The Let's Play Archive

Advance Wars: Dual Strike

by cosmicPostman

Part 56: Chapter 56 (Intermission) - Desert Heat

One of the many downsides of an extended campaign in the desert, the soldiers find, is that the nights are incredibly hot, and it is frequently far too hot to sleep. Many soldiers often joke that their main motivation for taking out Black Hole and restoring the ruined land is to reduce the temperature so they can sleep again; on nights such as these, where the heat is close to unbearable, even at one in the morning, that desire is strongly reinforced.

There’s a knock on Karin’s door, and she looks up, turning to Lorelei. “Are you expecting a guest?”

“At one in the morning?” Lorelei replies, raising an eyebrow. “No, Karin.”

Karin answers the door promptly, and is quite surprised to see Kurtz enter, a typically grumpy look on his features.

“Kurtz. Why have you come?” Karin says, feeling a little awkward; she’s remembering the conversation she shared with Cassandra, and wonders if it’s fate that Kurtz is here now.

“Don’t get smarmy.” Kurtz replies. “I just know you well, and I know you’re prepared for everything: got some bottled water?”

Karin nods, chuckling. “Guilty. I’ve got some in my top drawer. I suppose I can give you some for your resourcefulness in seeking me out.”

Lorelei watches the conversation, though she doesn’t move from her bed, where she has a small desk fan whirring intensely, keeping her relatively cool so long as she doesn’t move.

Karin walks to the drawer to obtain a bottle, whilst Kurtz stands and stares impassively at her. When she turns around to hand back the bottle, however, she pauses.

“I… feel I should apologise.” Karin says, unused to the words coming out of her mouth. “I went over your head for a promotion that we both deserved, not just me. You felt betrayed. I understand that now.”

“Yeah. That kind of hurt.” Kurtz replied irritably, snatching the bottle. “The apology is nice, thou-”

“So I spoke to the higher-ups again.” Karin replies. “They’ve seen the benefit in having co-leaders in the WDD to manage future projects more effectively. If… if you want the position.”

Kurtz stares at Karin, not sure what to say. “Karin…”

“I don’t know if you’d want to co-lead with me after I did this, but I am… trying to fix things. I do not like the idea that you’re upset at me. I’d rather not have the position at all if I do not have my cousin with me.”

“Karin, it was never about the position. It was just that you didn’t tell me.” Kurtz replies. “In all honesty, you’re more qualified to lead the Weapons Development team than I am. But if you want me to co-lead, then I guess I will. I… suppose that just means we’re doing the same job we were before?”

“Correct, but now we get a whole pay grade more than before.” Karin replies, winking. “I hope that’s satisfactory.”

“A bottle of water and a promotion.” Kurtz muses, taking a sip. “Yeah, that’s a pretty good turnout for an evening. Thanks, Karin.”

“You’re welcome. Thank you, too, Kurtz.”

Kurtz turns around as he reaches the door to leave. “For what?”

“For reminding me that I can be a bit too… myself, sometimes.” Karin replies. “You’ve always been better at interpersonal things than me. That’s why I’m glad you’re helping lead the division.”

“Oh. Of course.” Kurtz replies, walking away, giving Karin a wave. “I think we’ll figure it out, somehow. See you tomorrow, Karin.”

Lorelei smiles. “You two are cute! Cousins coming together and moving into the future. That’s really fantastic of you, Karin.”

“Thanks.” Karin says, sighing. “That was the most emotional conversation we’ve had in years. Goodness. I might get some water for myself now…”


Lucy, Selena and Rin, none of whom can sleep well in the heat, have welcome Lena into their room for the night, and are currently all sitting next to a fan, wearing as little as they can possibly get away with. Lena, feeling a little awkward in just her nightie, has a rather thick black dressing gown on, which isn’t helping her temperature much.

It’s a little awkward with Lena around, but Lucy and Rin are making a concerted effort to help her feel included as they sit around and talk.

“It’s… brutally hot.” Selena sighs, leaning against her bed and fanning herself with a book she was reading.

“Sure is!” Lucy says, turning to the others. “I won’t lie, though; I enjoy staying up late to talk about things!”

“I’ve never really had a sleepover.” murmurs Lena. “Is this usually what they’re like?”

“Oh, for sure!” Rin answers. “Though they’re usually a bit less hot… I suppose that’s the desert for you. And Black Hole’s meddling!”

Lena winces. “Yes. I… guess it is.”

“How’ve you been settling in, Lena?” Lucy asks anxiously.

Thinking about it for a moment, Lena eventually gives a non-committal nod. “It’s been OK. Not as much anger as I was expecting. I don’t know if I’ll ever be close with anyone, but… we get along well enough to work together, at least.”

“It’s nice to have you here.” Selena says, placing a hand on Lena’s shoulder. Lena nods.

“Thanks, Selena. I find it weird that we can just talk like this now. I was… so upset. I had so many plans about how our reunion was going to go.”

“And I bet this wasn’t one of them!” Lucy says, and Lena shakes her head.

“Well, I’m glad it’s how things turned out, Lena.” Rin replies, shifting her position to get more of the full blast of the fan. “Ooh, that’s better… as the Director, you were terrifying, but as Lena, you seem much better!”

“I suppose I’m happier.” Lena says. “I just… almost can’t quite believe it. I don’t have to think about my parents any more.”

“You’ll be happier as soon as you stop thinking about them.” Selena replies.

Lucy nods. “Parents… well, they’re not all bad, but sometimes they’re the worst!”

“I thought you sent letters to them every week?” Lena replies, looking at her sister quizzically. “I know you stopped, but… surely you thought about them a lot?”

Selena casts her eyes down. “Lena… I addressed the letters to the whole family. But in all honestly… they were for you. I didn’t care what my parents thought of me. I just wanted to make sure you were OK.”

“Oh. Well… I’m glad. I read them all.” Lena mumbles.

“How wonderful that you’ve been able to reconnect!” Rin replies. “And we’re all glad to be here with you too, Lena!”

“Why are you… all like this?” Lena asks. “I expected the army to be… I dunno, fierce and grizzled, jaded by constant war with Black Hole. But you’re all so chipper. How do you do it?”

“That’s easy - because it’s more fun that way!” Lucy replies, giggling. She then turns serious and looks at Lena with a gentle smile on her face. “It would be very easy to slip into sadness here. We lose friends sometimes, we face hard challenges… but we smile through it. The more of us who can face things with a smile, the better morale is overall. That’s why we stay positive.”

“Most of us, anyway,” Rin says, looking sidelong at Selena. “Now that all your emotional problems are virtually done with, do you plan to stop listening to sad music and staying up too late, Selena?”

“Excuse me!” Selena says, chuckling. “You’re all staying up late with me tonight, as it happens, so you’re not one to talk.”

“She was always like that. Staying up late to finish her homework, or listen to a new album… she’d do anything to avoid going to sleep on time.” Lena says, and as the girls laugh at her comment, she gives a hint of a smile.

This… this is nice. I think I might be able to get used to this. Besides the heat, anyway…


Petra meets Conrad outside the main barracks room, as the corridors seem to be slightly cooler than their rooms. Conrad is drinking a cup of water from the water cooler nearby, and hands one to Petra as she arrives.

“Oh, thank the Goddess, what a lifesaver!” Petra says, downing most of the cup in one gulp.

“Feeling a little better?” Conrad says, and Petra nods in response, smacking her lips.

“Yup! How about you? Couldn’t sleep either, huh?”

“Can anyone, in this heat?”

Petra laughs and sits on the floor beside the water cooler. Conrad takes a seat next to her, nervously shifting to the left so he isn’t sitting weirdly close to her.

“What are you doing over there? Come sit next to me!” Petra says, patting the space next to her, so Conrad shuffles back to the right.

“This, uh, good?” he says, aware of how close they are. Petra laughs and nods.

“Of course!”

They continue drinking their water for a bit. The murmurs of conversation flow down the barracks corridors, suggesting that very few of the soldiers are getting a good nights’ sleep. Petra smiles as she hears the whispers from doors all the way up the corridor.

“It’s kind of nice, isn’t it? That we all get to share this strange experience?”

“I suppose so.” Conrad replies. “It is nice we get chances like these, but I have a feeling everyone’s going to be grumpy tomorrow. I mean, we’re due to be leaving for the battlefield in… what, four hours? Everyone’s going to be running on fumes.”

“I guess it can’t be helped sometimes.” Petra replies. “The sooner we defeat Black Hole, the sooner we can go back to cool nights and long rests!”

“Very true. We’ll do it together.” Conrad says, turning to Petra and giving a rare smile.

Petra looks back at Conrad with a placid, happy look upon her face. “We will! I love doing this with you, Conrad. I feel like I’ve really come into my own since we started working together, so… thank you!”

“Oh, uh… no worries.” Conrad replies. He continues looking at Petra, and she continues smiling at him. For a moment, Conrad wonders if she’s waiting for something.

Something inside Conrad takes hold, and he takes the plunge, leaning forward to kiss Petra gently on the lips. As he does, however, Petra pulls back, and looks at him with shock and surprise on her face.

“Wh- wh- what was that?!” she stammers. “You… what? But…”

“Oh, I just thought… I figured that you were… um…” Conrad says, but he doesn’t know how to respond. “I… have… feelings for you. I just… must’ve misread some signs, uh…”

Petra stands up, blushing furiously. “I… I have to go! I…”

Conrad watches helplessly as Petra walks away, and miserably tosses his empty cup of water aside.

Fuck. I really screwed up, didn’t I?