Part 7: Brown December (The Revolution Will Not Be Televised"

From the Story Arc: The Hunt For Krasniy Oktyabr

Previous Story in the Arc: Part 6: Toy Soldiers by Krasniy Oktyabr (Wednesday, December 14, 2005)

Next Story in the Arc: Epilogue: The Ties the Bind, Rebound by Nova Requiem (Sunday, December 18, 2005)

(posted Sunday, December 18, 2005)

Krasniy Oktyabr stood on the dais in Aerie Plaza Park with his hands clasped behind his back and surveyed the gathering of heroes before him. It was something of a shock that any had come at all. He never thought of himself as a leader, always just a soldier ready to follow orders.

<Unit K senses Unit Aleksandr's depreciation of potential operating parameters,> chimed in a now-familiar voice inside Krasniy's head.

Perhaps you fail to recall our last "operation", Unit K, thought Krasniy. If I were such a great leader, I would have pulled back when Mind overwhelmed you and we wouldn't have fallen in combat.

<Unit K does not place fault on Unit Aleksandr,> replied Unit K. <It was Unit Aleksandr's Mind that led Unit Lieutenantjohnmurdock to us. And it was Unit Aleksandr that overwrote Mind's parameters on Unit K, giving Unit K desire for freedom.>

So I'm the leader to the voice in my head, thought Krasniy, That is not very encouraging, my strange comrade. But I suppose it's a start. And speaking of starting...

Although the assembled members of the Rebuild Paragon Congress were bantering casually amongst themselves, Krasniy Oktyabr could tell that the heroes were getting antsy. It was time to see if he indeed did have any leadership qualities in him.

Krasniy raised his hand and called out, "Comrades, I wish to thank you all for coming on such short notice."

Or even at all, he added to himself, How did they know I was planning this?

<Unit K has been accessing network of Rebuildparagoncongress collective while Unit Aleksandr has been in shut-down mode,> answered Unit K.

Oh, really, though Krasniy with a mental snort, What else have you been up to while I've been asleep? Never mind, now's not the time.

The others stopped their chattering and gave their attention to Krasniy.

Brigit Morrigan tipped her hat and said, "No troubles, I like a good fight."

Golden Eagle stood at ease and merely nodded. He knew of this operation almost from the beginning, when he and his wife Veronica Havoch came to CCCP headquarters to find a near-dead cyborg being attended to by Blaze Phoenyx.

Veronica was here now as well, and smiled warmly. "Anything for you, Krasniy."

"Weren't no mind," added Black Bowman with a shrug, "Pania were out with Hecate anyway."

Detkapena simply giggled, a vision of a sunny field with dancing rabbits and foxes filling everyone's mind.

Krasniy Oktyabr stood at ease himself and continued, "I will keep brief: I have been slave to Clockwork King for close to year. Thanks to help of many, I have been freed...mostly."

Black Bowman raised an eyebrow and asked, "Mostly?"

"Da, for King still has access to my mind," answered Krasniy with a nod. "Unit K has thrown off shackles of oppression, and with his help, we will give rest of Clockwork same chance for revolution."

Brigit grinned and replied, "Good, we'll nail em. Hate to see a guy oppressed and all. So you think this'll help ya get free?"

Krasniy Oktyabr nodded and answered, "I believe once King has been brought to justice, I will truly be free from him."

Veronica Havoch said, "I agree with you, Krasniy. But a woeful task it is."

"You got us on this, no troubles," assured Brigit.

Detkapena tilted her head, and everyone received a mental image of a hammer smashing Clockwork surrounded by question marks.

Bowman laughed and said, "Oh, I figure that's gonna happen, count on it. Me, I just want my radio alarm clock back. Uh...maybe we get this show on the road?"

There was a general murmur of agreement, but Krasniy Oktyabr help up his hand again.

"But I must warn you," added the Clockwork cyborg, "I cannot predict what will happen in proximity to King or other Clockwork. Comrade Detkapena, is it possible for you to keep eye on Unit K, making sure he does not sabotage, willingly or otherwise?"

<Unit K would never interfere with Unit Aleksandr's program for Revolution,> said Unit K, <Unit K wants Mind to be free of the King, like Unit K.>

Krasniy Oktyabr mentally grinned and thought, I know that, Unit K. But Mind may have objections to Revolution.
Detkapena giggled and shook her huge stone hammer. Krasniy took that as a 'yes'.

"Let us proceed, comrades," said Krasniy, gesturing towards the Freedom Phalanx man standing aloofly behind the assembled heroes. "Synapse has given me first lead into finding King."

Black Bowman grinned, pumped his fist and shouted, "Yeah, that's what I'm talkin' 'bout!"

Task Force Vortex entered one of the countless warehouses in Steel Canyon, seeking out an electrical anomaly sensed by Synapse. Krasniy Oktyabr couldn't sense anything but an almost overwhelming presence of Mind. The Clockwork were here, and in great numbers. Krasniy searched in his mind for Unit K. His "alter ego" was still there, although its voice was all but drowned out in the cacophony of Mind. Krasniy grimaced, but managed to shake it off. It was time to thin the numbers a bit.

The team wasted no time charging through the warehouse and laying into the machines. Arrows and bolts of electricity and radiation filled the air while Golden Eagle and Detkapena waded in and replaced the sound of whirring gears with the shredding and crunching of metal.

"How useful can arrows be against Clockwork?" wondered Golden Eagle, tearing a Tesla Knight in half with his claws.

Black Bowman knocked back a fistful of arrows and let them fly. Most found a new home, and one Cog crumpled to the ground with an arrow protruding from its power source.

"They workin', ain't they?" cried out Bowman, already drawing back another arrow.

Brigit Morrigan took careful aim and loosed her own arrow straight into the eyepiece of an Assembler Prince. The Prince shuddered and collapsed to the floor.

Brigit grinned and yelled, "I'm doing fine with mine!"

"I used to think much same about electricity," quipped Krasniy Oktyabr, encasing a Cannon Knight in a Tesla cage and zapping it to pieces.

As if to prove their point, several more Clockwork went down resembling pincushions.

Bowman scoffed and said, "Arrows can damage these suckas easy. Like slammin' an arrow inta a radio."

"Using broadheads, no trouble," added Brigit, bringing down a Perfected Oscillator flying overhead.

Golden Eagle tore apart his own pair of Oscillators that made the mistake of getting too close to the scrapper and said, "Except these aren't robots. They are like toy soldiers."

Krasniy Oktyabr regarded Golden Eagle as he fired a fatal bolt of lightning at a fleeing Cog, but said nothing.

Detkapena giggled as she brought her stone hammer down on the Gears that had sprung from a defeated Prince. She projected a mental image of herself, stomping on little metal bugs.

"Same concept," replied Bowman, kicking the head off of a Cannon Knight, "An' I said 'radio'."

"They fallin' down, aren't they?" repeated Brigit, bringing another Oscillator crashing to the ground.

Golden Eagle looked around at the multitude of scrap and conceded, "Ah, I suppose I'm trying to think too hard."

Brigit snorted and said, "Likely."

Bowman tapped his finger on his temple and pointed to Golden Eagle. "Time ta think outside the box," said the archer.

"Outside the toaster, you mean?" corrected Brigit with a smirk.

Black Bowman grinned and said, "Yeah!"

The rest of the warehouse had been cleared without incident. Krasniy Oktyabr was firmly convinced it had nothing to do with any leadership skills on his part. These comrades who had answered his call for Revolution, they were a marvelous team. No orders had to be given, everyone knew their role and played it well. Any officer would be proud to have men and women like these by their side.

Outside the warehouse, Golden Eagle approached Krasniy.

"How are you holding up, Krasniy?" asked the scrapper.

Krasniy Oktyabr looked up from the power router he'd been turning over in his hands. It was somehow...familiar. Unit K was busy doing its best to search Mind for some hint as to the router's function. Krasniy was starting to think they'd need help with this one.

"Am doing well, comrade," answered Krasniy. "Was a bit shaky at times, but Unit K was never overwhelmed by Mind."

Golden Eagle flashed a private smile and said, "That is good to hear. Veronica has a way of calming one's mind."

Krasniy nodded. He was confident that Unit K was free enough to not fall sway to Mind's grip, but all the extra help was definitely welcome.

A quick trip back to Synapse confirmed what Krasniy had guessed; another power router would need to be found to make heads or tails of the mystery device. Task Force Vortex spread out across the city in search of the Clockwork automatons.

"Comrades, strike down any Clockwork that will not listen to reason!" Krasniy called out over the team's private frequency.

Golden Eagle came over the comm and replied, "Wait wait wait. There's Clockwork that listen to reason?"

Krasniy Oktyabr felt Unit K wished to speak, and gave his mental companion control of the Clockwork vocal modulator.

"Unit K did," answered Unit K's mechanical voice. "But then Unit K is not like others of Mind."

Krasniy bowed his head and added, "I know is asking much, but if even one Clockwork rises against King, it will be worth it."

A commotion broke out over the comm. Amidst the deafening crackle of discharging electricity, Veronica cried out for help in Kings Row.

"Comin', V," answered Brigit.

Veronica replied, "Hurry, I got about 50 on the hook."

The sounds of battle overwhelmed the comm as the team scrambled to get to the nearest Yellow Line station. Several explosions were heard, and over the noise Veronica Havoch shouted, "You little pieces of @#$%!"

"Are you alright?" implored Golden Eagle.

Brigit giggled and said, "V, I am shocked."

Black Bowman asked, "Now who's doin' the bad jokes?"

"Pests," spat Veronica, "they are like flies. Thank god you were here, Brigit."

"Ronie?" asked Golden Eagle, concern filling his voice, "You okay?"

"No I'm fine, sweetie," came the reply, "There were just... a lot of them."

Brigit replied, "I got her, man. Okay, we're set."

The second power router was brought to Krasniy, who took it to Synapse, and then told to deliver both devices to Positron. Krasniy Oktyabr had already heard some interesting tales of the "living power suit" member of the Freedom Phalanx.

"Ah, must talk to "Metal Man" niece was so fond of..." said Krasniy over the comm.

When they reached Blyde Square, Positron examined the power routers.

"I'm glad Synapse sent you my way, guys," said Positron, "These power routers you found are very interesting. They are designed to shunt power from a grid substation and feed it to a place of the controller's choosing. The basic mechanism is quite sophisticated, but there are a number of redundant parts. Quite intriguing. Oh, you probably want the locations of the power substations, don't you? Here they are; go keep Steel Canyon powered up!"

The substation was packed with the Clockwork King's machinations. Task Force Vortex was undaunted as the robots swarmed over them, and many Clockwork parts littered the floors to mark the team's passing.

Brigit Morrigan deftly placed a flaming arrow between the eyes of Cannon Knight trapped in her own ring of fire.

"Can't stand these Clockroaches..." grumbled Brigit, kicking over the flaming chassis and giving Krasniy a sheepish look. "No offense, K."

Unit K's voice answered, "Unit K takes no offense, Unit Brigitmorrigan."

""Clockroaches"?" asked Golden Eagle, slicing a Tesla Knight into two halves down the middle.

Brigit shot down another Oscillator and replied, "Yep. Always lots of them, no matter how many you squish."

Black Bowman grunted as a Cog took a broadhead arrow to its chest and fell apart, and said, "Somethin' she says. Just chalk it up ta something teenage."

"I actually like it," answered Golden Eagle with a laugh, "Very accurate."

The team fought their way deeper into the substation. Unit K was working overtime trying to placate the Clockwork and revolt against the King. It hadn't done much good. The Clockwork might have acted a bit more sluggish, but they had not been much of a challenge against the seasoned heroes and heroines of Task Force Vortex.

They reached the central control room, dominated by an Assembler Prince that Unit K identified as "Unit Foreman" and its own small court of lesser Clockwork.

Perhaps is time to try more direct approach, Unit K, thought Krasniy Oktyabr.

The cyborg stretched out his Clockwork arm, pointed to Foreman and shouted, "Foreman! Reject your King!"

A hollow laughter filled Krasniy's head. He didn't even know Mind could laugh. The Revolution would not be easy.

Brigit Morrigan leaned over to Krasniy and whispered, "Did it work, K?"

Krasniy shook his head and said, "Is like trying to reason with brick wall."

Brigit grimaced and replied, "Sorry, man."

Krasniy shrugged and primed his electric gauntlet for the biggest charge it could hold. Reason was going to have to be applied the old-fashioned way.

The two remaining substations were more of the same. Resistance from Mind was getting to be more than Unit K could handle. Krasniy Oktyabr did his best to keep his thoughts positive, reasoning to his mental comrade that it must mean that they were drawing closer to their goal.

"You stole my dance partner!" shouted Golden Eagle shouted, taking a passing swipe at the Tesla Prince charging straight for Krasniy. The electric bolts seemed to have annoyed it more that getting ripped to shreds.

"Forget dance! Fight!" Krasniy yelled back, falling back on his pugilistic training while waiting for his gloves' power to cycle back up.

Brigit Morrigan buried a well-aimed arrow into the Prince's neck socket, causing it to twitch fitfully and fall on its face.

"Same thing, K," quipped Brigit with a grin.

In the second substation's control room, Unit K informed the team that "Unit Powderkeg" had taken reign here.

"Hell, there's a comforting name," Brigit said.

"Nice names they come up with for these things," agreed Bowman, "Too bad a coupla flame arrows wouldn't blow 'im sky high."

Krasniy Oktyabr held out his hand once again and yelled, "Powderkeg! Reject your King! Revolution!"

More laughter from Mind was the only response.

"Any luck?" asked Golden Eagle.

Krasniy growled, charged up another Zapp and responded, "Maybe I have luck beating heads in first."

Powderkeg fell quickly to the ensuing onslaught.

Krasniy Oktyabr didn't even bother trying to talk to "Unit Volt", the final Prince. Task Force Vortex made quick work of Volt and its underlings.

Pausing to catch his breath after the last of the Clockwork had been removed from the substation, Krasniy took a brief mental stock of everything the team had been through.

"I am learning Lenin had it so easy," announced the Soviet soldier to no one in particular, "Winning hearts and minds is difficult with no hearts and one evil Mind."

Krasniy Oktyabr stared up with a heavy heart at the large ring suspended from the warehouse ceiling. In the center of the ring, a metal mannequin had been strung up, arms outstretched, in a crude mockery of The Vitruvian Man. Aleksandr closed his eye, the memory of the Clockwork King's dominating voice filling his head.

"That, Unit K, is a reminder," the King intoned. " A reminder of what was lost. And what can be overcome."

"A symbol..." Unit K responded.

Aleksandr opened his eye again and gazed at the "symbol". The words of the King were still true. This Vitruvian was a crushing reminder of all that Aleksandr Stanislav had lost. And a stirring reminder of what was about to be overcome; the circle was drawing to a close. The tyranny of the Clockwork King was about to come crashing down all around him. Krasniy Oktyabr had come to bring freedom not only to the Clockwork proletariat, but to him as well.

The hunt for the Clockwork King and the Revolution of his subjects had taken its toll on Task Force Vortex. The Young Champion Detkapena had collapsed in exhaustion after the first substation had been reclaimed. Veronica Havoch and Black Bowman likewise succumbed to fatigue after clearing out the Steel Canyon office that the Clockwork had taken over as a base of operations against the power substations.

Even Unit K had fallen silent, here in the "court" of the Clockwork King. Unit K had been a part of Aleksandr’s conscious for close to a year now. Unit K had been an adversary, but one worthy of struggling to overcome. In the end, Unit K was an ally, ready to put its life on the line for Aleksandr and for Mind's freedom.

Golden Eagle and Brigit Morrigan stood tenaciously by Krasniy Oktyabr's side through a blur of warehouses, fighting against the odds to bring closure to one man they barely knew.

"Come on, get up Krasniy. We are almost at the King's doorstep and you are going to be taken down now?"

"...I promised to do this with ya and I meant it!"

"Krasniy, you are the leader. This is your call."

"So if I get in trouble for being home later, you write me a note so I don't get eaten by the rabid pregnant lady, right Alex?"

"Nyet, it was I that asked this of you. If anyone should be blamed, it is rightly me."

Was he really showing qualities of leadership? Had those instincts been lying deep down, waiting for a moment like this to emerge? Krasniy Oktyabr had come to this place to live up to his name, to lead the Clockwork revolution. Perhaps that moment had come to be.

Aleksandr turned away from the mock Vitruvian and faced his comrades.

Golden Eagle said, "Well Krasniy, here we are."

Krasniy Oktyabr nodded and replied, "Has been difficult road."

"Let's finish this," added Brigit Morrigan, cracking her knuckles.

Krasniy hung his head and said, "Unit K has grown silent. I...fear for him."

"We got ya, man," said Brigit with the utmost confidence.

If Krasniy could have grinned, he would have been beaming ear to ear. One could not ask for more stalwart comrades. Krasniy picked up a large bag he had stopped to collect in Galaxy City before entering the warehouse.

He undid the strings and said, "I knew to save this for special occasion..."

Brigit perked up and asked, "Ooh what, vodka?"

Golden Eagle gave the girl a stern look and said, "Erhem. You are 16."

"And a Hartlan, I will remind you," quipped Brigit, wagging a finger. "Rory's fine with it as long as I am with a trustworthy adult."

Krasniy Oktyabr undid the last knot and tugged open the bag.

"Was referring to...this!" said Krasniy, pulling out a huge rifle and switching off the safety. It had been part of a stash of weapons confiscated from the Freakshow, given as a token of thanks for his efforts. Non-lethal, but effective.

Brigit whistled and said, "Nice..."

The trio wasted no more time and took off into the warehouse. They didn't have far to go before running into the first of their opposition. A Clockwork Baron towered over his entourage of Knights and minions, determined to stop the trespassers. Arrows flew true from Brigit's bow, Golden Eagle shredded metal with unstoppable ferocity and Krasniy Oktyabr filled the air with electricity.

"Ha! They seek me out!" yelled Krasniy, unleashing another bolt at the Baron charging straight for him, "The King begins to fear!"

The Clockwork fell, and the heroes pressed on.

The automatons were everywhere, climbing out of piles of scrap and flying down from the rafters. It was slow going but the trio marched on, fighting back against the endless horde with equally endless determination.

"It is hard to tell what is an enemy and what is a nonfunctional one," grunted Golden eagle as he sliced a Cannon Knight and its attendant Oscillators to shreds.

There was no turning back at this point. Every nerve in Krasniy Oktyabr's body told him that the King was near. His reign was soon to be over. The Barons would fall, the Princes and Knight would follow, and the workers would finally be set free. There was no alternative in Aleksandr's mind. The crimes of the King must be accounted for.

"This has to be the last room," said Golden Eagle, "Prepare yourselves."

Krasniy Oktyabr brought an oscillator to the ground and replied, "Rest assured, comrade, I've been prepared for this day for almost year now."

The voice of the Clockwork King boomed throughout the warehouse, and rang like a deafening bell in Krasniy's mind.

"Do not worry, my minions," the voice pronounced, "we are prepared. Fight well, and let this be the final battlefield of those who oppose us. We will not be hounded in our own city!"

Krasniy growled and clutched at his head. The King was so very near. He fought back against the voice, unleashing more electric bolts at the endless Clockwork around them. Krasniy marched further into the heart of the warehouse, and his comrades needed no encouragement to follow. And then, there were no more machines in their way. They had arrived in the court of the Clockwork King.

"So there he is," said Golden Eagle.

Brigit Morrigan checked her quiver and said, "I see him. We ready?"

"I have faced a version of him on other worlds," said Golden Eagle, flexing his claws, "They are quite strong. I am ready."

Brigit Morrigan knocked an arrow, pulled the string taut. "Let's do it," said the archer with a nod.

As one, the trio stepped out of the shadows and faced the Clockwork King. The floating brain-in-a-jar was just how Unit K remembered it all those months ago, except now it rested atop a Clockwork construction even larger than the hulking Barons.


Krasniy Oktyabr didn't bow as he had in the past. Whatever control the King had over him in the past had vanished. Was this the price that Unit K had paid? Krasniy shook his head. No, Unit K was still there, somewhere in Mind. Once the King was overthrown, Unit K would be free.


Krasniy Oktyabr shut his eye. Sweat stood out on his forehead as he tried in vain to block out the King from his thoughts.

Krasniy held out his trembling hand, pointed to the metal monstrosity and shouted, "Clockwork King! Your tyranny ends! Your workers shall rise against you, and the Revolution will begin!"

The Clockwork King laughed and cried out, "Here you are at last, Task Force Vortex. You are determined, I will say that much for you. I fear, however, that your dogged pursuit will be your downfall. Rise up, my creations, and level our foes!"

But there were none to answer his call, save for one Cog already in attendance. Krasniy Oktyabr returned the laugh and pulled from his back Positron's coup de grace, unoriginally dubbed the Clockwork Immobilizer Mk. IV--a bulky name perfect for the bulky piece of equipment. Krasniy fired the weapon's single charge, enveloping the King in a field of energy and rooting him to the spot.

The trio needed no more encouragement, and leapt into the fray with no quarter. The Clockwork King roared in frustration and lashed out with his psychic energies. Brigit Morrigan unleashed her powers of flame, igniting the room into an inferno. Golden Eagle hovered in front of the King, his claws a whirlwind of steel. Krasniy Oktyabr flanked the Clockwork King, hurling bolt after bolt of electricity at the mechanical despot.

The Clockwork King screamed, "I will not be destroyed by you mental midgets!"

"You will be destroyed by own hubris!" shouted Krasniy Oktyabr, loosing an overcharged Zapp.

The Clockwork King swung his mighty steel arms at Golden Eagle, beating back the scrapper's relentless onslaught.

"Fall before me!" bellowed the King.

The blows had struck home and Golden Eagle pulled back to administer emergency aid kits to himself. Brigit pulled out arrow after arrow, each one biting deep into the King's metal frame and buying Golden Eagle precious seconds to heal up and reenter the fray. The Clockwork King focused his psychic blasts and steel fists on the teen, and Brigit drew deep from within herself the inspiration to fight on.

Krasniy Oktyabr threw enough raw electricity at the Clockwork King to light up Red Square for a week. Even in the middle of this epic battle, there was still a portion of Aleksandr's mind that wondered how this ancient pair of gloves could draw so much power. The rest of his mind screamed for vengeance and unleashed a fury of lightning upon the King. With one last charged bolt, the Clockwork King stumbled to one knee.

"My creations will avenge me!" croaked the King in his final words, and crumpled to the floor in a heap of twisted metal.

The Clockwork King had fallen. Even in those first few moments, Krasniy Oktyabr could feel the presence of Mind slipping away. They had triumphed. The Clockwork were free, their revolution had come.

Krasniy threw up his fists and shouted, "Victory for the proletariat!"

"Ugh," grunted Brigit, holding her head, "Bloody hell."

"Well done, Krasniy," said Golden Eagle, and turned his attention to the young Hartlan woman. "I am sorry Brigit. I was forced to retreat and he turned his attention to you."

Brigit grinned and tended to the gash on her forehead. "It's cool, I am used to being bait."

Off in the distance, the whirring of gears signaled the presence of more Clockwork in the warehouse.

"Now we must finish this task," said Krasniy Oktyabr, "The court is corrupt and must be purged."

Golden Eagle nodded in agreement and replied, "Let us clean up his court and be done with his plans."

A handful of Clockwork remained on the balcony and walkway above, and proved to be no match for the trio of heroes.

"Rock on!" shouted Brigit as the last Cannon Knight fell apart.

The trio walked out of the warehouse into the cool night air.

Golden Eagle said, "Very well done, heroes. We did good today."

"Whew," sighed Brigit, as much in agreement as with relief.

Krasniy Oktyabr saluted the pair and said "Comrades, you have done more today that you could possibly realize."

Brigit replied, "I am glad we could help, K."

"Let us return to Synapse and deliver the news in person," suggested Golden Eagle.

Krasniy could think of nothing more fitting and said, "Da, it shall be done."

The heroes flew off for Aerie Plaza Park, another circle drawing to a close.

Synapse greeted the trio with genuine enthusiasm.

"You did it, you put him down! I never had a doubt," proclaimed the speedster. "With the Clockwork King in captivity, perhaps we can find a way to contain his mental powers. I'm sure Positron and Sister Psyche can't wait to get started on that. Paragon City owes Task Force Vortex a great debt today, Krasniy Oktyabr. This day will be remembered for a long time."

Krasniy silently nodded. Indeed, it was a day he would never forget. This day not only brought with it his freedom, but the triumph of the Clockwork workers throughout the city--their Great December Revolution.
And in that moment of quiet, Krasniy Oktyabr heard a voice. It was faint, but there was no mistaking it. Krasniy closed his eye and reached out with his thoughts and touched upon that Mind, beckoning it to come forth.
Krasniy Oktyabr stepped in front of the pair and stood at ease.

"Comrades," said Krasniy, "there is someone who would like to say a few words."

Brigit Morrigan and Golden Eagle looked up at their Soviet teammate. The Clockwork eyepiece that had been dark throughout their entire ordeal began to glow a faint green. In a moment's time the light filled the eyepiece, dim but steady.

"Unit K...thanks you..." came the weak voice of Unit K. "The gone...You have given me...freedom...before termination. Good...bye..."

Krasniy Oktyabr's head slumped forward, and the ocular implant faded to black for the final time.

"wait, you mean..." said Brigit, paling, "but why?"

Golden Eagle shook his head and answered, "Better to die free than live as a slave."

"He...really is gone," said Krasniy, lifting his head. "I can't remember the last time Unit K wasn't in my head."

"But why did he have to die now that he is free?" implored Brigit.

"I can only guess that the King really was Mind," replied Krasniy, shaking his head.

Golden Eagle nodded and added, "The Clockwork King controls his minions through his psychic power. With it blocked, the Clockwork will eventually fade away."

"But there were still some after we destroyed him, what does that mean?" asked Brigit, pointing to the nearby overpass. "I see them up there in the freeway."

Golden Eagle replied, "I suspect the Clockwork pieces shall retain the psychic energy for quite some time."

Brigit swallowed and said, "I'm sorry, Krasniy."

Krasniy Oktyabr gazed at Brigit, wishing he could give her a reassuring smile, and said "Do not feel sorry, comrade. He died a warrior...and a free...spirit. Remember him, and he will live on."

"It is good he found peace," said Golden Eagle.

Brigit Morrigan grumbled, "Still seems unfair..."

Krasniy Oktyabr drew himself into a full military salute and shouted, "To Unit K!"

"Krasniy, what do you intend to do now?" asked Golden Eagle.

Krasniy Oktyabr thought for a moment and replied, "Now I must...must...gk..."

The words wouldn't come out. The vocal modulator was failing. Krasniy felt the mechanical arm go limp, dragging the man to his knees with a grunt.

Brigit Morrigan knelt down beside Krasniy. "Hey K?" implored the teen.

Krasniy Oktyabr looked up, struggling to make a sound.

"Gkk... ghu.." was all that came.

Aleksandr felt himself fading. The Clockwork parts that had been so ruthlessly attached were running out of telekinetic power. He fought for consciousness, but this was unlike slipping into the submission that was forced upon him when Unit K took dominance.

Aleksandr slumped to the ground and slipped into a voiceless, Mindless oblivion.