Story/A Snowy Night Capriccio/E1-4 (Part2)

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... In the Griffin base, outside Architect's room.
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A Dinergate rushes in and jumps onto the desk before pushing the present it's been entrusted with through the supply port.
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It runs off right after that, as though it has sensed the angry cries in the distance.
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Architect curiously picks up the gift and examines it...
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Architect

Haha, you really do have a gift for me every year, my dear Lady Knight.
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Architect

Unfortunately, I won't be able to give you a present in return this year either...
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Architect

Still, Merry Christmas...
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... Behind a shady corner near the Griffin base.
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Gager

My plan succeeded, I'm heading over to the rendezvous point to wait for you.
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Gager

You've got 10 minutes to show up.
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Destroyer

What? Your plan succeeded?!
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Destroyer

Wait a minute, I've lost contact with all my Dinergates...
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Gager

An expected outcome.
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Gager

Hurry up and fall back. Griffin will find you if you stay there, and I trust you don't want to end up keeping that idiot company.
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... The transmission ends.
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Destroyer

B-but...
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Destroyer glances back and forth between the jet-black screen of her radar sensor and her chronometer.
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Destroyer

Ughhh... What should I do?
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Destroyer

I'm out of time, and I don't have anything to show for a day's worth of hard work...
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Destroyer flops down on the ground and starts crying loudly.
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Commander

Is someone crying?
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Destroyer hurriedly shushes herself and burrows into the nearest patch of vegetation.
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She can hear the Commander's footsteps slowly approaching...
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Destroyer

Oh no... Is Griffin going to capture me too... ?
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Destroyer

I don't want to humiliate myself like Architect...
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Destroyer

If Dreamer finds outs, she'll make fun of me for years...
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Destroyer

I might as well just blow myself up...
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The Commander's footsteps stop in front of a trembling bush that bulges in a strange way before smiling tiredly.
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Commander

Ahem. While I don't know where you're from, you sound like you haven't gotten a present.
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Commander

As it happens, I have an extra one on me, so I'll leave it here.
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Commander

Merry Christmas.
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Destroyer's eyes seem to blaze in the darkness, and she charges at the voice's source with a speed she's never shown before...
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Bonk—
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Destroyer's hard forehead collides with the Commander's chin, as the latter is kneeling in front of the bush...
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Destroyer

M-Merry Christmas!
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While the Commander is still dazed from the collision, Destroyer takes advantage of this and speeds off with present in hand.
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...At the rendezvous point.
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Gager

And here I was thinking I wouldn't see you until after we captured the Griffin base.
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Destroyer

You should save your vivid imagination for making up an excuse to give to Agent.
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Gager

...
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Gager

So you managed to get that present you wanted so badly in the end?
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Gager

Let's go.
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Destroyer

Yeah, but if we go back empty-handed after expending all these resources, won't Agent...
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Gager

Don't worry.
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Gager

Besides, you won't remember anything once you wake up.
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Destroyer

...
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... Near the Griffin base. The stricken Commander spends a long time in a daze before finally managing to get up.
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Commander

Which base was that Doll from, anyway?
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Commander

Why does it feel like the whole world is out to get me today...
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As the commander was halfway through muttering to himself, he hears Springfield call out from behind.
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Springfield

Commander?
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Commander

Hm?
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The Commander looks back and sees the T-Dolls all assembled in a lively gathering, with several of them under the Christmas tree—
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Springfield

Aren't you going to join us at the party? Everyone's waiting for you.
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FAL

Thanks for the scarf, Commander!
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FAL

I like it a lot; I didn't expect you to have such good taste...
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Gr G36

Look, Commander! I love this—
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SVD

Don't move around, FAL. I'll cut the tag for you.
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The Commander smiles, then winces in pain before walking back to the others while cradling a swollen jaw.
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Commander

Alright, I'm coming.
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THE END.
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...Inside the Command Center.
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Kalina is double-checking the details of the base repair expenses with HQ.
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Kalina

...
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Kalina

Mm, bill it to Area S09's Commander.
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Kalina

Yes, it's still the same account.
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After putting down the phone, Kalina looks outside at the Commander, who's heading towards the base, and sighs from the bottom of her heart.
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Kalina

Sorry about this, Commander...
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THE REAL END.
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... At the lively Griffin base party.
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As everyone is engrossed in opening and showing their presents off to each other, a sinister silhouette approaches the DVD player, which is currently looping some chill Christmas carols.
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Suomi

I can't believe they're playing something so plain and boring even though it's Christmas.
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Suomi

A big event like this deserves music that's just as grand and spectacular!
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Suomi pulls out a death metal album with a black CD case from inside her coat, then gently slides it into the DVD player.
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As she turns the volume all the way up and presses the play button, she can't help but whisper to herself—
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Suomi

Fire—!
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THE REAL REAL END.
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... An explosion jolts Gr G11 awake from her dreams.
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Gr G11

Ugh... What's going on?
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Gr G11 rubs her eyes and climbs off the bed.
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Gr G11

Whoa— Where am I?
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Gr G11 squints and looks around.
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Gr G11

Um... isn't this the Commander's room?
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Gr G11

Why am I sleeping here?
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Gr G11's eyes are drawn to the bill displayed on the monitor.
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Gr G11

What a long string of numbers... That's a lot of money!
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Gr G11

That scary UMP45... Did she sell me to the Commander at last?
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The abrupt sound of hasty footsteps outside the door startles Gr G11 so much she squeals and tries to flee through the window, only to crash into a warm embrace.
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416

Where are you running, Gr G11?! You almost knocked me down!
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Gr G11

Where did you guys go (sobs)—
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UMP9

Hahaha, don't cry, take a look at this!
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Gr G11 rubs her eyes and sees an out-of-print Undersea Zombie King action figure from "The Flying Dead"!
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Gr G11

Wooowww—
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UMP45

This piece of merch costs as much as you'd make in ten lifetimes of working for me, not counting inflation and collectors' value. Which means, Gr G11—
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Gr G11 doesn't wait for UMP45 to finish before she climbs onto 416's back.
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Gr G11

I know, I'll follow you forever...
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As everyone laughs, Gr G11 clings to 416's back, delighted with the figure in her hands...
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Gr G11

Merry Christmas... Hehe...
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THE REAL REAL REAL END.
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???

There really isn't anything else, Commander.
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???

You can stop tapping now.
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???

We're going to go celebrate Christmas—
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???

Merry Christmas, dearest Commander!
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END

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