The Let's Play Archive

Advance Wars: Dual Strike

by cosmicPostman

Part 46: Chapter 46 (Intermission) - Once Like You

When Cassandra walks into the lounge to grab a coffee, she’s not surprised to see Karin in there, sipping a takeaway coffee mug whilst she types on a laptop.

“Karin. Working hard, I suppose?”

“Mm.” Karin says, not saying much else. Cassandra, feeling a little awkward, goes for the cupboard and pulls out a mug to begin preparing her own drink.

“Is it… going well?”

“So-so.” Karin replies curtly. Cassandra nods and decides not to respond further.

It’s only once she’s made her coffee a few minutes later, and sat down at Karin’s table, that Karin looks up at her suddenly.

“I want to ask you something. What would you do about Kurtz?”

“Kurtz? Your cousin, right?” Cassandra says. “I heard some murmurs from the soldiers that he’s… unhappy.”

“Correct.” Karin replies, sighing. “We worked together in the WDD for Green Earth, designing the Megatank. He feels snubbed, because we started as co-leaders, but I was promoted.”

“I see.”

“I spoke to the higher-ups, and convinced them that I was capable of leading them on my own.” Karin says, furrowing her brow. “I don’t understand why Kurtz would feel so betrayed by that.”

Cassandra raises an eyebrow. “OK, that’s the bit where you’ve lost me.”


“Karin, you went over his head.” Cassandra replies gently. “I can imagine he’d feel upset if the pair of you had agreed to work together.”

“But it’s competition! There’s no place for co-operation in the workplace - if you want a promotion, you have to step over others. That’s just a fact.” Karin says.

“Perhaps so, yes.” Cassandra replies. “But is that promotion, that extra money and prestige, worth Kurtz being unhappy with you?”

“He’s being childish.” Karin says, folding her arms. Cassandra sips her coffee, looking across at Karin with a strange gleam in her eyes.

“You know, Mulligan was returned to his position as the leader of one of Green Earth’s flight squadrons when we returned from Orange Star.”

“What does that have to do with anything?” Karin replies, raising an eyebrow.

“Listen to me. I wasn’t allowed to return to that position. I could have, but I elected to stay with the grounded division as a lower-ranking soldier. But… Mulligan didn’t deserve that. The whole reason we were captured by Orange Star and drafted in the first place was my error.”

Karin stares at Cassandra, still not certain where the story is going. She sips her coffee whilst Cassandra continues.

“When I returned to Green Earth, I got in touch with the higher-ups, just like you. Right then and there, I could have put the blame on Mulligan and taken the flight leader position for myself. I could have put the blame on one of the pilots who died, and both of us could have gone back to being pilots.”

“But you owned up to it.” Karin murmured.

“Correct. It was my mistake, and I told them that - and thanks to my recommendation, Mulligan was put back on the flight team. He still doesn’t know it was my influence that got him his old position back, but… I had to do something for him. I used my influence co-operatively rather than competitively.”

Karin stares at Cassandra intently, trying to see any hint of silliness in her eyes, but she seems entirely serious.

“Co-operatively rather than competitively?”

“Indeed. If you want promotions, you can certainly chase them aggressively, but you won’t make many friends that way. If the higher-ups choose you to be promoted naturally, your friends will support you, but if you purposefully seek them out, people may resent it.”

The two women stare at each other across the table, until Karin eventually relents, closing her laptop and putting her drink down.

“I suppose I was a bit caught up the competition. I thought I was better than Kurtz. But maybe he’s better than me in other ways.” she mutters to herself. “That was just as illuminating a talk as I was hoping, Cassandra. It seems I’ve someone to talk to.”

“Good luck.” Cassandra replies. “Be open and honest. It’s the best thing to be.”

Karin walks away, leaving Cassandra with a mug full of coffee and a head full of thoughts.


Alfonse comes up to Shaia, who gives him a sultry smile.

“Oh, Alfonse, thanks again… I could never have carried all those heavy shells into the ammunitions room on my own.”

“Uh, no worries, happy to help.” Alfonse replies. Shaia blows him a kiss, but Alfonse seems unfazed.

“Thanks, Alfie. Maybe I’ll see you again sometime, over coffee or something.” Shaia says as she saunters off, and Alfonse rolls his eyes.

“I’m not really looking for anything- oh, you’re gone, alright…”

As Shaia walks down the corridor to her room, smiling to herself, she suddenly becomes aware of footsteps just behind her own, which causes her to turn around. A beautiful girl with a shock of bubblegum-pink hair is looking at her, with her arms folded - Arqa.

“You’re absolutely shameless, aren’t you?”

“Excuse me?” Shaia replies, bristling.

“Sitting around whilst someone else does your work for you.” Arqa says bluntly.

Shaia pouts, flicking her hair back. “For your information, Alfonse kindly offered to do my work for me… boys are like that. Flash them a smile, show a little skin, they do what you want. I’m just using my natural advantages.”

“Yeah, well, it sucks.” Arqa says. “For your information, Alfonse isn’t even interested in dating anyone. He helped you out because he’s just genuinely a nice guy - you could’ve been male and twice his age and he’d still have done it.”

“Well, well…” Shaia blusters. “Yeah, well, maybe you’re just jealous because you have to do all your own work. I’ve seen you around, hurrying after Vanessa and Rose and doing everything they ask you! That’s shameless!”

“Hey, I choose to do that! I used to be… well, like you. But I changed my attitude, and now suddenly I’m feeling much happier about who I am and what I’m doing. I’m contributing, and people… like me more? And they appreciate what I do?”

“Well, I don’t.” Shaia replies, folding her arms and huffing.

“I didn’t ask you.” Arqa says, taking a step forward. Shaia sighs and rolls her eyes in an overly dramatic fashion.

“I don’t have time for this. You live your life however you want, I don’t care. But don’t judge me for the way I live mine, or I’ll make trouble for you. I’ve got guys who’d make your life hell, you hear me?”

As Shaia storms off, Arqa sighs and watches her go.

“Man… was I really like this just last year?”