From the Story Arc: Red And Blue

Previous Story in the Arc: Request For Permssion For Full System Upgrade by Dr. Bella Dawn Parker (Saturday, May 21, 2005)

Next Story in the Arc: Excoriation! by Red Saviour (Thursday, June 16, 2005)

(posted Thursday, June 16, 2005)

She couldn't keep away from HQ. No matter how hard she tried, she couldn't. But she made a point of sneaking in when everyone else was on patrol.

She finally checked Red's computer. The DVD had been put neatly to one side. There was no sign of violent damage to the DVD player. So presumably the Commissar had watched it......

No sign of Nat wanting to discuss anything, though.

Maybe I'd better make sure she watched it.

She accessed the video logs. Sure enough, it had been played.

More than once.

Five times, so far.

Bella couldn't decide if that was a good or a bad sign. Or maybe it wasn't a sign at all. Maybe it had been someone else using Nat's computer. BB maybe, or Mosca....

Then she noticed something else---an incoming video message that had not yet been played.

Nobody told me not to look at it.

> Incoming video transmission...
> Secured channel requested...COMPLETE
> Authenticating...COMPLETE
> Buffering: 0%...25%...50%...75%...COMPLETE
> Beginning playback...

A handsome, mid-thirties man of Asian descent sits behind a large, wooden desk. Behind him is a large, black and white image of Ho Chi Minh standing before a bright red Vietnamese flag. In perfect English, he begins...

"Greetings, commissars of the CCCP. My name is General Nguyen Ai Quoc of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. I am the commander of the Special Metahuman Unit to which Truong Thanh Ha belongs. It has long been my intention to contact you to glean the true status of her work for your organization."

"We have long been monitoring her progress through an encrypted transmission hidden in her translation device, and it comes to no surprise that her duties as a supplemental medical officer have started to deteriorate, in specific regard to one John Murdock and to Commissar Red Saviour."

"Commissar Saviour, to you in specific I ask this; Did the girl not threaten to to have you put on medical leave on Monday, June fifth, thus clearly overstepping her bounds as merely a tovarich in your organization? Your response to that was fully justified, I might add, which is the real cause for my transmission here today."

The man leans in towards the camera, eyes becoming shaded in an inky film, his manner becoming snakelike. "It is my belief that Truong Thanh Ha is becoming a liability for your organization. If you would like the girl recalled, all you need do is ask. I have plenty of male medical officers here I could have her replaced with, ones whom are not governed by emotion, only duty."

He leans back in his chair again, slowly curling his fingers together. "After all, Commissar Saviour, you did threaten to evict her from the group once. I shouldn't see why you should give her another chance to fail you."

"I will be arriving soon in Paragon City to personally recieve Truong's latest report, and to recall her should you wish. I will contact you again with specifics before my arrival. It would benefit me to have a moment of your time to discuss the switchover."

"And before I forget, congratulations on your efforts to reclaim your kidnapped operative. I hope the blood of the guilty fell like typhoon rains. Thank you for your time."

He unclasps his hands and presses something underneath his desk. The video goes black.

> Transmission terminated.
> Closing port...COMPLETE.
> Clearing buffer...COMPLET

Oh shit. Oh SHIT!

This was not good. This was double-plus ungood. Hastily she made an audio transcription to Social's comm, and appended a message.

Comrade Social, I don't know what the hell this is all about, but it sounds to me like they want you back because now you're a prize chicken. Get back to Red and me right away on this. If you don't want to go, well, the day we can't fake an accidental death and create a whole new ID for you is going to be the day we're all brain-dead. Or maybe Vic's folks can help, get you asylum or something. But get back to Red like RIGHT NOW and back to me as soon as you can. Bella out."

Then , as she had with the DVD, she set the message to play as soon as Red logged on, making sure she wouldn't be able to do anything else until it had finsihed playing.

She left the King's Row building and headed for her favorite high-rise in Steel Canyon feeling a lot like poor Bilbo in LotR; "too little butter scraped thin over too much bread." Or something like that.

She landed and brooded down over the edge of the building. Well, at least this time no one could complain that she hadn't told the Commissar first. No more leaving it to someone else....

"Why is it," she asked the empty air tearfully, "That I'm in this winless game where every time I bop one mole three more pop up to take its place?"