Part 1

From the Story Arc: Legacy of a Fallen Hero

Next Story in the Arc: Part 2 by Sister Hecate (Friday, July 08, 2005)

(posted Monday, July 04, 2005)

Alexei lay on the sofa, stretching his neck, sipping sweet tea Althea’s former landlady had shown her how to make. It was a hot summer day in Paragon City, with almost no breeze. The day was mostly over, and Althea was settled into their apartment, after a day of reorganizing. Alexei had only recently moved his things from the boxes they had been shipped in.

“Alexei, why do you keep this old case?” Althea walked out of the bedroom with an ancient dilapidated hard-sided leather suitcase. There were many gouges and scuffs in the leather, and some of the stitching had worn away, leaving wrinkled areas on the surface. The handle had popped a pin at one point, and it had been replaced with a bolt and screw. A hasp hinge pin had fallen out, only to be replaced with a paperclip. Overall it looked like it belonged in an alley of Tzar’s Row. “Should I not throw it out?”

“Nyet!” Alexei sprung from the couch and quickly crossed the room to his fiancée. “It is the carrying case for the October Star suit. It was my jedushka’s case. When I went through his things, that was what the suit was in. Is specially made by soviet engineers to protect the suit when traveling.”

“Darling.” A wry smile crossed her pale face, drawing her blood red lips into a playful expression that set Alexei’s heart into backflips. “It is an old suitcase, nothing more.” She opened it and pointed at a tag. “Was made in Czechoslovakia.”

He crossed his arms. “That is what you are supposed to think. How else would the great October Star cross the country and hide his identity from the people?”

“I love you, but you are being silly.” She kissed him on the nose. “I will put it back.”

He sighed. She was right. How had he missed the tag? “No belotchka , you are right to get rid of it. I will take it down to dumpster.” Alexei grimaced.

Althea put down the case and wrapped her arms around his neck, nuzzling his ear and cheek, and spoke is a husky whisper. “To make up to you, maybe after dinner we play with oil Vicky gave me, da?”

He wrapped his arms around her waist, closed his eyes and drank in the sensations of her being so close. She was intoxicating, and he could not picture a happier place to be. “da, is good idea. Make sandwiches, so we have dinner quickly.”

“Am already warming perogies from last night. Will be ready by time you come back up.” She kissed him and then stepped back, giving him a look made him feel he would burst into flame. “Go quickly, da?”

He jogged down the hall, and took the stairs, figuring the old elevator would take longer to get to his floor. Checking his pocket for keys to get back in, he stepped out the back entrance to his apartment building The alley was small and clean. Every once in a while a Vhaz zombie would crawl out of the sewer grate at the end of the alley, but for the most part it was quiet. Hurling it as hard as he could, the suitcase soared with a gentle arc, where it would strike the open lid and fall into the dumpster. Or at least that was the plan.

Instead, when it hit the lid, the case burst open, and a shower of things fell out. Alexei quickly walked over to investigate. He lifted the case. A false bottom! He had found the case over a decade ago, and had never found or even suspected a hidden compartment.

Of the three things that fell out, he immediately recognized two. The hard metal case was spare parts. He opened the box to find a complete sat of suit components. This was a pleasant surprise. For the parts Petrograd had not replaced, this would make repairs far easier. The second was a small leather photo album his grandfather always had kept on his nightstand. It was only twice the size of a checkbook, and only held a handful of pictures, but it was one of the things Alexei had always wondered about. To his jedushka, it was a prized possession. Now he knew.

The third was a bit more of an enigma. It was a personal journal. Americanskis called them “diaries”. It was leather bound, and locked with a leather hasp He pulled the case back out of the trash and checked it a second time. No key. Perhaps Thea had a nailfile he could pop the lock with.

****
“What are those darling?” The stood in the doorway to the kitchen, regarding the handful of objects Alexei held.

“The Czech case was special after all.” He held the objects up as he named them. “A box of spare parts for the suit, a photo album of some of jedushka’s best friends during the Great Patriotic War, and this…it appears to be a journal, but is locked. Do you have a nail file?”

She looked confused for a moment. “Da. In medicine cabinet.”

He went into the bathroom, placing the other two objects onto the dresser as he passed. He opened the cabinet, and took out the file from the plastic sheath it was slid into. The tip slid right into the hole. He turned, feeling a little bit of grinding, before the lock popped. The lock would never work again, but he didn’t care very much. Opening it, the first page grabbed his attention

July 17th, 1940

In service of the army of the United Soviet Socialist Republic and the Charter of The Coalition of Communist Crusaders for the Proletariat, today, I, Dmitri Nikolski, The October Star, begin this journal as a personal memoir of the life and times I live in.
*

Bozshe moi! It is my grandfathers war journal!” Alexei sat down on the bed and began to read, enthralled at the idea of finding out more about his grandfather. He had heard the tales all boys of the Ukraine were told. October Star was the hero of the Ukraine, and a champion of the people. Now he would have a chance to see his grandfather’s exploits from his own point of view. Dmitri had always been a tight lipped man about what he had all done in the war. This was his words, his feelings and his faith in serving the people.

He smiled and turned the page.


To be continued…

*translated entirely from Russian