|A Meaningful Conversation and a Dance with Fire
Author: Konstantinsen PM
A former Allied commander meets with a powerful man at his behest. What follows later on is sealed behind closed doors... and marked by events that many hoped would never be repeated.Rated: Fiction T - English - Friendship - Soviet Commander - Chapters: 3 - Words: 6,326 - Reviews: 5 - Favs: 4 - Follows: 4 - Updated: 05-30-12 - Published: 04-07-12 - id: 7999023
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
NOTE: Okay, so I managed to get around my "writer's block" and rewrote this whole thing. I just MIGHT be working on a second chapter to hopefully put this to bed.
The office was not all too grandiose but not too unpretentious as well. There were bookshelves on the right wall; the marble floor shone with the large round emblem of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. There was the desk—the only one in the room—along with an elaborate wooden (throne) padded seat behind it and two green velvet chairs. Well, half of the whole room was dabbled with red.
The thick red curtains including two tables flanked the Premier's desk as well as a bust of Lenin on a pedestal. A large painting of the same man hung on one vacant wall while other smaller visual works of important Soviet figures decorated the other. To the casual observer, there was nothing more to be added to the whole interior.
To former Allied commander Lissette Hanley, it needed a bit more blue. The sight of the large globe on her right reminded her of Charlie Chaplin.
Her previous official service was to that of Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe Field Marshal Robert Bingham. But since the fall of Europe, the surprising defeat of the Empire of the Rising Sun, and the subsequent chaos that enveloped the conspiracy surrounding the android that was President Howard Ackerman, Hanley found herself fighting alone in the ruins of Basque County. When she woke up on a gurney with bright lights over her, she thought she was dead.
Tightly shackled on the ankles and wrists and guarded by a pair of elite Kremlin guards—whose proficiency and efficiency were almost at equal with the best of the Spetsnaz—she stood in front of the desk facing an empty wooden chair. The white glass doors that led to the balcony were ajar. And there he stood with his back against them.
The Premier gestured at the soldiers and immediately her "cuffs" were undone followed by the departure of her guards. He closed the balcony doors and took his place in his (throne) chair, fingers laced together and eyes dragged down by the weight of the skin underneath them.
She stood there, her hand on her hip, striking a pose synonymous with arrogance. Despite her appearance—dirty, shabby, and tattered—she still looked as powerful as she was through the monitors back in Geneva. Her smirk was still the same.
"It's been some time," he began. Much to her surprise, his English was very good. Well, he almost never talked to her during the War.
"The same with you," she replied.
"Have a drink?"
"I don't see any wine glasses anywhere." She didn't even bother to look.
"They're all in my desk."
She grunted. "Fancy that."
The Premier opened up a drawer and pulled out two slender glasses. "Do you drink?" he asked, setting them on the table and reaching his hand back into the liquor compartment.
"On the contrary, I prefer water."
He retrieved a bottle of Vodka as well as a glass pitcher filled with clear water. She could never wonder how everything in this room looked so clean.
He poured in their respective drinks and set them aside. He pushed the water-filled glass towards the edge of the table, motioning to one of the seats. She obliged, taking her place on the right as well as the glass in her hands.
There was a tense awkward moment. Both pairs of eyes connected, both minds trying to read the other. And eventually, they puffed out rather quickly and decided to get on with the leisurely meeting. The Premier was the first to take a sip.
"So, how are things?" he asked rather casually.
"Fine until Spain turned red."
"Comrade Oleg did well."
Lissette feigned a grin. "Do give him my compliments." Asshole.
"You also have my respects, Commander."
That was something. "Why thank you, Premier." What gives? What's this all about?
"Also with Commander Price."
"I'll send him your compliments when I get back to my cell." Her eyes narrowed.
Alright, you asked for it. "I'm sure you are aware of how the War has gone so far."
"Europe falls. The Empire falls. The United States is left standing in your way and even the President is fucked up."
"We were astonished as well." He refilled his glass. "The Empire holds a lot of surprises."
"We all hold surprises."
"You are correct. In fact, we have brokered a ceasefire with the United States in hopes of putting an end to this conflict."
You're shitting me. "Oh? And you're telling me this why?" This is just too sudden.
"You will be proof that we would not be backstabbing the Allies"—what's left of them—"in this meeting. A gesture of goodwill as many would put it."
Hanley felt her body go stiff. You son of a bitch. "You're saying that I'm bait?" she fumed.
"No. Proof." They stared into each other for the next half minute. Lissette planted her hands firmly on the Premier's desk, glaring daggers into him.
"I'm not going to be used as a play toy for whatever you're scheming. No deal."
"It seems that you do not understand our goals. What we want is an end to this War—"
"Right. Like we'd all forget Easter Island."
"You were not the only enemy there, mind you." That earned him Hanley's ire. She was ready to call him all the negatives she had in her mind when he cut her off. "Right after Bingham's defeat we were greeted by a barrage of surprise attacks by our own troops under our own Defense Minister."
The Premier pressed a button and Soviet logistics officer Dasha Fedorovna appeared on the screen on the right wall. She greeted her boss warmly, eyeing his captive guest. They conversed in rapid Russian with Hanley trying to decipher what ('traitorous') words ('general') she could pick up. What?
The screen flashed with exclusive footage of the Battle of Easter Island. In the background were the remains of Bingham's base of operations. There was a sudden flurry of images and dialogues in a language she barely knew—making it all the more difficult to understand. But the look on the face of Soviet Marshal of Aviation Zhana Agonskaya told her that something went drastically wrong.
The following shots showed scenes of battle but something that was new to her entirely—Soviet apocalypse tanks going at it. What the hell? Twin Blade helicopters falling prey to MiGs. What is going on? The angry faces of the Defense Minister. Power games? In the end, it was a vast mess with Easter Island reduced to a battered volcano littered with burning metal and debris.
The final transmission was that of former Soviet Premier Anatoly Cherdenko. He was angry. Very angry.
"Dr. Zelinsky told me about Cherdenko's meddling with time. At first I thought he was delirious." Lissette turned to listen to the man on the desk with eyes full of shock and confusion. "But then came his sudden disappearance. And the 'attempt' on Cherdenko's life. Then Krukov's death. It was only until the Defense Minister converged on us that it all made sense to me. Zhana did not know. Oleg did not know. Moskvin did not know. Nobody knew. Except Cherdenko, Krukov, Zelinsky, and myself."
She shook her head. This isn't right. "How… wha… huh?"
"Dasha, the logistics officer whom you saw awhile back, sided with me then and there. Oleg, Moskvin, Zhana… they all went with me to Moscow. We marched with our forces and…" The Premier shook his head laughing softly. "…the only blood spilled was that of Cherdenko's and those who were foolish enough to be loyal to a snake like him."
"You… killed your own bosses?"
"The Politburo was wise enough to stand out of our way."
"But you… murdered your own."
"He came at us first. What would you feel if Bingham turned coats on you?"
He'd never! "Don't say that! You don't know him!"
"Cherdenko tried to save the Union. But he was just like most of the power mongers in this world today… no different from the corrupt masters of the West."
Silence. Lissette Hanley looked at the leader of the Soviet Union—a young man who aged just as quickly as he rose up the ranks. His hands were on his laps. His eyes looking far off into a distance that no one but him could see. His face and hands wrapped in veins and scarred by fire.
"Are you sure you wouldn't backstab us with this treaty of yours?" she croaked.
He looked up at her. "The people are tired. Almost all of Eurasia has been liberated from their capitalist overlords. As much as my comrades would like to ensure the fall of the United States, it is clear that it would only lead to more death and destruction… and it is time that we allowed for the a world revolution to take place far from our hands."
What a devout commie. "Where will the meeting be held?"
"At the White House." Lissette's eyes went wide. "In the office of your new President who I believe is more kind to us."
No. Way. "On American soil… at our very own capital?"
She rubbed her temples. "I… I'm not… I'm not going until you keep your word, got it?"
The Premier smiled. "Don't worry. I will go there myself. Unarmed and with only the elite guard of the Soviet Army."
This is something. This is definitely something. I don't believe it. I can't believe it! She could help the grin that slowly grew from ear to ear. Oh my God!
"Always stick beside me. Who knows what your comrades would do to snatch you out of our hands?"
"Wait." She was now thoroughly mixed in a pot of emotions. "I'm not going free?"
She expected a big "no" but the two words that had left the man's mouth assured her that someday, she would see the light of her hometown. She settled down into her seat. "So I'm just going to stay right next to you for the duration of the whole meeting?"
"Until we return. But don't worry. There is a reception afterwards. You could walk around on your own but my guards will be there. And I am warning you not to stray away from our custody."
But this would endanger his position… he wouldn't do this if he were… no. He's just as staunch to his beliefs as Yoshiro. She let her eyes stray to the other parts of the office. "What do your…"—she looked at the bust of Lenin—"… comrades think of this?"
"Some agree. Some do not." She knew who he referred to.
"You're really going for this."
"If I were not, then you would rotting in your cell at the Lubyanka."
He is definitely risking everything for this. "So it's just me, you, and the best of the Soviet Army."
"Indeed. That is not to mention our skilled diplomats." My men.
Hanley took a step back and allowed her mind to wander around. There were two cases: if he was true to his word or not. If he wasn't a double-crosser like Cherdenko, this would mean that the Soviet Union would raise their guns and hang their coats. Although it would bring an end to the turmoil, there was always the undesired effect of creating another Cold War. That is, if things turned out well. Avoiding such was possible but difficult to attain. It was one of many things she learned in her time in the French espionage directorates.
However, if things went awry, (God knows what's going to happen!) the Soviet Union would be mustering up its forces surely double (triple) in number thanks to the annexation of Europe and most of Asia. With the technologies of the Empire at their disposal, and propaganda leading their citizens to take up arms, the United States and whatever allies it had left would be waging a war of attrition. And the end result would likely be in favor of the Communists.
At least, that's what she thought.
"Alright." She took the Premier's hand firmly. The man smiled.
I could have chosen to die. "My cards are on the table."
And we wager all that we have for this. "You don't know how long I have been playing this game."
If only she could remember… The Premier shook his head. No. It is clear that she has more pressing matters to attend to. But still, if only she could still dig up those old memories.
Dasha Fedorovna. When the Premier was but a boy of no less than three, he had played with little Dasha on the snowy parks of Moscow along with her siblings. Had it not been for that exercise accident, she probably would have served in the air force alongside Comrade Marshal of Aviation Zhana Agonskaya. And probably would have given her life under someone's—or even his—command.
All it took was one shell. And she is my intelligence officer. A fragment of steel was still embedded in her brain but did little to no harm. Except for robbing her of precious memories.
And for a moment there, he had forgotten this meeting's agenda.