Lucy defend her title!”

Peregrine grins with raw determination as she approaches the north-south airstrip, where she took off. Her smile soon sours, however. Shit… the wind is still up! And now it’s a tailwind… if I land in this, it’ll take me too long to stop and I’ll crash into the crowd. Even a perfect landing would be a risky… and landings are rarely perfect.

Peregrine swoops around, pulling her radio out. “Wind speed’s too high to land safely - I’m going for the east-west airstrip!”

“Gotcha.” Vanessa says. She and the rest of the crowd are stood near the point where the two airstrips cross over, so they’ll still be able to see Peregrine land in style. They watch as Peregrine circles around, whilst Lucy catches up.

Lucy takes stock of the situation immediately and narrows her eyes. One chance. I’ve got this.

As Peregrine begins to make her descent, she watches in horror as Lucy goes in to land on the north-south airstrip despite the wind. “Lucy!” she yells. “You can’t-”

Lucy’s fighter comes in to land, and Lucy slams the brakes as she hits the ground; the wind carries her plane forward, rolling at a much faster speed than normally would be safe. Vanessa and Petra gasp in fright - there’s 800 metres between them and Lucy, usually more than enough for a landing without tailwind, but in tailwind, it could easily be over 1000 metres.

The fighter jet comes to a stop, however, mere metres from where Vanessa and Petra are stood, leaving them staring up at Lucy’s plane in disbelief - a virtually perfect landing. Peregrine lands moments later on the east-west airstrip, completely shellshocked.

“Lucy landed first!” yells Petra. “Put your hands together for Lucy, who has defended her title as Queen of the Skies in STYLE!”

Lucy hops out at the same time as Peregrine, who shakes her head.

“You’re insane for making that landing, Lucy! In that kind of tailwind!?”

“That’s the advantage of being a bomber pilot!” Lucy replies. “Since we mostly deal with ground-based threats, we always have a good idea of where we are in relation to the ground, and thus we’re generally a bit better at landing, even in dangerous conditions!”

Peregrine can’t help but laugh aloud. “Can’t believe it - someone who takes even more daredevil risks than me. You more than deserve your title, Queen of the Skies!”

“And your bomber, too, right?” Lucy says slyly, winking at Peregrine.

“Alright, alright, Clive’s yours. Best damn bomber I’ve ever flown - make me proud with him, Lucy!”

Lucy nods, and joyfully hugs Ingo, who has come out to congratulate her.

“I won! I won!”

“I know, I saw.” Ingo chuckles, hugging her tightly. “I’m proud of you, Luce. Amazing work out there.”

“You too, Perry.” Vanessa replies, smiling gently. “That was some amazing flying.”

“Aw, I’ve done better.” Peregrine says sheepishly, turning back to watch Lucy and the Orange Star soldiers swarming her. “...Well, alright, I was pushing myself to the limit, actually. Lucy more than deserves that title. But goddamn, I’ll be challenging her again soon! That was so fun!”

“Sounds good to me.” Vanessa says. “But first, we’d best get these planes back to the airfield. I… don’t know if anyone asked the higher-ups if we could actually borrow them…”