Necessary Measures

From the Story Arc: The Fading Flame: Meanwhile

Previous Story in the Arc: The Eighth Sin by Dr. Bella Dawn Parker (Wednesday, May 23, 2007)

Next Story in the Arc: Reunited by Krasnaya Zvezda (Friday, August 10, 2007)

(posted Thursday, May 31, 2007)

((Written with Crimson Tao, with the help of Victoria Victrix))

The Air SDF hanger was almost silent when Crimson Tao quietly entered: just the murmured Russian of Petrograd's ill-explained radar techs and the light snores of the equally enigmatic pilots. The CCCP's birds sat... coiled, ready to strike at a moment's notice, even before the first crow of morning, under the yellowing fluorescents.

The commissar himself stood frozen, staring through the dimness at a wall tacked floor to cieling with black and white printouts, full of completely random numbers and light markings in red sharpie, almost willing life into the senseless patterns there. His fingers clacked as they played over the keyboard on his arm, by far the most noise in the room.

Tao glanced down at his own PDA once more before approaching.

New Msg: Urgent
Fr: CmsBel cc CmsSoc

Comrades: effective immediately, oversight authority for the ASDF and SDF is transferred from Commissar John Murdock to Commissar Petrograd. This authority will be returned to Commissar Murdock when he feels able to assume it again,

Eyes zeroing in ahead on one of the many small cracks in the east wall, Tao's hand snapped to his temple. "I was hoping to speak to you with regards to the ASDF, Sir."

Petrograd saluted loosely, mumbling "At ease, comrade official," and, almost subvocally, "Entry 3172: Cellular Phone, Nokia. Local. Subtract 3.28n10. Speak freely, tovarisch."

"Through means that you probably do not wish to ask about, this afternoon we will be signing a delivery receipt for 300,000 rounds of ammunition, and 120 pounds of incindiary materiel."

"Weekly Council shipment from Argentina? Eh, is more interesting as a suprise. Any particular thoughts for storage?"

"That is what I hoped to discuss with you. I would prefer if these were stored for a very short term. They do not have the longest shelf-life now."

The commissar finally cocked his head with serious interest. "Comrade... is there any particular reason you've acquired unstable munitions?"

"The enemy does not perish of his own accord. If you do not strike it, it will not fall."

Petrograd nodded slowly in comprehension. The ammunition was more than the SDF had used in the past three months. "An overt operation, da? Or at least mother of all coverts. What is your target?" he asked with the barest edge of doubt. They both knew well how the last full scale operation of the CCCP, a burn order on the Council, had ended.

"Our enemies have decided against subterfuge. There is no reason to shackle ourselves to a methodology that has so far proven less than effective. War is the highest form of struggle for resolving contradictions."

Petrograd sighed lightly, sliding his the sleeve of his flight jacket back over the keyboard. "You know what I am meaning, Comrade Sun. I must to have specifics. What is your current target, and stage of planning?"

"The target is any and all locations confirmed to have housed Garvey's operations, such as the listings in Official Zvezda's report. Orders will be seizure of personnel involved in transporting goods to any of those facilities and seizure of any and all known associates. Once I am forwarded coordinates from Intel as to the location of the primary target, mass mobilization will be ordered and requests for the use of lethal force on your desk."

The commissar looked over the list, shaking his head evenly. The Parliament, roughly at-strength with CCCP. LSI, a highly expierenced mercenary group. Arachnos... all highly dangerous, and all already probed, with no results. "You are speaking in pre-preliminaries, tovarisch. The capture of Garvey is a high priority, but none of the targets on this list have proven a palpable connection."

"One man cannot do so many things entirely within his own power. There must be others who have or are aiding him. We must move to cut off his support -- one can go to ground only so long before they starve."

Petrograd stood firmly, facing Tao. "We can nyet afford to burn the Isles to smoke out one man. It would be suicide... for us all." Petro sighed through his respirators. "I will request Bella keep in closer contact with you for intelligence efforts, but I am continuing current policy. All operations in Isles--down to squad level--are requiring my approval. Hone strategies to this level, show me goals worth risk, or get me solid intel, and come to me then, Official. Is anything else?"

Sun Kai saluted once more, his quiet "Sir," carrying no trace of dissappointment or indignation, and awaited acknowledgment before retracing his steps back to the main warehouse of the base.

He barely heard the muttering as he walked past the sliding doors.

Entry 3173. Circuit Breaker. PC4138...