The Let's Play Archive

Advance Wars: Dual Strike

by cosmicPostman

Part 52: Chapter 52 (Intermission) - The Fires Of Ambition

There’s a knock on the door of Rose’s office, and as she looks up, she spots an imposing-looking figure in black through the frosted glass. She puts her letter to Tina aside, resolving to finish it later, and clears her throat.

“Come in.”

The door opens, revealing Hawke, looking down upon Rose’s desk with a cold air. He notes the papers and files, as well as a half-written letter. It’s typical of an ACO’s desk, but as he stares more, he notes other less typical things: a well-worn teddy bear, a beautiful tea set and a big yellow bow, usually in Rose’s hair. Hawke looks up into Rose’s eyes.

“Rose Kuroda, the Desolate Flower.”

“I go by the Flower of Desolation these days. Subtly different.” Rose replies. “Hawke. I’m surprised you’ve come.”

“I still struggle to comprehend the idea that I am working alongside you all now. But to survive, it is… to be expected. Besides, there are… benefits.”


Hawke looks down at Rose. “I get to speak with some of your soldiers and COs. Find out what makes you all tick. And you, Rose, intrigue me greatly.”

Rose gestures to the chair behind her desk, and Hawke sits down, leaning back in his seat and fixing Rose with a powerful, piercing stare.

“I wish to understand you. For most people here, their strength is easy to derive. They would spout some trite platitudes about the bonds of friendship giving them the strength to fight on. Though I would not use the same lexis, I don’t deny that fighting alongside those who share your ideals improves your potential, but you… you’re not like the others. What do you fight for, Rose Kuroda? Where does your strength come from?”

Rose closes her eyes and muses on this for a time. Eventually, she opens them and stares back at Hawke with an equally piercing stare, which takes him by surprise for a moment.

“My ambition.” she says eventually. Hawke gives a slight smile, as if he had been expecting that answer. “I wish to be the best. The most capable. I have always been pushed, from a young age, to utilise my genius for the betterment of my society, as well as my own position. Whilst a lot of that desire for bettering my society may have come from my parents… the ambition to improve my own position… I must admit, that comes from within.”

“I thought so. We are alike, you and I. I have no real desire to serve the ambitions of men like Sturm and Von Bolt. Their armies, their service… that simply gives me a chance to test my own limits, and forge my own strength. My ambition, too, rules my decisions.”

“If you say so.” Rose mutters.

“You have proven to be even stronger than Commander my dude.” Hawke says. “I hear he lost to you in a mock battle, despite his status as one of the greatest strategists in the world.”

“I am not stronger than him. He is better than us both.” Rose corrects gently.

Hawke raises an eyebrow. “How do you figure? Did you not beat him, fair and square?”

“Indeed, but only because the situation worked in my favour.” Rose replies seriously. She picks up the pen that she was using to write Tina’s letter and begins spinning it around her fingers. “My ambitions are simple. I want to do what I have always done - prove people wrong. When I am told a battle may have casualties, I want to show them how to do it without losing a single soldier. When my back is against the wall, I show everything that I can still find victory in defeat. I see the truth of the battlefield, and I want to show others that truth.”

Hawke listens carefully, ever-more curious to find out the secret of Rose’s success, but Rose isn’t paying attention to him, all her focus on keeping the pen spinning around her fingers as she talks.

“My dude has no such ambition. His single, fixed goal, is ensuring that as many soldiers as humanly possible get to go home after the war. It is why he is stronger than both of us.” Rose replies. “Because ambition is unnecessary: it comes from desire. But my dude’s skill comes from necessity - because he sees his mission as something he cannot fail. Necessity is the mother of invention, as they say, and my dude is as inventive as they come.”

“Ambition… unnecessary?” murmurs Hawke.

“The difference can be stated as thus: we fight for our own ambition, so our most preferable outcome is to win, but a loss is not a problem. My dude fights out of necessity, so he has no choice but to win.”

“That’s why he lost to you in the mock battle.” Hawke breathes, suddenly understanding.

Rose nods. “Correct. Because when the threat of loss is taken away, when the only motivation to win is for yourself, not for others, he simply lacks the ambition. Mine outstrips his.”

“I see. Then I suppose it makes sense. We are alike - our ambition is by far the most important thing to us. Commander my dude is more altruistic than that.” Hawke replies.

“That’s the second time you’ve said we’re similar.” Rose replies. “I’m afraid I can’t agree.”

“Is that so? Are we not united by our ambition, moreso than any loyalty to a country or name?” Hawke asks.

Rose puts the pen down and shakes her head, looking back at Hawke, giving him her full attention once more. He stares back impassively.

“I use my ambition as a tool to help myself improve. I still have a loyalty to the Allied Nations, and I use my ambition to better serve their ends.” she explains. “You, though… you let your ambition run unchecked. You may put on the front of a cold, calculating CO, but you are utterly ruled by your ambition; that’s why I was able to beat you in the previous campaigns. Because you aren’t as cunning as you think you are.”

Hawke stares back, and for a moment, he wants to snap at her, but then he relents, and gives a cold smile. “Hm… perhaps you’re right. You have outsmarted me on occasion. So, you say my ambition controls me, rather than the other way around?”

“I believe so. I think you would stand to make great improvements if you were to recognise that. There is nothing wrong with desiring power, but to go about it so surgically will separate you from a cause. Tell me, Hakwe: once you have all the power you want, what do you actually plan to use it for?”

“Well, that’s simple. To…” Hawke starts, but he suddenly furrows his brow. “I… hm. That question has never been posed to me before.”

“I know what I want to do with my ambition. I will become a CO for the Allied Nations, and serve Yellow Comet to the best of my ability. Perhaps you should figure out what you intend to do with yours.”

Hawke stands up, staring down at the eleven-year-old with newfound respect.

“I shall be sure to think on your words. This was an illuminating discussion, Assistant Commander Kuroda.”

“Please,” Rose says as Hawke makes his way out. “Just call me Rose.”

The door closes once again; Rose rolls her eyes, and goes back to the letter she was writing.