The Final Chapter

From the Story Arc: Legacy of a Fallen Hero

Previous Story in the Arc: The Wake of the Storm by Althea Nagy (Saturday, October 01, 2005)

(posted Sunday, October 02, 2005)

Shyft checked the screens a third time. Numbers were all holding within tolerances. Readings were coming back as she expected. The Portal Corporation techs stood around her in the booth, looking both excited and apprehensive. If this worked, time travel would be a reality…

If they only knew. Shyft had been looking at a second runoff numbers. It *was* possible, but some of the theories of time travel were correct., at least by using this means. Travel this way was not safe. Changes to the past would cause ripples, and could change the future. Alexei disappearing was an example of that. He simply ceased to be.

She stepped away from the configuration console. “It will be a few minutes gentlemen. I need to speak to the subject.” She swept from the control booth, her hands jammed into her lab coat. How could she tell Soyuz that she couldn’t go back? She would cause irreparable damage. If she and Vlada were together, Alexei would still not be born. It was unthinkable. As a scientist, she could not let it happen.

She opened the door to the unused office, where Vlada and Soyuz sat. Vlada was in his October Star costume, but Soyuz sat in a simple white hospital gown. Seeing the confusion on Shyft’s face, Soyuz explained. “We will tell his superior he found me in the facility he destroyed, tell them the villains there had captured me and done experiments to give me my powers.” Soyuz squeezed Star’s hand. “We will tell them he rescued me.”

Shyft rubbed the back of her neck uncomfortably. “Soyuz…I…”

Vlada rose and handed Shyft a book, open to s page of black and white pictures. “Just look.”

On the opposite page, was a picture, annotated Red Torch and October Star, circa 1943.

Bozshe moi! It is…”

“Da.” Vlada stood and a very serious look crossed has face. “CeCe, I have a favor to ask you.”

“Anything.”

“Give a message to Alexei and Thea for me. Tell them all will be explained. The answers lie behind Alexei’s namesake.”

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On Peregrine Island, a young couple stepped through the portal.

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In a field near Poltava, Ukraine S.S.R., in 1940, a young couple appeared in the wreckage of a Crey installation.

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In the darkened bathroom of an apartment in Galaxy City, Alexei Nikolski stood, wondering why it was dark and where the soap he was just washing his hands with went.

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In a control booth at the Portal Corporation, Cerenje Wolkoff, the Senior Science Officer of the CCCP, also known as the hero :”Shyft” hit the red button on the system she manned. A full system purge would ensue. There would be no proof she had flung someone through time. There would be no proof one could alter the past to affect the future. Time travel would be a thing of science fiction. “It is safer this way.” She smiled. Her victory was known to herself and her closest friends, and to a scientist like herself, that was all that mattered.

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Hours passed. Reunions were made. Reports were filed. Homecomings were celebrated.

Alexei and Althea lay in their bed, wrapped in a tangle of their linens. Her head sat resting contentedly on his chest, her arms tightly wrapped around Alexei. “Two horrible months. I was so sick of worry that I would never see you again.”

His head turned and he kissed her forehead. “It is done. I am here.” One arm was draped around her shoulders while the other flipped through the small album that had been in the case. “My namesake he said, da?” Thea nodded. He turned the walled sized album to the very middle. There was a black-framed picture of a handsome man who looked very much like both Alexei and Vlada. “Jedushka Vlada’s brother, Alexei. When he did not get chosen for the October Star project, he became a pilot. He was one of the Soviet Union’s top aces in the war.”

“What happened to him?”

“He was shot down in 1944, while escorting a bombing run.” Alexei sighed. “When he was captured, he was taken to a POW camp. American marines arrived at the camp, but not in time to stop the slaughter. The Nazis were on the run and had just started executing prisoners rather than face the accusations of what they had done. Jedushka was buried with his dogtags.” He lifted the leather flap and pulled out the picture. Behind it were the missing pages of the journal, as well as a folded page torn from the book Red Glory: The Story of the World's Greatest Communist Supergroup by Yvegeny Karatov.

In October of 1940, the CCCP suffered its first loss. On a patrol near the Poltava Weapons development facility, October Star and Nighthunter found a small outpost that most attribute to the Tzarist, during one of his frequent attempts to overthrow the Soviet government. Piotr Gorovinski, Olympic athlete and archer, who had taken the code name of Nighthunter was slain by the security forces there. October Star was able to destroy the facility. In doing so he was granted the rank of captain. Also notably, he rescued Natalchka Sudoborich, who had been a prisoner there. Altered to be a human inferno by the Tzarist, she took the name Red Torch. and joined the CCCP. The rescue blossomed into a romance. Red Torch and October Star were married in 1942 in a highly publicized state wedding that was used to promote morale, and was presided over by Premier Stalin himself.

Red Torch retired after the war, but still assisted her husband from time to time. In 1972 she passed away from heart failure, attributed to the process that gave her the powers she wielded.


Alexei and Thea laughed and cried together as they read the journal. Sister Soyuz had taken the birthname of her grandmother’s sister, who had died in late 1939 of consumption. By the end of the war, nobody would have questioned a hero of the people. It was how it was supposed to happen. Sister Soyuz had been Alexei’s grandmother. She had returned to the USSR of 1940 and joined the CCCP. They had lived long happy lives together. In time, the trip to the future was nearly forgotten. Nearly.

Along with the old folded papers, was a piece of notebook paper, much newer than the rest. A hand written note, taped shut and addressed to Alexei sat alone from the rest. The lovers looked at each other and opened it.

April 24th, 1986

Alexei,

Today I am packing a few things in my case for you. Things you will not find for twenty years, but it will be of great import when you do. You have many questions and wonder a great many things. I wish I could answer them all.

It is not so.

Tomorrow my Ukraine will suffer a horrible disaster, and I will put my suit on one last time. I will save many people. I will suffer the effects of radiation poisoning for nearly two weeks before I die. It will be a long painful death, one I would not wish on any being.

But I will go. Because I must.

You and I have an interesting bond that I could never explain while I was still alive. I could only simply hold you close and cherish our time together.

You learned to be a hero by learning from me. I learned to be a hero from learning about you. I am proud of you in ways no man can ever express with words. You are more than my grandson. You are more than my legacy. You are October Star. You are everything October Star stands for. For all I did in the world, for all I was honored by, there is one thing I am more proud of than it all, and that is you and the man you have become.

Tomorrow I will go to my death, knowing the world will have another October Star. Another hero worthy of being October Star. Knowing this, no man can regret his own death. Soon I will be reunited with my beloved Natalchka. These old bones miss her horribly.

Thea, take care of my boy. I know he will take care of you.

My love and respect is with you always,

Vlada