The Let's Play Archive

Advance Wars: Dual Strike

by cosmicPostman

Part 70: Chapter 70 (Intermission) - Black Hole Weekly Report

Lash comes traipsing into the barracks kitchen, spotting Hawke at the back of the room, nursing a black coffee, and goes to flop in the seat next to him.

“Man, these guys are so… nice! It’s getting exhausting!”

“Hmm.” Hawke murmurs, seemingly lost in thought. “You made some friends today, I take it?”

“Friends! That’s such a strange word to hear you saying, Hawke.” Lash replies. “I was catching up with the Director… and then he showed up! Urgh!”


“I don’t wanna talk about it! It’s embarrassing!” Lash replies, blushing furiously.

“How about I tell you of the conversation I had today, and then you can tell me your encounter?” Hawke replies, putting his coffee down.

Lash nods, and Hawke folds his arms.

“There was someone I wanted to speak with. I went by his office earlier today…”


There was a knock on my door, and I look up. “Uh, come in?”

I can’t tell who it is until he opens the door, and then I see the black-clad figure of Hawke step into my office, looking down on me with a sneer.

“You are the one who ended Sturm’s ambitions. The one they call the Kingmaker, the Embodiment of Victory, my dude?”

“That’s me.” I reply carefully. “And you’re Hawke.”

“The same. I spoke with Rose some time ago on our philosophy of ambition.” Hawke says.

I shrug. “That was probably interesting. What do you want me for, then?”

“I want your viewpoint. I wish to understand how you, of all people, overcame Sturm. How you defeated me in our previous battles. Rose tells me that you win because you must - because every soldier must get home safely. Is that so?”

I fall quiet for a moment. That’s a heavy question to consider; do I have an answer for him? After a minute or so, I open my mouth.

“Well…” I say. “A lot of it just comes from that, yeah. I don’t want anyone getting hurt under my watch, you know?”

“This is war, my dude. That’s a simple viewpoint, isn’t it? There must be some ambition that drives you.”

“A soldier who signs up for a war isn’t a warm body to prop up my own sense of ego. They’re a person, and they want to go home when it’s all over. No soldier should sign up expecting to die, and if I can help it, they won’t.” I reply, a little more harshly than I intended.

“So that’s where your strength comes from. A mere kindness in your heart.” Hawke murmurs. “I don’t understand, though; you have lost soldiers. You have failed in your mission, have you not? What keeps you going?”

“It was never about getting everyone home. It was just about trying.” I say quietly. “I know I’ve failed some people - but I’m not gonna fucking let it happen unless there’s no other way. You understand? These deaths are tough to bear, yes - but if I hadn’t applied myself, and if I hadn’t been trying to save everyone, there would have been plenty more.”

“Try and save everyone, so that you at least save most of them.” Hawke replies. “I see… and this makes you unbeatable, does it?”

“No. Not at all. That’s just me being a damn good strategist, taught by the best.” I say. “People like you and Rose, you’re all about planning and pre-planning. But that’s not the way I do things, and I think most people have recognised that.”

“How do you ‘do things’, then?” Hawke asks, raising an eyebrow.

“Simple. I live by one rule.” I answer, leaning back in my chair and fixing Hawke with a glare. “Being a strategist isn't about everything going to plan. It's about knowing what to do when it doesn't.”

“Knowing what to do when it doesn’t…” Hawke murmurs.

“Imagine having an air fortress with a fleet of fighters and anti-airs, and still losing to a group of Eagle’s planes, to pick a completely random example.” I say, staring at Hawke with a wide grin. “That’s a case of assuming everything will go right, and being totally unprepared when it goes wrong.”

“How did you know-” Hawke says, losing his composure for a moment. He calms himself quickly, though. “Hm. It’s true what they say - you are well-informed.”

“That’s me. Anything else, Hawke?”

“No…” Hawke replies. “I think I have seen just what kind of man you are, Commander my dude. Above all, honest. I may find it vexing that you were able to defeat me… but I understand it. And I understand why Rose respects you so highly.”

I blink twice: I wasn’t expecting such a frank response.

“Thank you for this conversation. I think I am coming to learn what makes you two such formidable tacticians. We will speak again.”

Hawke walks out of the room before I can reply, and I’m left sitting in my chair, completely nonplussed. Seems like he got what he wanted out of that conversation.


“Huh, so you chatted to Mister Dude himself!” Lash says, nodding. “He seems like a bit of an idiot, but I guess he knows his stuff!”

“I thought his foolishness was a front for his cold, calculating tactics…” Hawke murmurs. “But no… he is simply honest. He has no front. He is merely himself.”

“Kinda like me, then! Wouldn’t you say?”

“...I don’t know about that.” Hawke says gruffly, sipping his coffee. “Anyway… who did you end up meeting, then?”

Lash pouts at Hawke. “Fine, I’ll tell you… but it’s really embarrassing, I’m serious!”

“My lips are sealed.”


“Madam Director!” Lash says, popping up next to Lena’s table in the main barracks room and causing her to jump in fright.

“G-gah! Lash!”

Lash sits down opposite Lena, and spots an unattended drink of juice. “Ooh, don’t mind if I do! So, Lena, how are you finding the new army?”

“...It’s fine.” Lena replies. “It’s nice to be accepted, and my sister… we’re working things out, slowly.”

Lash pulls out a video game system and starts playing whilst she talks, sticking her tongue out. “Oh, boo! The soldiers are so trusting, but none of the COs really like me yet! That witch Jess tried to teach me ‘manners’, and then that clown Sasha dragged me off to the shops to ‘buy some clothes that aren’t black’! Like, excuse me?”

Lena chuckles, looking over at the soldiers in the room, some of whom are playing poker, some of whom are just sat chatting, and some of whom are ordering some drinks. “You know, they don’t sound like the behaviours of people who don’t like you. I think they feel… a bit of concern for you.”

“Concern? I can handle myself! I’m an unbelievable genius, y’know!” Lash replies, sipping the juice again. “Man, this stuff’s good. I need more of this!”

“Oh, um… c-could you, uh…” comes a quavering voice. The girls look up to see a young man in an ill-fitting blue uniform, alongside Dimitri Kustov and his girlfriend, Zlata.

“Colin?” Lash says. The young man nods.

“U-um, yes! That’s… well,” Colin says, pointing at the table. “That’s my drink you’re drinking.”

Lash looks over at the now-empty cup of juice. “...Well, you shouldn’t have left it unattended then! Of course someone was going to swoop in and steal it!”

She does, however, move up, allowing the three newcomers to sit down and join them.

“You know, Colin, it’s a good thing you’re here. I’ve got a serious bone to pick with you!”

“Oh? What’s the, um, problem?” Colin says - he seems incredibly nervous around Lash.

“North-east Blue Moon, Macro Land!” Lash replies, folding her arms. Dimitri suddenly bursts out laughing, and Colin’s eyes widen.

“Oh… oh! You m-mean, our battle in that region?” Colin says.

“Battle! It wasn’t a battle!” Lash replies. “What was all that about, not deploying a single unit to fight me?”

“Well, why did you… not do anything once you reached the HQ?” Colin asks. “You could have won…”

“You first.” Lash replies.

Dimitri nods. “I remember that battle. We were all geared up to move out and fight and then… nothin’. We were told to stand down.”

“I just…” Colin says, wringing his hands as he tries to explain. “I thought that you would overwhelm my forces, so I didn’t want to send them out to get hurt… I was afraid.”

“Afraid? Of me?” Lash says. She seems to be blushing, and Colin nods.

“Y-yes! I wanted to protect those properties, but I couldn’t move. I couldn’t… act!”

“...Yeah, I guess that makes sense.” Lash replies. “As for why I never took the HQ… man, it wouldn’t have been fun! I like playing! But you can’t beat someone at chess if the other person never even puts any pieces on the board.”

“Guess it would have been a hollow victory.” Dimitri says, nodding. “And really, the only battle you had to win was the one at the factory.”

“Exactly!” Lash replies, folding her arms.

“So you were just being nice.” Lena says. “Didn’t think you had it in you.”

“I was NOT! I would never be nice to… Colin!” Lash replies, glaring at Lena, then turning back to Colin. “We should play again sometime… unless you’re scared?!”

“N-no!” squeaks Colin, going bright red. “I could… I could beat you in chess!”

Lash nods. “Good! I’ll be waiting - and I’m not going to play nice next time! Because I’m not nice!”

With that, Lash hops up and saunters off, leaving Lena, Dimitri, Zlata and Colin to stare after her. The three soldiers then turn back to Colin.

“You, um…” Lena says. “You’re a bit red, Colin.”

“I-I’m fine!”