Part 3

From the Story Arc: Legacy of a Fallen Hero

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

Next Story in the Arc: Part 4 by October Star II (Friday, July 15, 2005)

(posted Wednesday, July 13, 2005)

The journal Alexei found was far more intriguing than he had imagined. The first few weeks were explaining how Vladimir trained to use the October Star suit. Alexei chuckled as he could see his jedushka struggling with the same controls he had, having the same initial problems he had. At nineteen Vladimir had been hand picked to operate the suit from a group of three hundred candidates. He was very proud of his choosing, and looked forward to working with other Soviet heroes.

After a few weeks of training, Vladimir was allowed to accompany CCCP teams on raids into Poland. The journal glowed with pride. He was not the warrior Mojotok was, but his healing aura kept civilians and soldiers alive against the assaults of the Nazis. The heroes he worked with appreciated his “stand back and watch” approach to fighting. He often called out targets, coordinating their attacks.

Althea rubbed Alexei’s shoulders as he hunched over, deep in concentration, reading th journal. “What do you wish to do after dinner, my love? Should we go patrol?” He grunted an approval. She strained to get a better look at the passage he was reading. Vladimir had made it a habit of sketching things he saw rather than describing them, as he was quite a talented artist. He appeared to have a preference for colored pencils. “What is he writing that has you ignoring me so?” She kissed his neck playfully.

He turned around, a grim look on his face. “This.” He turned the page back a few pages, and showed it to Althea.

Althea gasped. Without question, Vladimir had sketched a Paragon Protector. “How is that possible?”

Alexei turned back to the passage. “That is what I have been reading.” He turned back a few pages. “Here, look.”

Althea took the journal and began reading.

September 30th, 1940

I was paired up with a new recruit to the CCCP today. Nighthunter does not seem like a heroic name to me, but Piotr is set on it. He is very talented with the longbow. Mojotok said that Piotr was a member of the Olympic team in ’36.

October 2nd, 1940

Nighthunter and I were summoned to a weapons development facility near Poltava today. There is evidence of someone trying to break in. The lead engineer was very glad to see me. Apparently this is the facility where my armor was designed.

October 3rd, 1940

The CCCP suffered one of its first losses today. Nighthunter was killed by an agent on the grounds. Nighthunter mortally wounded her before he fell, and I was able to bring her down. The poison was too fast and his wounds too severe for my suit to heal him before he died.

We do not know who this woman was, but large thorny spike jutted from her body, spraying poison where they struck. She never spoke, and attacked as soon as we confronted her. Her uniform denoted no country, and we have no idea who sent her. Some of the materials are fantastic in their properties. The technicians here are looking at them.

Here was where the penciled drawing of the paragon protector was. Althea shook her head and continued.

October 5th, 1940

One of the guards reported a glow he briefly saw in the forest outside of the facility. I will use the cover of night to investigate.

The next two pages were torn out of the book. “Shto? Alexei, what happened? The next passage is dated in December!”

He nodded. “I know. I have been reading much after that. He makes a few odd references, but says nothing more on it directly.” His stomach grumbled.

Laughing, Althea kissed Alexei on the top of his head. “Alright my love, I will go get dinner. Perhaps we will speak to the others, see what they think.” She got up and went into the kitchen.

“I’ve mentioned it to a few I trust.” He closed the journal and placed it on the coffee table. “Most find it very disturbing.” He smelled the air. The roasted chicken smelled heavenly. “Let me go wash up.” He rose from the couch, and went into the bathroom.

Althea set the table, and laid out dinner. She waited patiently, but after a few minutes, she took a roll. “Alexei! Hurry up, dinner will get cold!” She felt odd, nervous. She waited a few more minutes and then went to the bathroom door. She could hear the water running. “Alexei, are you alright?” She knocked. “Alexei?” He still didn’t answer, so she knocked firmly. “Alexei!” No answer. She found the door to be locked as she tried to turn the handle. She got down on the floor, and looked under the jam. A quick gesture, and she evaporated into shadows, reappearing in the bathroom.

She stood up. The water was on, the bar of soap wet, but on the floor. A corner was dented, as if dropped. The door locked. With no windows, the only ways in and out were the vent in the ceiling, the floor vent for the central air, and the door.

He had disappeared without a sound.