(posted Tuesday, January 18, 2005)

Zach stared at his communications console. "I'm telling you Car, this damn thing is busted!" He smacked the console against the wall, using the same trick he used to get his old Zenith Television to work.

"Zachary, the console is built to survive being stepped on by Winter Lord, you are not to be fixing it by smashing," Carpathia chided Zach as he lay on her couch, perplexed by the message on his console.

"How could this happen, Car? I mean, WHY would anyone do this?" Zach stretched his limbs and scratched his head, as though clearing the aches in his body would fix his comm.

"You have to be giving yourself more credit! You are very hard worker, you teach and train the newer members, you are brave, daring, and most of all very very cute...." Carpathia tickled Zach behind his pointed fuzzy ears.

"Yeah, maybe that's it. At least the cute part." Zach stared dumbfounded at his console, which inexplicably indicated that he had been promoted to an Official in the CCCP.

"I know Jadwiga was put in charge of the Medical Unit. Maybe CCCP is opening up a cute and fuzzy department, that's the only way this makes sense...."


Comm unit in hand, Bestial Boy knocked on the open office door. Inside, he could see Red Saviour and her sister, Malinki. Red Saviour sat at her desk, surrounded by multi-colored forms. Malinki sulked in a chair against the wall. The tension in the air was palpable, like falling into recently boiling soup.

"Um. Natalya?"

Red Saviour looked up from the sheaf of memos in her hand. "Da? What is what?"

"Can I...come in?" Red Saviour waved him in with a peevish expression on her face. "Thanks. I have a little question."

"Doesn't everyone? Shto."

Malinki stuck her tongue out at Red Saviour when she wasn't looking. Bestial Boy winced.

"Yeah. Ah. Well, my comm unit seems to be saying that I am an Official now. That's a mistake, right?"

Red Saviour's shoulders sagged. "Let me see." She yanked it from his hand and shook it, poked the buttons and banged it on the desktop. A pen flew off the desk. Finally, she retrieved hers from her belt and compared the two. "Da. You are Official on mine too. That is being mistake."

"So, you can fix that, yeah? I don't think I'm ready to be in charge of anything. I can barely order a pizza!" He gave Malinki a grin, but she frowned and glared at the wall.

"Let me be seeing." Natalya tapped at the dusty PC on her desk, squinting to read the blurry monochrome monitor. "Here are forms to be printed for filling out for nullification of promotion..." Her voice trailed off. Bestial Boy could see a list of at least a dozen forms. "One by each by Field Commanders...three witnesses...Triplicate..."

She put her head in her hands and sighed. Bestial Boy shifted from foot to foot, feeling worse and worse for bringing this up.

Suddenly, Red Saviour stood and saluted him. "Comrade Bestial Boy, congratulations on promotion. I am sure you are worthy of our trust." He fumbled a salute as she handed back his comm unit. "Making us proud, tovarisch."

"Ha!" Malinki barked a laugh, still staring at the wall. "Even green Amerikantski gets trust before sestra."

"Um." Bestial Boy wanted nothing more than to be elsewhere. "Wow, thanks and stuff. Guess I'd better...go...officiate."

Red Saviour wasn't listening. She was back in her pile of memos, backlog from weeks of neglect.

Bestial Boy slipped out of the room and wondered what he'd tell Carpathia.