Lola grinned out at the crowd. "There isn't much of a speech to give. Eight-day camping trip with a body count of forty-seven? Sounds about average for back home. Thanks for playing, vigilo confido, I'm gonna shut up and get ratted and so are all of you."
And she promptly sprinted off the stage as quickly as she'd bounced onto it, threading her way towards the bar via judicious use of an elbow. Her partner was there, staring at a measure of Bleepka in a crystal whiskey tumbler and looking rather morose.
"Why so glum, chum? You did really well. Like, scarily well, considering you didn't have your magic until, like, the last day or something. Have you been holding out on me?"
"Would that I had, Commander." Algie picked up the glass and held it to the light, inspecting it half-heartedly. "Alas, it is not my skills that have put me in this dudgeon, but my conduct. I was... I was quite mad, by the end. What can that poor woman think of me? What must Agent Library think? What vile things I have done, Commander."
"Algie, listen to me. I've seen people freak out in a warzone before. It's nothing to be ashamed of. You're going to move on, you're going to get the counselling you need, and you're going to get back to full readiness quick sharp. I'll see to it." Lola gave him a one-armed hug that required her to stand on the lower rung of his bar stool. "And that can be a direct order, if you want."
"I'd salute, but this is my eighth glass. I fear I would miss."
Lola raised an eyebrow at him. "Your eighth."
"Indeed. It is not so very strong, once one gets past the harshness of the taste. I recall meeting a Tartar in Rotherhithe who use to make it out of loganberries... though of course, I may be misremembering."
"Really. You might."
"Indeed. It may have been Peckham. Lilianna had business there... I... think... it does not matter. I shall pay it no further mind. Excuse me, madam, might I trouble you to furnish my partner with a round of Sex on the Beach?"
The barmaid gave him a cheeky grin. "Indeed you might, Mr. Wymbourne."
Lola was already in stitches.
"Excellent," replied Algie mildly. "And by way of recompense, two tickets and a hotel booking slip for a weekend in Margate."
It was at this point Lola fell over, for the first time that night and almost certainly not the last.