1. Location: Landing point Marx

Red Dawn

0100

"Helium mix optimal," Vladimir mumbled into the microphone. Outside, clouds brushed against the side of his massive Kirov class zeppelin cruiser as it chugged along sluggishly through the night sky. Airship division three, unit seven had already been travelling over the Atlantic for several days from its base in Stalingrad; though the trip by airplane would've taken a day and a half at most, the Kirov's mass alone was enough to halt its speed to a barely noticable crawl; if not for the gargantuan industrial-grade propellers aft, the ship wouldn't be moving at all.

The ship's payload of several tons of iron bombs didn't help matters, either.

"Proceed to predetermined contact zone within five hours. Landing point Marx."

"Moving," Vladimir replied curtly, dropping the speaker back into its slot on the control panel. The ships had maintained radio silence for almost a week now. It was almost time...

0200

The clouds around him began to acquire a rosy hue, and squinting off into the distance through the windows behind his control cabin, Vladimir could make out a spark of yellow. Dawn was approaching; they would have to hurry. He picked up the speaker system again, this time pressing the button labeled "Ship Intercom".

"Wake the crew."

Buzzers began sounding near the back of the ship, in the crew quarters, and Vladimir heard the shuffling as sleepy crew members began shuffling out of bed to relieve the night watch; ironically, Vladimir, as captain, got the least sleep out of them all.

0300

A faint hissing noise was heard as the auxillary air packets on the side of the Kirov's enormous air envelope began to bulge with additional Helium. The rotors began to whirl loudly as the ship picked up speed, and the sea below began to froth as waves surged forth below...

0400

"Coffee, captain?" Lieutenant Tolstoy asked, grinning broadly as he thrust a steaming mug onto Vladimir's map table (while several drops spilled on the captain's charts). "Courtesy of our fine brothers-in-arms from Cuba."

Vladimir put down his pencil and accepted the cup, sipping appreciatively as he wiped the sleep from his eyes with a pencil lead-stained hand. By his calculations, they should arrive on time- early even.

0500

"When are we arriving?"

"As planned. You up to the job, Lieutenant?"

Leo flashed his trademark grin, his palladium-grade teeth showing white through several days' worth of military rations. "As always, sir." His reputation as "the Lion" was well deserved; there were rumors that Lieutenant Leo had been promoted to this post from the Soviet Union's prestigious Apocalypse Tank Division. A good person to watch your back.

Vladimir grunted. "Good." Too much enthusiasm, this one. Just give them some time.

0600

Light brings life. With the dawn, the ship began to awaken. Tramping feet were heard as crew members rushed to their posts.

"Bombadiers, to your stations!" Vladimir roared into the speaker, the pilots furiously turning dials and pushing levers as the ship neared its destination.

The bomb bay groaned as its steel covering slid open, allowing light to touch once more the rows upon rows of gleaming bombs aligned in its racks.

The airship burst through its surrounding cloudbank, and the dawning sunlight revealed the entire scene, a moving kaleidoscope of color from the panoramic view of the Kirov's viewports:

The giant host of dreadnoughts sitting in the bay, gleaming and invincible; the smaller scorpion escort ships, darting between the floating behemoths; the streaking contrails as cruise missiles rose up in one volley, and then another- streaking below the Kirov and exploding on their targets in tremendous, fiery conflagrations, superimposed upon the backdrop of the hazy skyline in the distance.

The green, outstretched arm crumbled, copper and dust falling as the torch-bearing limb fell down, the sea parting to receive it.

The buzz of engines as transport planes glided smoothly overhead, paratroopers scattering from their cargo bays like seeds; their parachutes, blossoming into existence on the bright blue sky like dandelions.

The enormous shadows cast over the Soviet fleet as Kirovs- hundreds, thousands of them- gathering about a single spot, as if a giant, invisible hand had drawn a giant circle around a point and were towing them in on invisible strings, like toys; the giant hammer and sickle emblazoned across the sturdy canvas, the red paint catching the glare from the rising sun...

Air warning sirens began to ring across the still- groggy city, calling to each other like terrified birds.

Vladimir grinned. They had arrived: landing point Marx- but the capitalists called it...

...New York City.