Story/A Snowy Night Capriccio/E1-4 (Part1)

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... Outside the Griffin base.
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The Commander, who left the base early in the morning to do shopping in the city, has returned in high spirits.
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Commander

Why's everything so quiet? Something doesn't feel right...
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... 12 hours ago.
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Commander

Kalin, I'm heading out to buy some presents.
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Commander

Remember to make up a sensible cover story.
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Commander

Make sure to keep this a surprise!
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Kalina

Leave it to me, Commander!
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The Commander preens in satisfaction at the newly procured pile of presents.
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Commander

Kalina should've helped me cover it up. I wonder how everyone will react to my surprise?
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The Commander undergoes an ID check with the gate's security.
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Gate Security

Welcome home, honored Commander!
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The doors slide open, and the Commander is greeted with—
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The base, blackened from fire...
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Soot-stained T-Dolls weeping into their arms...
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Presents, burnt into nothing but scattering ashes...
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As well as—
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The Commander's gaze shifts slowly to the bundle that was hanging in the air...
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Commander

Who's that hanging from the ceiling and sobbing... Is that ART556?
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Kalina, with her face and hair streaked with ash, weakly approaches the Commander.
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Kalina

Commander...
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The Commander backs out of the base with a blank expression.
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Commander

What's going on? How did I get to the wrong base...
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Commander

Haha, yeah, why would my base have ART556 hanging from the ceiling?
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Commander

Still, I feel sorry for the commander of this base, it looks like it got blasted to bits by one of those military armored trains...
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Commander

Come to think of it, that adjutant just now looked a bit like Kalina...
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The Commander looks up at the serial number outside of the base.
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Commander

...
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The Commander steps forward into the base once more.
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Kalina, still with her face and hair streaked with ash, approaches the Commander again.
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Kalina

C-Commander...
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Commander

WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED HERE???!!!
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After a brief explanation, the Commander finally calms down.
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Commander

Alright, stop crying, everyone. While I understand how all of you must feel...
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Commander

Today's Christmas, which only comes once a year, so I'd like for everyone to be happy.
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Commander

In fact, that's why I went out early this morning to buy presents for everyone—
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M21

M14, help me check my hearing modules, did I just imagine the Commander say something about buying us presents?
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M14

I think I heard that too...
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At the look of disbelief on everyone's faces, the Commander clears their throat and repeats in a louder voice.
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Commander

I brought a Christmas tree and presents for everyone back with me.
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Commander

So, let's hurry and clean this mess up so we can have a party tonight.
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The fire-ravaged base falls to silence for a moment, before quickly exploding into cheers.
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Suomi

This is great! I'll be able to play my newest CD at the party!
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OTs-44

Ah! You're the best, Commander!
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SAA

Woohoo! I've got a resupply for my cola!
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Am RFB

Is my present the game that just came out? It is, right?!
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Springfield

Thank you for going through all this trouble to prepare a surprise for us, Commander.
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Just as the Commander was about to let out a sigh of relief, someone presses a communicator right into their face.
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Kalina

Commander! We just picked up a Sangvis signal! It's very close, it's right—
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WA2000

AAAAAAHHHHHHH—
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Several Dinergates that had been lying in ambush suddenly charged out at the pile of presents that had been brought back by the Commander. Before the Commander could let out an order, they snatched the gifts up and fled in all directions.
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Recalling their anger at the S.F. Dinergate who had destroyed their presents just prior, the stunned T-Dolls regroup and rush out before the Commander can muster a response.
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CZ75

Get them!!!
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SVD

You're dead, you miserable maggots!!!
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END

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