More Than the Sum of its Parts

From the Story Arc: Little Fish, Big Pond

Previous Story in the Arc: From The Ashes by October Star II (Tuesday, May 17, 2005)

Next Story in the Arc: For the People by October Star II (Friday, May 20, 2005)

(posted Tuesday, May 17, 2005)

“Where did all of this come from, comrade?” Alexei picked through the mound of electronics that covered the table. “This cannot be my jedushka’s suit.”

Petrograd chuckled. “Of course not. That is on the main workbench.” The heavily armored soviet motioned over his shoulder with a thumb. “This is my cache of spare parts.”

Alexei lifted a slightly dented Council-made sonic blaster. “Are we not supposed to turn these things in to the mentovka when me make arrest?”

“Bah! That is too much paperwork. Besides, most of this is from unofficial operations. What happens in portals, stays in portals.” Petrograd shrugged. “Besides, with the amount of fighting that happens in the streets these days, anyone can find this fignya anywhere. Have you been in Czar’s Row lately? I am thinking garbage workers are having strike for better wages and working conditions. Nobody miss a few things.”

Alexei pointed at the Tank Smasher torso harness in the corner. “That was a man’s body. It does not count as ‘a few things’. Even if he is in Ziggurat, he is missing something important.”

Petrograd shrugged and returned to the primary workbench. “I have gone through the old suit systems. It is functional again, but most of the systems are completely burnt out.” He held up a plastic bin and shook it, causing the parts within to jangle. “If you are wanting old parts for sentimental reasons, they are all here.” Alexei took the bin “I completely redid the suit’s power matrix with parts I took from a Crey Juggernaut. Very efficient and far smaller for the needed output. Recharging can be done at any standard outlet.” Petrograd tossed a small square module into the bin Alexei was holding. It seemed to Alexei that it used to fit snugly into the small of his back. “The teleportation matrix was a complete loss, although I am not surprised. It look like charge coil fuse have been replaced with a ten kopek coin.

Alexei looked at his feet. “I could not find replacement fuse. It worked, just got warm sometimes. I patched the bullet hole in casing as best I could.”

“Ah, that explains fine Soviet engineering being held together with duct tape.” The armored warrior finished screwing a plate onto a silver module that was near the same size. “Instead of resin housings, all internal modules are housed in alloy of titanium and aircraft aluminum. Lightweight but far more resistant to damage. They are also insulated individually, so you not worry of charge going through suit.” Petrograd placed the silver box into the hollow of the back and made the cable connections. “Since teleportation is gone, I took liberty of replacing it with flight pack.”

“Flight?”

Da!” Petrograd laughed. “Proper hero of state should be flying. As healing ray eminators are also destroyed, there seemed no need to replace teleportation matrix. It was mostly for pulling comrades to safety, nyet?”

“Da. So all of the healing shield was destroyed?” Alexei shook his head in disappointment. October Star was known as a combat medic. This “evolution” of October Star was turning into an entirely different hero.

“Almost entirely. But I am working on solution.” Petrograd held up a Cred Medic scanner. “It is looking like Crey healing device is same technology. Am wondering if one was based on other. I am building a version of device. If work, you will clip to belt, and pull out when need. Ne beri v golovu, chuvak, you will still have your healing. It is just not working yet.”

“What about my blasters? Or am I now carrying one of these?” Alexei held up a Sky Raider assault rifle

“Nyet, nyet.” Petrograd shook his head as he flipped open the shoulder pads and gauntlets. “The connections were burnt out, but most modules were undamaged. I replaced all with klassnyj wiring, from Crey Power Tank. Even added output modules from tank, increasing the joule rating by ten times.”

Alexei’s eyes narrowed. “What does that mean?”

Petrograd pointed the gauntlet at the Tank Smasher torso in the corner. “At old output, you would scratch opponent like this.” He tapped the contact and the familiar blast hit the cybernetic armor, knocking it over, but only leaving a small scorch mark on it. “Now;” Petrograd paused as he flipped open the gauntlet and inserted a set of blue crystalline rods. “Now you are more of threat.” Petrograd shut the gauntlet, and it hummed audibly for a moment. He tapped the contact, and the blast shattered the metal framework, sending shards and components flying.

Blyaha-muha!” Alexei’s eyes went wide, as an uncontrolled smile crept across his face.

Petrograd laughed as he saw the look on Alexei’s face grow. “It is still incomplete, and many systems are not installed, but it has far more capability than original suit. I will add components as they are finished.”

Spacibo, comrade.” Alexei rubbed his chin conspiratorially. “Is it ready for test run?”

Da. But you will need to go to city hall and get flying permit before you use main thrusters.” The old soldier snapped closed the last components, and quickly put in a few mounting screws, locking down the last modules. “How is costume? Did they repair with proper care?”
Alexei paused. He had been so pleased with the new costume; he hadn’t really looked over the original one. “I..” Handing Petrograd the plastic bag, he looked at his feet once again. “I did not check.”

Shto? How could you not check?”

Alexei’s face had gone from elated to sheepish. “They put in bag and said was done. I was too busy to check.”

“Too busy?” Petrograd’s tone was incredulous. “What were you doing that was so important?”

“Designing new October Star costume.” Alexei held up the other bag.

“New…”

“The manager at store was very persuasive. He is saying jedushka’s suit is piece of history and am chancing destroying it fighting criminals.”

Petrograd snatched the bag out of Alexei’s hand. “That costume was designed by the state! It is icon of the glory days of the Soviet Union! It is…” His voice trailed off as the suit unfolded.

“You see!” Alexei pointed. “The same star on chest, the same color of red and gold, with adding of black to accent. The boots and gloves are hard, to better protect systems. Instead of uncomfortable hood it has sleek looking domino mask.” He looked to the elder hero, hoping for a glimmer of approval.

Petrograd looked the suit over. “Multilayer polymer with a Kevlar base. It is lighter and will breathe better. Should hold up to damage better as well. It is….not bad.”

Kruto!” Alexei punched the air and scooped the suit up dropping the bin on the workbench. “I will go to locker room and change! I cannot wait to see your improvements in action.”


To be continued
-------------------------

Russian Glossary for unlearned Americanski readers

Jedushka – grandfather

Great Patriotic War – World War Two

Mentovka – police station

Kopek – Russian equivalent to a penny

Fignya – junk

Ne beri v golovu, chuvak – Take it easy buddy

Klassnyj – top shelf, first class, top rate

Blyaha-muha! – an expression of surprise and amazement

Spacibo – thank you

Shto? – What?

Kruto! – Cool! Excellent!