Just a Dream: Part One

From the Story Arc: Radoslav: The Chronicles of Agn Stratonik

Previous Story in the Arc: Saving Comrade Khrushchev, Episode 1 by Agn Stratonik (Friday, February 18, 2005)

Next Story in the Arc: Just a Dream: Part Two by Agn Stratonik (Sunday, July 31, 2005)

(posted Tuesday, May 10, 2005)

“Thank you. Spasibo. Oh, thank you and you and you and…”

“Agn?”

“Da?”

“Wake the hell up.”

I’m awake. I look over at the clock to see that its 7 a.m. “It was all a dream,” I ask myself as I wipe the foggy sight away from my eye to see Zach standing at the foot of my bed. “Yeah…I can only imagine the crap you dream about in that messed up head of yours. This came for you.” He tosses a small box into my lap. The return address is from China and it simply says, “Chao” right above the address.

“Comrade Commissar…I have question for you. Was there ceremony recently…where I was promoted to Colonel?” He folds his arms across his chest and looks at me with a raised eyebrow and a smirk and replies, “No. I would think you would remember something of that importance and not question whether it actually HAPPENED or not.” “Da…is just…the dream felt so real. I was promoted to Colonel…all people were there to see the CCCP…I shook hands with Statesman and was even saluted by him and people clapped and the Anthem of the Soviet Union was sung…” Zach laughs. “Do you actually think that an All-American, blue bleeding Hero like Statesman would even appear at such an event unless it was to watch our every move? Communism is not as accepted as most would like it to be in the States, so something like that can only be in your dreams. It all sounds nice, but that would never happen, my friend.”

“Da…I know. But one can dream…” I stare down at the box pondering the contents as Zach turns and walks out. He yells back from the hall, “Soviet Winter is making breakfast this morning, so you’d better hurry up and get something to eat. He’s making Belgian waffles!” I barely comprehend what he says as I drift into my thoughts. That dream was far too real to be passed off as just a dream. Or maybe it’s just my subconscious playing tricks on me, teasing me with something I’ve wanted for so long. I open the box. Inside is a smaller container identical to boxes that jewelry is given in as gifts, except wider in comparison. There is also a folded up note. It is written in Chinese and it reads:

^ My dear Agn,

I’m writing you to check on your status and I hope this finds you well. There is not much that you have missed in your long time away from China, though you are missed nonetheless. Recently, I was promoted to Brigadier General. This is a momentous occasion for me and something I know I will live up to. My achievements pale in comparison to that of you and your comrades of the CCCP, however. I read daily of your exploits and moves to bring down the terror that grips Paragon City by the balls with a wrenching Kung Fu grip. I know you’ve been hurt and nearly killed many times and I worry for you like you were my own son, but you are a man and you’ve made a great decision for the good of all. It takes a lot of guts for you to do what you did by traveling to fight crime in Paragon, especially since you have no super powers of your own. I wonder how it is you have survived this long, my friend. I’m beginning to sound my age, aren’t I? I will end this needless talk and get to the point: With my promotion, I worked for something for someone who always had the military in his heart. That person is you. Take the gift inside the box and accept a position back into active military service as an ambassador to Paragon for the People’s Liberation Army. You need not do anything else, but accept this promotion. And no, you don’t have a choice! Now, in conclusion, how about you call me sometime, huh? Take care, my son.

Brigadier General Chao ^

I immediately think about the dream that I had just woken up from…surely this is purely a coincidence. I place the letter down on the bed and open the container. Inside is the insignia of a wreath and two diamonds…the insignia of a Colonel in the Chinese military. I stare at it for a minute then close the container. What is this all about?

I finally make it to the kitchen where many of the CCCP and Young Champions are sitting and enjoying a hearty breakfast compliments of Comrade Soviet Winter. I bypass the kitchen and all the morning greetings and walk straight outside to take in some fresh air. I climb the fire escape to the roof of the HQ where Khrushchev is watering plants of his. I stare for a moment or two as he delicately sprays each leaf of each plant with water and places them in the sun. I think to myself that it is strange that a machine, as friend who once had a personality of his own could appreciate life, especially with massive hands made for draining life from enemies. He notices me, but pays no attention to my staring. I walk over to a bench near the plants he’d already watered and I sit and begin thinking. Before I know it, I’m asleep again.

The year is 2020 and Paragon is in ruins. Buildings burn and turn to ash as they fall to the ground. The once great force field that surrounded and protected Paragon has collapsed. The sky is red, black and orange with smoke and flame…and chaos. How did it come to this? A man stands in a cemetery in front of headstones. The atmosphere is that of eerie peace…one of the few places not burned to the ground by the ensuing carnage. He wears an eye patch over his right eye. His attire is that of camouflage and Kevlar and he brandishes a large assault rifle in his hands. This man is me. As I stand in front of the headstones of many, I begin to make out the names: Red Saviour, People’s Blade, Bestial Boy, Chug, Untermensch, Soviette, Communard, Soviet Winter, Khrushchev, Belladonna Aura…until I can no longer read. I feel pain in my heart at the loss of my comrades. So many have fallen and all is loss to chaos. Why am I here and they are not? How did it come to this? I’m standing on a hill where all of these great people are buried. I turn around and face thousands of people…some in costumes, others in battle attire similar to mine. I raise my weapon into the air and all do the same in bursts of cheer. I turn and face my comrades one last time and render a salute to them all.

We are at the threshold of battle. In front of us are many foes…Rikti and Nazis, all working together. They growl menacingly at us as they begin to charge. I don’t give them the chance. I make the first move by running in a fit of rage straight for their ranks. The troops behind me follow swiftly. Many are cut down on both sides by laser fire and bullets, until we are in melee range. We overwhelm them in battle. We cut through their ranks like a knife through butter. Heroes are in the air blasting enemies in all directions…our combined powers are annihilating our foes with devastating force…gunfire, screaming. My troops, super powers or none, falling to the ground and dying in painful agony. We push through. The day is almost won…I look to the distance behind the ranks of our enemies to see a wall approaching us…a wall of robots. The combination of Nazi and Rikti technology perfected into 50-story killing machines, heading straight for us with rocket launchers and lasers aimed to kill all without prejudice. I close my eye as a cataclysmic explosion turns our flesh and bones into ash. We are dead. How did it come to this?

Khrushchev reaches onto my shoulder. “Comrade Agn. Please awake.” I wake up…again. I’m sweating and I feel like I just got rolled over by a Panzer tank. Khrushchev looks at me and scans my body. “What is wrong, comrade Agn?” I wipe the sweat from my forehead and smile, “Nothing, Krush. I was simply having bad dream. I am okay.” “You are sure you do not wish to see Dr. Soviette?” “Positive, my friend…I think I just need to go crack some heads for bit to take my mind off of things.” I stand up and approach the fire escape, but turn back and face him. “You know, plants like to be spoken to. Talk to your plants when you water them. They have great listening ability and it helps them grow.” “That may be correct,” he replies, “but it is merely true because plants need carbon dioxide, which is what living beings are doing when they speak to the plants. I am not a living being.” “Krush, just because you are a machine, doesn’t mean you aren’t a living being. And it doesn’t mean you know everything, either. You still have a bit to learn, my friend.” I descend the fire escape and walk back inside the HQ.

Khrushchev stands for a brief moment staring at his plants and then walks up to the ones he was watering before he woke me up. He takes the leaf of a plant and begins spraying it with water. “Weird fellow isn’t he,” he says looking at the plants. “Did I tell you about the time he and I played chess? We were sitting in the living room…”