A Column Falls

From the Story Arc: From the Ashes

Previous Story in the Arc: The Journey Begins by Madame Molotov (Wednesday, December 29, 2004)

(posted Sunday, April 24, 2005)

Madame Molotov was in a rage. This was the third 5th Column outpost that she had raided this week, but still was without any of the answers she sought. She crouched down and pulled the man off his back from the floor. He was a member of the Elite Oberst unit and therefore should know something. However, the Column had been in disarray lately. This base had been lightly guarded and almost seemed too easy to take down.

“Who killed my father?” Molotov demanded. “Tell me or I will send you to burn in hell forever.” The officer stared at Molotov and laughed.

“I will tell you nothing, hero” he said. “I know nothing. You are wasting your time.”

Molotov released the officer and he fell back down. “This is useless!!” she exclaimed. “I am getting no where.”

“Madame, I know you are frustrated. But if there is one thing I have learned in my sixty some years, it is that some questions may never be answered. Then again, the answers may be revealed. Regardless, we must go on.”

Molotov looked at the man who spoke these words. Comrade Worker’s Torch was in his upper sixties. In many ways, he reminded Molotov of her father. Granted, there were many differences- her father was older had been a distinguished military man during his life, but both men were wise and dedicated to the Motherland. Molotov knew Torch was right. She may never know who killed her father.

Tanya’s father had served the Soviet Union during WWII and for many years after as a liaison for several of the Soviet supergroups. During the years, he had developed many enemies. He was in his early sixties when Tanya was born. This may have been considered too old by many, but he was a man who always kept in excellent physical shape. Tanya’s mother was much younger then her father but she died when Tanya was but a child. Her uncle (her mother’s brother) had been one of the Soviet Union’s heroes and had carried the name Molotov, but had been missing for so long that all hopes of him still being alive are nearly impossible. Her father was the only family she ever really had known. And the one thing Tanya knew for certain was that someone in the 5th Column had murdered him. Her father, who in his eighties, was no threat to anyone. Why was he killed? Tanya had to know and she was not going to stop until she understood.

“Comrade Torch, I just cannot accept that no one knows why my father was a threat to the Column.” She thought again of what Comrade Torch had said. “You are right, Comrade, I just hope I can find some of the answers.”

“Da, Madame. I shall assist you as much as I can on your journey.”

“Your assistance is most welcome Comrade Torch. I do welcome your company. I have continued my learnings by seeing you in action.”

As they left the Column base, Torch stated “It seems that lately the Column have not been organized as they have been in the past.”

“Da, I have noticed too, especially lately. Perhaps our raids have them on edge” answered Madame Molotov.

“Perhaps,” Torch replied. “But I think it is something else.”

“Well, Comrade…I must be going. We will resume our search tomorrow?” Molotov asked.

“Da, goodnight Comrade Molotov. The Column will feel the worker’s power very soon.”

With that Madame Molotov took her leave. She returned to her small apartment in Steel Canyon. It was small, but her father had already paid the entire year’s lease when she originally came to Paragon so many months ago. The lease was up in another month and Molotov had not thought where she might go. There was no way she could afford the apartment on her own. Molotov was too tired to worry about this now. She stripped down and decided to take a nice warm bath to relax. Then it was off to bed. She wanted to meet some of her contacts in the morning to see if they had any new leads.

Molotov awoke the next morning feeling much more refreshed. It was a new day, and hopefully one more day closer to the answers she wanted. Molotov did not own a television and avoided the newspapers. Most of it was Capitalist propaganda is what her father told her before. If Molotov wanted to know something, she went to the source to get the answers. Hopefully, today was the day that her contact would point her in the direction of someone in the Column who would finally answer her questions. Molotov flew out in the crisp morning air. It is a good day, I can feel it Molotov thought.

Molotov dropped in behind one of her contacts, Alfonse, who was in his usual area of town reading a newspaper. “Good morning” she said.

Alfonse whirled around startled. “Whoa there. I didn’t hear you come in. You are getting pretty good at that quiet thing now.”

“Da, much better now. Do you have any more information for me on the 5th Column?” Molotov asked.

Alfonse looked surprised. “Haven’t you heard?” he said. “The Column was wiped out last night.”

“Nyet” Molotov assumed that Alfonse was doing one of his attempts at humor. “I just took down one base last night. I want to know where I can find someone who knows more of their operation.”

Alfonse held up the newspaper he was reading. The front page was covered with a story of a group calling itself the Council. Apparently the Council had been planning a takeover for some time. Over the past several weeks, the Council had began to appear throughout Paragon City and there had been numerous reports of skirmishes breaking out between the Column and the Council.

“From what I have read, the Column is history” Alfonse continued. “I had assumed you already had heard. The Council has taken over.”

“Nyet.” Molotov was shocked. What would she do now? How would she get the answers to the questions she had? “Spasiba” Molotov muttered and off she went.

Molotov could not understand. Just last night she had taken down one of the Column bases. How could the Council move in that quickly? Who was this Council? What has happened to the Column leaders? Molotov flew around aimlessly for nearly an hour. Finally she settled on top of a rooftop overlooking Independence Port. As she sat there she began to cry. What if she never finds the answer as to who killed her father? What if Comrade Torch was right after all?

Later that evening the Worker’s Torch contacted Madame Molotov. “You have heard about the fall of the Column” he asked?

“Da, what am I to do now” Molotov asked? “I am all alone.”

“Do not worry, Madame. The answers you seek are still out there. This is only one obstacle to overcome. My sources have told me that many of the Council leaders were originally from the Column. It would seem they have had an internal revolution of their own.”

Molotov took this in. “If this is true, then the man who murdered my father could still be out there.”

“Da” Torch replied. “Never give up hope. As long as you still breathe then hope remains. We should just press harder” Torch said with a smile. “The whole of the CCCP will stand by you.”

“Comrade Torch. Thank you.”