Excoriated

From the Story Arc: EMPhysical

Next Story in the Arc: Breaking the Chains by Krasnaya Zarya (Wednesday, October 12, 2005)

(posted Friday, September 30, 2005)

Communard: Comrade Untermensch demonstrates his wisdom once again. I, Communard, agree to supervise this safety demonstration. I will simply put a small puppy from the local shelter in the EMP chamber and ask comrade Chug to rescue it. On a related note, I am disappointed that our junior comrades did not volunteer for this treatment as soon as the order was promulgated.



Red Savior: Communard, sometimes I am having faith in you restored. You are correct to excoriate junior tovarischii for less than acceptable zeal. Please to create series of re-educational assignments to be required of every comrade with less than one month standing.

And please to note that all cans of peanuts are now to be allocated to my office. And onions.



Sasha sighed, closing his eyes against the flickering light of the computer screen. A small rhythmic pounding was developing behind those closed lids, and rubbing his temples did nothing to relieve the burgeoning pain. Not that it - or the ergotamine pills and lemon tea that his wife had placed in front of him - would have any chance of bringing him solace. These were power-related.

Twenty-four hours a day, 365.255 days a year, his irradiated body was busy working overtime, the mitochondria in his cells producing and breaking down more energy than biology knew what to do with. In time, this energy would build up to a point where the mortal coil would be unable to contain it, forcing it to be released with explosive results.

For the hero, Krasniy Zakat - “Red Sunset”, this was a great boon. Would-be criminals throughout the city found themselves on the receiving end of those blasts, taking them out of the crime business and into the license plate industry in a blink of an eye and a flick of the wrist.

For the man, Alexander Rabinovich, this was a terrible nightmare. Large build ups of energy led to headaches and neurological illnesses, and releasing the energy proved itself to be detrimental to his pocket book and the health of everyone around him (except for the people at Home Depot, who couldn't be happier).

With the excoriation notice of Communard, Krasniy Zakat was no more, and only Sasha remained, having already had a full week of headaches to interfere with his research. A small mind control device, with a bomb fail-safe, was implanted on a fellow member of the CCCP a short while ago, resulting in great confusion, murder of civilians, and the placing of a Hero into a coma. This device had been found and destroyed, but the damage was done. Now the CCCP had to find a way to deal with stealth threats like this – where any of their members could become a weapon against them.

There was only one solution put forward by the Commandants – regular, mandatory subjection of all members to an Electro-Magnetic Pulse, generated by Belladonna Aura, and supervised by Communard. The idea was for any similar device to be destroyed by these pulses, thus preventing any similar events from getting out of hand.

But sometimes the cure is worse than the disease...

Sasha was jolted out of his mental wandering by sudden darkness. He scowled lightly and wiggled the mouse, ending the screen saver and returning him to the spreadsheet of tests and results he had been examining.

Failed... Failed... Failed... Failed...

Every experiment has its flaws, and he had yet to find an examination technique that would – incontrovertibly – detect these threatening devices without the potential of harming the test subject.

“Drink your tea before it gets cold,” came the mezzo voice of his wife from behind his shoulder.

“Da... da...” he grumbled, taking a sip and closing his spreadsheet, leaving him to his email from Communard, causing him to grumble some more.

“Grumble, grumble?” she asked, mockingly.

“Yes. Grumble, grumble.”

“Get over it,” she commanded, placing her hands on his shoulder. “you'll solve this and we'll be back to our duties in no time.” She kissed the top of his head, glancing inside the mug. “But not if you die from headache, first. Drink your tea.”

“Yes, mother,” he replied and picked up the mug. A flick to the back of his head caused him to jump a bit, spilling the tea on his shirt and prompting an incredulous “Again?!” from his wife. He glared up at her, then sighed. “Perhaps I should appeal to Red Savior?”

“That'd make it worse, and you know it.” She turned and started to leave him to his work. “Especially with the mood swings pregnancy causes.”

“Red Savior is pregnant?!” He span around on chair, eyeing his wife, who tossed her arms in the air, muttering about the daftness of men. He blinked a moment, then span back to his computer screen, opening up a document to plan his next experiment.

“Huh. Pregnant.”