The beginning of the end.

From the Story Arc: The march of time.

Previous Story in the Arc: Seeds of the modern world. by Uncle Joe. (Tuesday, December 26, 2006)

(posted Tuesday, December 26, 2006)

Part 3. The beginning of the end.

May 5th, 1945. Moscow, U.S.S.R.

(Three days before the end of the Great Patriotic War.)

Many people in this world have dangerous jobs, workers in the factory must contend with machinery and the by product of there task,
Farmers must face the uncertainty of nature. Solders face death every day on the front, but of all the people of the Motherland, none
would trade places with comrade Ivan Bolshakov, for it was comrade Bolshakov who juggled the possibility of instant death every night
when the door to the personal theater would open and the words he would dread the most would usher forth.

"What will Comrade Bolshakov show us today?

Every time the words came from the mouth of the man who could on a whim decide that Ivan's existence was no longer needed.
Such was the lot of Comrade Stalin's personal projectionist. Every night he would have to gauge the mood of Comrade Stalin, as always it was a matter that could shatter his nerves, Bolshakov was right to sweat: life and death was decided during the showings. Once a few years before a projectionist broke his machine, spilling mercury, he was arrested and accused of trying to poison Stalin.
If Stalin was in a bad mood, Bolshakov would show an old favourite or, even better, a foreign film.

Tonight Stalin's face was unreadable, though the war would end soon, there were rumors that Stalin was in a foul mood. Hitlers body could not be found and there was talk that the Americans were pushing Stain for a commitment in the Pacific against Japan. Some even suggested a darker motive was in the works, and a war with the west was eminent. So on this night comrade Bolshakov decided to take a chance.

"I thought that for tonight comrade Stalin we would watch an American Western." Bolshakov felt himself tense up as Stalin mulled
the statement over in his mind.

"Da, a western would be nice tonight, and what will we see?"

"I have selected a movie named Dark Command, featuring John Wayne."

"Ah, Wayne....very good. I like his swaggering."

Bolshakov let go en explosive sigh of relief, the leader of the people was happy and Ivan himself would survive for another night.

As the film was being prepared Stalin turned to speak to Vyacheslav Molotov.

"You know I sometimes think of my self as a cow boy."

Molotov smiled to those around him, many times Stalin had made this statement and every time it was treated as if it was the first time.

"You....a cow boy comrade Stalin? Why would you want to be a cow boy?"

Stalin shrugged.

"I can see myself ridding into the lawless towns and bring justice to the wicked."

The room nodded and chuckled in response.

Stalin than motioned to Molotov.

"Come Vyacheslav, come sit next to me while we watch the film, I wish to ask you a question."

Molotov was mildly stunned, it had been a while since he was invited to that coveted space. Sitting down Stalin spoke to him in a low whisper.

"I do not blame you for the failure of Lenin's Glory."

"Comrade has not failed..."

"Nyet, nor has it provided results that could be used in a timely manner.....the war will end soon comrade, thankfully we did not need the
product of your program....but I think in the years to come this will be a vital tool against the imperialists....da?"

Molotov worked hard to keep his reaction guarded.

"You are going to keep the program going....even after the delays?"

"Da. The plan while good was never going to yield results in time to affect the war. It came to the resources we had, but Lenin's Glory will be one of the basis of our global strategy in the years to come and the inevitable struggle with America. But what I want to know is this.
What is the secret you are all keeping?.....I know that you have scored a success, but no one is speaking of what it is."

Molotov smiled and looked about like a child stealing a handful of candies.

"The secret comrade you."

Stalin's perplexed look was a joy to Molotov, truly he had not expected to keep this information from the Premier. But it would seem that his security
measures had in fact been a great success.

"Comrade are the template if you will of not only the first success of Lenin's Glory. You are the father of the greatest
victory of Soviet science. We have cloned you. Or I should say that a clone of you has been made. We have cracked the secret of life
comrade Stalin....and it is in your image."

The rest of the night was strangely quiet as Stalin while stunned by this information, was secretly pleased. He had little faith in his children and of himself he was never happy with the imperfections his body caused him to suffer from. But now..... if only by proxy he would not only be what sometimes he wished he was. He would truly be the man of steel, greater perhaps than even John Wayne.