From the Story Arc: Legacy

Previous Story in the Arc: Legacy, Part Four: Ascendance by Worker's Champion (Saturday, March 11, 2006)

Next Story in the Arc: End and Beginning by Red Saviour (Sunday, April 02, 2006)

(posted Thursday, March 16, 2006)

Mosca had leaked the news of Nat’s fall to Bella. At first, she had been horrified, then angry, then started for their apartment intending to give Nat a piece of her mind.

But she stopped herself halfway there, and set down on a rooftop.

This was not how you treated the Commissar of the CCCP. This was not, especially, how you treated the Commissar of the CCCP who had just experienced one of the most humiliating moments of her life.

Think, Bell. Use that empathy and that brain. Mosca has already convinced her not to patrol anymore so your work is already done on that front. So what can you do—

She looked down at the city street below. Somewhere down there, were all her comrades, doing their job, depending on the Commissars to stand between them and crap that kept them from doing their job. Crap like lack of cash. Paperwork. Bureaucrats both here and in Moscow. Idiot lawmak—

She blinked. That had always been Saviour’s job. Except…except although she was good at it, she’d always done it the hard way, through bullheadedness and force of will and shouting. And lately, it had been Zach and Bella, and to some extent, Comm and Unter who had been doing that. Unter on occasion, with the Russian part of the equation, Zach and Comm playing diplomat—and when he wasn’t being vain or nuts, Comm made a rather good diplomat, as he could be charming as all hell when he wanted to be—and Bella keeping the home hearth clean and tidy and using everything she had learned to streamline things, care for people, handle all the interpersonal stuff. Being doctor to the spirit as well as the body. Less and less, it had been Nat who was dealing with anything other than Moscow.

They hadn’t had a Moscow liason since Worker’s Champion. Moj was doing Politburo stuff. It would be good, very good, very very very good, if there was someone who really spoke “CCCP” and “Politburo” both standing in between the two. Someone who was friendly to the idea of a certain amount of CCCP independence.

And Nat…had been talking a lot about Moscow. About raising her baby there.

But am I ready for this—if she goes. If she puts Zach in charge, that really means me taking care of things here, unofficially if nothing else.

She took a deep breath and lifted her shields a little. Just enough to feel the Web, the web of her comrades, the connections, the net of safety that kept them all going.

If not now, then when? If not me, then who?

Time to step up to the plate.

Bella checked her PDA quickly. Yep—there—a supplement store not more than a block away. If they didn’t have prenatal vitamins, she’d eat her own mask. She dove down and dashed inside. She hadn’t yet ordered Nat on a regimen of supplements and this would make a good excuse for a visit to the apartment. And maybe a little talk.