Don't Be Cruel

From the Story Arc: The Death of CCCP

Previous Story in the Arc: Heartbreak Hotel by Red Saviour (Saturday, March 19, 2005)

Next Story in the Arc: It's Now or Never by Red Saviour (Sunday, March 20, 2005)

(posted Sunday, March 20, 2005)

“But they never cease, for a single instant,” quoted Red Saviour in a ragged whisper, “to instill into the working class the clearest possible recognition of the hostile antagonism between bourgeoisie and proletariat, in order that the German workers may straightway use, as so many weapons against the bourgeoisie, the social and political conditions that the bourgeoisie must necessarily introduce along with its supremacy, and in order that, after the fall of the reactionary classes in Germany, the fight against the bourgeoisie itself may immediately begin.”

Hypno Sister rolled over in bed, casting an arm over Mosca’s taut stomach, and careful to avoid bumping the gun he still held to his forehead. “Mosca, darling, I dozed off. Which one is this now?”

“My beloved Commissarina is finishing off the English version, again. Soon to come are the various introductions and afterwords by comrades Marx and Engels.”

Next to them, long legs dangling off the bed, Romanov snored. The police detective proved to have much less staying power than Mosca or Red Saviour, and Hypno Sister felt it wise to keep him fresh in case of emergencies.

“Who would have thought that Manifesto by which we all live was so boring? Bozemoi, I am ready to convert to capitalism. At least the capitalists have better room service.” Hypno Sister finished her reach, seizing the phone and punching zero. “And, Mosca, switch hands with pistol. You will cramp up, and I need you to be ready to pull trigger if your little fanatic tries something.”

“After two days, both of my hands are cramped. Still, the pain, it is best to spread it around, no?” Mosca moved the gun to his left hand and stretched the right.

“Two days? Already? Govno. She’s a machine!” She heard the voice of the desk clerk. “Da, this is your favorite guest. Doors are still being locked? Horosho. Bring us coffee and breakfast. My usual, and enough for four…ah, three.” Hanging up the phone, she thrust her face into Mosca’s. “You are most pretty man. Do you think she’d waver if I told you to make love to me?”

“It is unlikely.”

“But what an experiment, eh? I am so bored. I bet you are good lover, you.”

Mosca smiled at her. “I am certainly the best you will ever have, even as a hypnotized captive.”

“Oh,” Hypno Sister moaned. “Oh, so alluring? How can I resist?”

“Proletarians of all countries, unite!” Red Saviour, still immobile, hissed through clenched teeth.

“Bah. I cannot enjoy myself listening to Lenin’s little girl over there, as fun as it would be to torment her. Perhaps I’ll molest bellboy again.”

“As you wish, comrade Sister.”

Hypno Sister settled back into the plush pillows. Where had her plan failed? They prized her ability to detain or interrogate enemies without leaving a trace. Guns were useless if their owners had no wish to use them. The World Communist Order was hard at work in Paragon City, and she was tasked to deactivate these potential assets until their objective was complete. Her commander would call at any moment with an update, and ask for the same. What was she to say? Red Saviour had overcome the hypnotic techniques that had taken decades to master by reciting Marx from memory, like a schoolgirl?

Yet her orders were strict: no unnecessary deaths of assets. Assets! As if the psychotic woman, the leader of CCCP America, was some sort of stock portfolio. Red Saviour’s dossier was interesting reading, and Hypno Sister knew she had a walking bomb on her hands. What she hadn’t guessed was that the willpower of this woman was as superhuman as the magic energy coursing through her.

The accounts of her abduction by the Nazis, and the experiments they conducted on her, were chilling enough to cause Hypno Sister to feel a moment’s pity. No Communist, even one as deluded as Red Saviour, deserved that treatment. She was glad that Red Saviour’s escape from the Nazi lab was a bloody one. She is not so far from our way of thinking, Hypno Sister mused. Malice, that cold bitch, might be right about our chances at re-education after all.

If not, she’d keep Mosca as a plaything for a time. Why not? After months of living in this decadent city of greed, working for Russians no better than the Americans, she deserved a present.

The phone rang. She answered it without sitting up. “Da.”

“Privyet, sestra. Report.” Malice bit the words off as if they were raw meat.

“Ah, sestra Malice. Am so pleased to be hearing from you. We are having quite the time here in Las Vegas.”

“Good. When we control America, it will be burnt to the ground. So assets are neutralized?”

Hypno Sister ran a finger around the edge of her empty champagne glass. “Neutralized? Da…to a greater or lesser degree, da.”

“I do not accept lesser degrees, or dissembling. What is your situation?”

“Lieutenant Romanov took the bait. I seized his mind when he entered my hotel, as I did with all staff and guests. Mosca fell right away, and had very useful pistol with him that now points to his head. Red Saviour…”

“I knew it.”

“Da, she is sturdy indeed. We are in a standoff. If Mosca dies, she kills us all. If I can catch her eye, then she’s mine. Instead, we sit here listening to her recite Marx from memory, like a chant.”

The line was quiet, save for the sound of rustling papers. At length, Malice said, “Da, I see she has had training in meditation techniques from Xiao Fei Li, the People’s Blade. What surprises me is that she has the mental discipline to use them. Worker’s Champion claimed she had allowed her martial arts skills to deteriorate.”

Hypno Sister blew air through her lips. “That creaky old man is wrong again. Why do you not eliminate him, once and for all? Every time we have need of him in a pinch, he gets attack of conscience.”

“He still has his uses. We’re watching him closely in Paragon City. There is a line that cannot be crossed twice. Now,” Malice said with decisiveness, “you need to control your situation. I expect you to call me today with news that Red Saviour is a hypnotized vegetable. Then bring them back to us. The operation will remain on schedule.” The line went dead.

“Da, comrade bitch,” Hypno Sister muttered, hanging up the receiver.

A knock sounded at the door. “Room service.”

“Come in, come in,” she called, and kicked the sleeping Romanov’s legs. “Lieutenant, wake up and get me my breakfast.”

Romanov groaned, moving his lanky frame off the bed and staggering to the door. The bellhop wheeled in a cart with an elaborate service, all topped with delicately etched silver lids. A samovar of tea (her first order of business was to insist the newly-hypnotized staff find a proper samovar) and pot of coffee caught her attention.

The bellhop ignored the sweat-soaked, pale figure crouched across from the bed, chanting in Russian, and pushed the cart past her.

“Tea, now,” Hypno Sister said. “With lemon. Romanov, you do it.”

Romanov set down his pistol and poured a cup of tea. He squeezed in a slice of lemon. Still shaky from sleeping on a corner of the bed, he swayed as he carried the tea to Hypno Sister.

“The weapons with which the bourgeoisie felled feudalism to the ground are now turned against the bourgeoisie itself,” Red Saviour said as Romanov stepped over her with the hot tea. She caught his long legs between her feet and twisted him. As he tilted, the hot tea splashed into Mosca’s lap. He gasped and threw his hands up in the air – away from his own head.

Blue light filled the room. Red Saviour, although weak and dehydrated, projected a beam of energy from her entire upper body. It spread and caught both Mosca and Romanov in its wake, knocking them against the wall. Mosca’s pistol clattered to the floor.

The standoff had ended.

Hypno Sister froze, shocked at the sudden explosion. Natalya staggered to her feet. Her legs felt like stone columns, stiff and heavy. The blast of energy used nearly all of her reserves of strength. Now that she could move and fight, mere walking was a challenge. She lurched towards Mosca’s still form.

Hypno Sister recovered from her surprise. At her feet laid Mosca’s pistol. She scooped it up and pointed it at Red Saviour.

“Your death will be very inconvenient for me,” she growled. “Why couldn’t you cooperate?”

Without waiting for an answer, she emptied the clip at Red Saviour. The first bullet winged her shoulder, tearing the light Kevlar woven into her uniform and taking away a piece of flesh. The pain woke Natalya up; she spun in the air, twisting her body away from the trajectories of the remaining bullets. The bullet holes in the wall described a straight line following her down to the floor.

“Bellboy! Get her!” Hypno Sister threw down the empty pistol in anger.

The young man charged across the room with a silver entrée lid. Red Saviour picked Mosca up and pulled his arm across her shoulder. She turned Mosca’s back to the bellboy to take the impact of the lid.

“Izvinit, darlink. I make it up to you,” she muttered. With her free hand, she caught the boy’s head and smashed it into the wall. He sank to the ground, leaving a bloody trail from a broken nose.

She stepped over the boy and made for the door.

“It didn’t have to be this way, Natalya,” Hypno Sister said, her voice becoming whiny. “After they re-educated you, we could have been friends. We have the same goal, you know.”

Red Saviour resisted the urge to look at her enemy and curse her, knowing that in her weakened state, she’d have little chance to evade a hypnotic command. She stepped out into the hall.

“Front desk?” She heard Hypno Sister say into the phone. “Our guest are trying to leave without paying. Please let everyone know. They mustn’t leave this hotel alive.”