Teamwork

From the Story Arc: Bestla's Diary

Previous Story in the Arc: Hooray! New York! (part 1 of many) by Bestla (Tuesday, November 09, 2004)

Next Story in the Arc: Morning by Commie Cowgirl (Sunday, February 12, 2006)

(posted Saturday, February 19, 2005)

Petrograd was caught by surprise when the metal door of his hangar was teared apart like paper and a figure engulfed in flames darted inside the compound.

"HA! This is a huge mistake, friend! No one will invade our headquarter on my shift"
said with a laugh the battle hardened veteran, never losing his spirit.

The small figure burned so bright it was almost impossible to stare at it
"You being proper weirdo, Petro. You not be blasting me head now, aye?"
"Bestla?!"
Being a mutant, a russian hero and a friend etrograd didn’t even asked her to explain the fire or the damages to the gate. In his early days he had his fair share of troubles controlling himself.
"Bestla, dear" he started cautiously "You are melting my place..."
"Kenna stop! Am come for good reason. With Blacklist, Mother Siberia and Thermos gone, you being the only one who can help me. Please to freeze the room."


Once again, Petrograd pretended to be at ease, aware that Bestla was deeply ashamed of her unability to restrain herself.
"Please take a seat then" he added with a cheerful tone, spraying the freon and suddenly creating a pointed, bulky block of ice. Bestla stared at the short pinnacle, unsure.
"Govno, that was supposed to be an armchair. Well I guess I’ve no future as an Ikea emplyoer after retirement, da?"

A few minutes later the hangar was covered with a thick layer of ice; the heat generated by the everlasting human toarch was so intense, though, that the ice was already melting.
A fair icy rain was falling on them.
"Eerie"
"I kinda like the effect, actually" Answered Petrograd, th drops falling on his helmet and straining down his armor in tiny streams. He was trying desperatly to put Bestla at ease, to make herself feel comfortable, in obvious spite of her unstable condition.

Reports on the aggravation of her health were dispatched to all officers weeks before.
In his long, hard life, Ivan Ilych Derinsky had seen many comrades in arms die from horrible wounds, bodies shattered by terrible explosions, and even annihilated by the effects of unearthly magick. But nothing like this: she was burning so fast and so bright, he could almost see the living matter of her body devoured by the intensity of the combustion. How can I ease such pain, he asked himself, heartbroken.

As if she was reading his mind, she told him: "Write a letter for me. I can’t even try to touch something anymore".
He went to the computer but after a moment of disbelief he stopped. The plastic keyboard was soft under is touch, the motherboard probably fused minutes ago.
Without saying anything, with stubborn determination he went to the far side of the hangar, were a writing desk was placed. Uneasly he tried to keep the ice encrusted pen in his clumsy metal hand, failing every time.

He could feel her eyes on him, and he was overwhelmed by his inability to act like everything was normal and under control.
"I am sorry, Bestla. This hands are crafted for war, not for writing. Maybe you came to the wrong person. I can’t help you."
But even through the curtain of flickering white flames he could see the face of the girl sadden.

With roar of anger he rushed to a bulky structure in a remote corner of the hangar, and removed the shroud that was covering it.
A T55 russian battle tank, polished and decorated with the CCCP insigna.
After acquiring an almost dismantled model from the black market, he had put all his talents and care to get it back to its former glory. It was his secret gift to the group, to celebrate in June the birth of CCCP America.
"Fine, so be it!" He shouted.
And then, with immense sweetness in his voice: "Come here kid, I will engrave your letter in this piece of junk."

Without realizing what this meant to him, even if almost blinded by the pain, the girl let go a laugh of happiness
"Horosho! Now please write this
Comrades and general weirdos, in this time we spent togheter..."
"Pah Bestla! Slow down! I can’t write a poem on this"

With incredible precision he focused an highly powered blast and put a neat hole in the armour of the tank, barely the size of a fist. "Focus now: one message, the single most important thing you want to tell us".

She came closer and whispered the message to him.

He could hardly fight the tears, while he was hammering the short sentence into the armoured vehicle, one blast after another.
The blows that night resounded in all the headquarter, like the solemn tolls of a fatal bell.

Three hours later he stopped, drained. The tank stood there, riddled, far beyond repairability now. The message wounding its flank.
"Now come here, Bestla. I want you to sign this."
"But I can’t! Can’t see, almost can’t move anymore". Death was already casting her shadow on the girl.
"Yes you can, here... put your hand here"

In the early morning a gathered band of astonished heroes faced the dismantled tank. On the side with surgical precision, right under the CCCP insigna, a message was engraved.

"MY PACK, FOREVER"

Under the writing a black print in the scorched metal, the form and size of a small, female hand.