From the Story Arc: In the Service of the Revolutionary Tradition

Previous Story in the Arc: Gratuity by Communard (Tuesday, May 17, 2005)

Next Story in the Arc: Unsound by Communard (Wednesday, September 14, 2005)

(posted Wednesday, July 13, 2005)

Sister Shuma was already waiting outside Communard's office when Shen Fai-Long arrived. "Sister! You were summoned too? What does Communard want with us?" Shuma shrugged, "Perhaps he wants our help with an experiment? I am just happy I found his office. I was unaware that he had one."

Shen Fai-Long pointed at a pile of mops, brooms, and sundry cleaning supplies in the
corner. "Indeed, I have never been down to sub-level 6, but the commissars, in their
infinite wisdom, have made room for Communard's office."

"Comrades!" a voice barked, "Enter!"

Shen Fai-Long and Shuma squeezed behind a heating duct and entered Communard's office. The door opened just enough for a slim person to squeeze through and then banged to a stop against Communard's desk. He sat behind the desk. Actually, he sat up against it because there was barely enough room behind it for a chair. The desk occupied the breadth of the office and it was unclear to the young heroes how Communard got behind it, or for that matter how the desk had fit into the room in the first place. The desk was covered in books and writing material. Small busts of revolutionary heroes-Marat, Babuef, Hebert-were placed on the corners. A red flag, the flag of the Commune, hung from a cinder block wall.

"Comrades, at ease." Communard was writing on some curly sheaves of paper and did not look up as he spoke. The two heroes look at each other. Shen Fai-Long shrugged and Sister Shuma raised her eyebrows. Communard finished writing, folded the papers, put them into an enveloped and closed it with a CCCP wax seal. He placed the envelope in a small satchel.

"Now then, comrades, do you know why you are here? Do you know why I have demanded your presence? Should you know why? Do you wish you did not know why? Hmmm?" The confusion on the face of the two young heroes was evident and Communard began speaking again before they could speak. "Comrades, how long have you been with the CCCP?" Without waiting for a response he continued. "Long enough to know the difference between a true proletarian hero and a glory seeking bourgeois nabob. Or at least you should know. And yet here you are, summoned to the office of an official of the CCCP." Communard gave his lips a condescending twist and continued. "Now then, I have an assignment for you both. If you fail your will surely face excoriation."

Sister Shuma made an effort: "Comra..." Communard cut her off. "It has come to my
attention, comrades," he pursed his lips, "That deviationists of the so-called Rebuild
Paragon Congress (ha! The fools! How can you rebuild when the Revolution hasn't occurred yet?) have been feeding comrade Chug treats, ice cream, cookies, etc." The two heroes starred back blankly. Communard grew agitated. "Don't you realize what is happening? The fools hope to get Chug to defect! Your mission to monitor comrade Chug and make a list of every bourgeois hero that gives him a treat." Communard stood up but had to bend awkwardly between the chair and the desk. "THEY WILL NOT SUCCEED!" He banged on his desk with each word. Sister Shuma discretely dodged a saliva projectile.

A moment of silence followed. Communard stood breathing heavily staring at Shuma and Shen Fai-Long. Bzzzzzzt. A small intercom sounded and Red Saviour's voice crackeled through: "Communard! What are you doing down there? Have you finished putting away the cleaning supplies?" Communard looked at the intercom in horror and wide eyed panic. He pushed the talk button and choked out a few words: "Yes comrade Commissar, I am finished now!" He turned to Shuma and Shen Fai-Long: "Dismissed! Comrades, you have your mission. The CCCP is counting on you!"