On the school-ship Rommel Sprinter, the students of the school Oasis Mirage usually slept in dorms. Sometimes they’d live at home with their parents, but usually they were placed into rooms with other students in standard but comfortable accommodation to help build the sense of independence they needed for the future. Obviously, for the girls, this actually meant that it was way easier to see one-another, and an opportunity to live with your best friends.
Of course, the girls didn’t actually own the rooms. Therefore, it was important that they were kept clean. Not damaged. Not set alight.
The Marshall Komon Lucia took it upon herself to go about inspecting her tankery club’s rooms, to see just how well kept they were. With the exception of the other night, where her room was left in a veritable state from having been host to five girls’ sleepover/movie night/hugging-crying fest, her room was usually kept rather neat and tidy.
As a third year, she was one of the more senior members of the school, and so one of the benefits was her own dorm room. It was generously sized, with plentiful living space, a nice bed, a small kitchenette to do her own cooking, and whatever else she may have needed. Her sink was rarely filled with pots, as she tended to clean them as soon as she was done with them.
Her clothes were washed and ironed well, and stored inside her drawers. She liked to vacuum the carpet about once or twice a week to keep that clean, too. Just because she didn’t enjoy cleaning all that much didn’t mean she didn’t recognise how important it was to not leave her room looking like an 88mm high explosive shell had hit it.
The first room to inspect, she decided, would be Gabriele Fuchs’ room. The girl usually kept to herself, as well as having a small stature. It wouldn’t be out of the imagination to suggest that her room was just as well kept as Komon’s own.
A quick knock on the door, and the girl soon presented herself in the doorway.
“Oh, Marshall. How can I help?”
“Well,” she began, “I thought I’d do an inspection of everyone’s rooms.”
“We have room inspections?” Fuchs asked.
“We do now,” the Marshall replied.
The pair walked into Fuchs’ room, and the Marshall could tell the first difference immediately. As a second year, Fuchs shared her room with a roommate. Who that roommate was, the Marshall had no idea. It seemed like they were out at the moment, however, so that suited her fine. The effects of having two students living in a room together, not much larger than the Marshall’s own, were fairly obvious.
For one, it felt a bit more cramped. There was just more stuff around the room. Not that it was messy; in fact, it was rather orderly, just as she had expected. A bunkbed filled the space in the corner of the room, the higher bunk with the tankery timetable sheet pinned to the wall next to it apparently being Fuchs’.
In the kitchenette, there were some odd pots, but it appeared that they were simply being left to dry, rather than ditched in the sink for someone else to clean. That was good initiative.
“Mmm… rather clean, Fuchs. I like it.”
It didn’t smell odd, it didn’t look odd, the whole room just seemed fairly normal. Fuchs even had a normal roommate to boot, as she spied a small pile of homework sitting on a desk labelled as someone’s other than Fuchs.
“Your roommate,” the Marshall queried, “What is she like?”
“Truth be told, we don’t really get along very well.”
“Really? That’s surprisingly. You are a fairly kind person. Is it perhaps that they are simply of an… unfavourable character?” The Marshall was honestly surprised. It was hard not to get along with Fuchs, unless you were someone like Porter, who constantly craved the companionship of others. Fuchs’ somewhat cold exterior wasn’t all that suited to being happy-friendly.
“No, not at all, they’re nice too. We both do our share of housework. We even split the snack fund-”
Suddenly, the door opened, and another girl announced her presence from the doorway. “I’m back,” she called. “I bought more energy drink too, so- Gabriele? We got a visitor?”
Fuchs introduced the Marshall for her roommate, “This is the third year Komon Lucia, head of the tankery team. We were just having a chat.”
“Ah, nice to meet you,” the girl bowed.
“You too. May I ask a question?” the Marshall asked.
“Uh, I mean, if you like. Not exactly sure I’ve got much to say.”
“Thanks. F- Gabriele here says you two don’t really get along. Is that true?”
The girl widened her eyes in surprise. “We don’t get along?” she wondered aloud, “That’s news to me. Gabriele, I thought we were besties.”
Fuchs shrugged her shoulders. “I don’t know, I always got the impression that you didn’t like me, since you seem especially annoyed whenever you have to vacuum sand off of the floor or restock the fridge with energy drinks.”
That’d be it.
“Ah, um… Nevermind, I just figured it all out. It’s fine, I only came over for a friendly chat. Anyway, I will leave you two to it now, and let you… do whatever.” Settle your differences, she almost added. “Goodbye.” The Marshall showed herself out of the room and left the two to their own devices, before an inevitable argument started.
Fuchs’ roommate seemed friendly enough, and just from talking to her, she was obviously quite nice. However, it sounded like Fuchs was constantly emptying the fridge of energy drinks and tracking sand through the room in her boots after tankery practice… that wasn’t all that surprising, really. Fuchs didn’t seem too bothered by sandstorms or the like, nor how dirty she got. It was just who she was.
The Marshall wouldn’t exactly want to clean up after Fuchs, either, given the choice.
Next on her imaginary checklist was Misaki’s room, which she could only imagine would be plastered in pictures of Tiger tanks or something. A quick walk and the Marshall had soon arrived at her room.
She knocked on the door, and it slowly swung open by itself; it was unlocked and only pulled to. She peered her head inside and called out, “Hello?”
“Hang on, is that the Marshall? Marshall? Is that you?” A voice called back. It didn’t sound like Misaki’s, but she definitely recognised it.
“Uhm, yes. It is me. May I come in?”
“Oh yeah, yeah go ahead! Come in!”
After removing her shoes the Marshall walked inside the room-aaaand of course there was a god damn tiger rug in the middle of the floor. Sat upon said tiger rug was a girl the Marshall identified as the team’s Tiger’s gunner, and Misaki herself, sharing a snack. Apparently she’d interrupted an afternoon snack between the two girls, but they didn’t seem bothered at all.
“Hey Marshall,” Misaki began, “What’s up? To what do we owe this fine pleasure?” Her roommate rolled her eyes.
“Well, I thought I’d come and inspect all of your rooms today, to see what kind of shape they’re in.” And on that note, Misaki’s room was in quite a decent state.
Across one wall was a large print of what appeared to be a Tiger tank, which wasn’t even remotely surprising to the Marshall. If Misaki had literally any say in how the room was decorated, of course there’d be tigers. She ought to hang a sign outside her room, one that said “Here be tigers,” as if it were some sort of exclusion zone.
On the bunkbed was, predictably, a tiger striped duvet with Misaki’s tiger onesie lying on top of it. The Marshall wondered if this was taking the love of a tank just a little bit too far.
In terms of layout, it was identical to Fuchs’ room, though it felt smaller due to being slightly more messy. As the occupants were both members of the school’s tankery team, they could tolerate a bit of dirt and mess. There was a small stack of maybe two or three unwashed pots next to the sink, a pile of tankery uniforms were stuffed in the side of the room, and the TV was left on playing some generic news channel.
“It’s not awfully clean, Misaki,” the Marshall commented as she remembered the boots and shoes being strewn about the entryway. “Are you fine with it being like this?”
Misaki scratched her head, topped with black hair. “Eheheh… yeah, it’s just that we usually forget to clean up. Trust me, sometimes, the pile of clothes is as tall as I am!”
The Marshall wasn’t sure if that was an exaggeration or not and wasn’t sure if she wanted to find out.
“Really though, it wouldn’t hurt to clean up after yourself just a little bit more, make the place a bit neater and tidier. I appreciate there’s always work to do, but still.”
“Mhm,” Misaki nodded as she turned back to her snacks and roommate, “I’ll make sure we clean up more in future then.”
“Well, if that’s all, then I’ll be going. Thanks for your time.”
To be honest, Misaki’s room wasn’t even terribly untidy. It was just the Marshall’s own natural cleaning instincts kicking in; by most people’s standards, it was fine, but to her, it could do with a bit of a tidying up. It didn’t matter though, because now she had the pleasure of inspecting Emily and Porter’s rooms. Oh dear.
She seriously considered skipping those two; who knows how messy they could get their rooms, if their tanks and behaviour in the club usually was anything to go by. Nevertheless, the Marshall soldiered on dauntlessly, and seeing as Emily’s room was closer as a second year, she headed there first.
As a transfer student from Gloriana with two others, they had a unique case - their room was larger than the average second years’ rooms, but they shared it between the three of them, the other two being the Matilda’s driver Alice and the Matilda’s gunner Elizabeth.
Instead of knocking on the door, the Marshall put her ear to the door. It was rude to eavesdrop, and really, if she got caught then she would have absolutely no idea how to explain herself. Perhaps by doing this, she could get an idea of what to expect and be able to prepare herself before she set foot in the room.
She closed her eyes and listened in as well as she could. Predictably, they were speaking in English, and while the Marshall had good grades in the subject, it was not her mother tongue. She made out several words, such as ‘tea’. ‘Biscuits’. ‘Matilda’. ‘Marshall’. ‘Cup’.
It was like trying to decipher a difficult code, and what she had gotten told her little to nothing, as it was pretty much what made up the girls’ standard vocabulary anyway.
The Marshall braced herself a knocked on the door, to which she heard an excited “I’ll get it!” If memory served right, that meant that they were coming to the door, and she was almost certain it would be-
“Marshall! What’s brought you here today? We’re busy having afternoon tea!” The door was swung open with lightning speed and the girl in question, Emily, stood there looking up at the Marshall.
“Emi, it is eleven o’clock in the morning. How is it ‘afternoon’ tea? In fact, nevermind, you probably meant to say morning anyway.”
“Emiri,” the Marshall said out of spite, “I’ve come to inspect your room. I trust it is tidy?”
The younger girl sweatdropped. As the Marshall made her way inside, she saw several things.
Firstly, Alice and Elizabeth were sat around a table, on chairs, drinking tea from what appeared to be rather expensive looking cups. A tea set was centre piece on the table. The teapot, cake stand, and all the little saucers looked to be incredibly precious, and doubtlessly even more so to the three girls. Elizabeth waved a friendly hello, and Alice nodded whilst munching on a scone taken from the cake stand.
Unfortunately, the pristine tea set on the table didn’t set the standard for the rest of the room. Rather, the bar seemed to have been set by a particularly lazy child, if the Marshall had to guess.
One bed was perfectly made; one had a half-hearted attempt made at making the bed, and the final apparently couldn’t care less whether it was made or not. Clothes were strewn about one side of the room, the sink was full of pots - granted they were soaking - and a calendar with the title “Great British Landscapes and Buildings, 2016 Calendar” was pinned to the wall with messy scribbles all over it. They looked less like dates and more like spaghetti. It ruined the lovely picture of the rolling green hills which was apparently England.
Apparently, the Marshall had walked into the messy lovechild of St. Gloriana and Anzio without realising it.
The TV was playing a show named ‘Downton Abbey’, though she hadn’t the faintest idea of what that was, and the TV itself was topped with a nice thin layer of dust. Papers laid stacked up on the desk, some with tea stains, some crumpled up, and some neatly folded. The curtains were drawn and the windows were wide open, and the far oversized beanbag that Emily had hijacked for the sleepover was dumped on the sofa already there.
She daren’t even look at the toilet.
All in all, the Marshall felt it appropriate to use her earlier analogy of “Looking like it had been struck by a high explosive 88mm shell,” at that moment in time.
“Emi. Why is it so messy?”
“Cleaning up is boring. Besides, we’re busy having morning tea. Join in or sod off!”
“Emily!” Elizabeth cried, “We shouldn’t be so rude!”
“Ah, it’s fine Eri.”
Alice spoke up, “If it’s any consolation, Emily makes most of the mess. Poor Elizabeth usually ends up cleaning some of it. However, she’s only one person. I’m not allowed to clean because I just make it worse, apparently. Emily is right though. Please, join us for morning tea, or leave quickly, we are rather busy.”
Well then. The Marshall decided that she was not paid enough for this, turned heel, and walked straight back out, leaving the slightly barmy trio of ex-Gloriana girls to their morning tea. On the surface, they almost seemed like refined young ladies, but knowing Emily well proved otherwise.
Finally, the Marshall cleared her mind as she walked the distance to the first year dorms. Being in the first year, Porter’s room was in the first year building, rather than the second year building, and so the longer distance she had to walk in order to get there helped calm the Marshall mentally. She needed it right now.
It couldn’t be that much worse than Emily’s room, could it? Could it?
In a strange twist of events, it actually wasn’t. The younger girl had cheerfully let the Marshall in, and immediately, her roommate and gunner/loader of the Semovente 75/18, Izuki, immediately shot up and stood to attention. Clearly, someone took things more seriously than others.
The room itself was rather tidy, as far as first years’ rooms went. The washing was in a basket of its own, there was a bookshelf with nicely stacked manga, the kitchenette wasn’t on fire, and there was even a magical girl anime on TV that the two were apparently enjoying prior to her arrival. She had half the mind to sit back and watch it with them.
It was a pretty well known fact throughout the team that Porter was a sweet girl, and that was true. She did nothing but read manga and watch anime. Literally, besides her tankery duties, nothing but read manga and watch anime.
She spied a list on the desk, with several columns and lots of scribbling out. “To watch,” “Watching,” and “Watched,” they were labelled. The Marshall could only assume this was some futile attempt by Porter to control and track what anime she was watching, what she was watching next, and what she had already watched. As if it would give her life some semblance of normality and order.
It was a miracle that Porter actually managed to get anything done with stacks of mangas and anime DVDs on that bookshelf. The only assumption the Marshall could make was that Izuki, the poor girl with the patience of an angel, was responsible for helping the other girl out with her classwork. She idly wondered if, due to their obvious telepathic link, if they had to talk to each other at all when one was in distress and needed help from the other.
Well, the Marshall just figured; it was one of the many great mysteries of the school Oasis Mirage, wasn’t it?