Goodbye: Part One

From the Story Arc: Battle Stations: Aftermath

Previous Story in the Arc: Bad News by Soviet Winter (Tuesday, April 18, 2006)

Next Story in the Arc: Goodbye: Part Two by Red Saviour (Sunday, April 23, 2006)

(posted Sunday, April 23, 2006)

Komrad Vex

The sun shone brightly despite the unusually thick smog that clung to the King’s Row skyline. Bright rays of hope illuminated the myriad reconstruction and clean up work in almost every neighborhood.

The work that had occupied the days and nights of every person who lived in the row since the council attack had progressed non-stop, except for this day. Today the cranes were still, the bull dozers and dump trucks sat idle, the hearts and minds of the residents of King’s Row were focused on an equally difficult task; saying goodbye.

In what had once been an overgrown empty lot across the street from the CCCP headquarters stood a congregation of people the likes of which hadn’t been seen since the garment workers strike of the 20’s.

Heroes, police, politicians, dignitaries and residents surrounded the six simple caskets set at the foot of a podium. The crimson field with the bright gold star; the flag of the CCCP hung draped over five of the caskets, over the last casket hung the flag of Paragon city.

King’s Row councilman David Benson stepped down from the podium after delivering a brief welcome to the gathered mourners and inviting anyone who wished to say anything to the podium.

Silence descended and muffled sobs and whispered words of comfort could be heard from the crowd. From amongst the ranks of the CCCP, standing proudly at the head of the gathering, Komrad Vex stepped forward and made his way to the podium.

He stood for a moment, looking at the sad faces and teary eyes of the people as they looked up at him, waiting to hear what he had to say.

“Friends…Allies….Comrades,

We come together today to mourn the loss of six brave heroes, to share the grief we all feel and, perhaps in that sharing, to find the strength to bear our sorrow and the courage to look for the seeds of hope.

Our loss is first a profound personal loss to the family and the friends and loved ones of our comrades. To those they have left behind - the mothers, the fathers, the husbands and wives, brothers, sisters - We stand beside you in your time of sorrow.

What we say today is only an inadequate expression of what we carry in our hearts. Words pale in the shadow of grief; they seem insufficient even to measure the brave sacrifice of those you loved and we so admired. Their truest testimony will not be in the words we speak, but in the way they led their lives and in the way they lost those lives - with dedication, honour and an unquenchable desire to protect this city we all call home.

The best we can do is remember our six comrades - our Heroes of the People - remember them as they lived, bringing life and love and joy to those who knew them and hope to a beleaguered city.

They came from all parts of world - from Russia to Asia to America. They were so different, yet in their mission, their quest, they held so much in common.

We remember Heavy Brother, Free Radical, Li Lung, Grandmaster Te, Iron Curtain and Commissar Mojiotok.

The sacrifice of our friends has shaken the heart of our city and, through the pain, we have been confronted by a profound truth - the future is not free, the quest for peace is a struggle against all odds. We learned again that this city was built on heroism and noble sacrifice. It was built by men and women like our six comrades, who answered a call beyond duty, who gave more than was expected or required, and who gave it with little thought for their own safety.”

Vex choked on his words for a moment and lowered his head. Slowly, he gathered himself again, wiping a tear from his cheek

“Although we have been knocked down, our bothers and sisters in arms taken from us, and the city we fight to protect scarred, we will not stop fighting for the people.

As a friend reminded me, we must never forget what our comrades lived for, what they died for. In the shadow of overwhelming adversity, let their memory be the light that guides us.”

Quietly, he stepped down from the podium and took his position among his comrades, vacating the podium for the next speaker.




Seraphic Flame

Seraphic Flame stepped up to the podium and looked silently down on the caskets.

"In my darkest hours, when everything I once had was lost but for duty, that duty took me on a mission with Heavy Brother. And he did the one thing I thought was impossible for me.

He made me smile again. He taught me how to have fun. He even made me laugh.

And that made me want to live again."




Belladonna Aura

Sera stepped down, and Bella took her place.

"The night I first accepted the job of Commissar, I couldn't sleep. I was having second, third thoughts about it. I didn't think I had it in me. I figured I would make a mess of it.

I went down to the soup kitchen for some coffee, and Doreen--you knew her as Free Radical--was there, just like always. The soup kitchen was her baby. It was the first thing in here after the beds, they tell me.

She brought me a cup and sat down with me. Just looked at me for a while. Then she said, 'Kid, Commissars come and Commissars go; they all screw up, and they all do pretty damn well in the end. You'll be just like the rest of 'em.' Then she stopped, and grinned, and said, 'Well maybe not just like 'em. Not too many CCCP Commissars are teenage boys' favorite...fantasies. If ya know what I mean.'"

Bella paused for the laughter, brief, startled out of the audience by its randy incongruity. She smiled a little.

"That was Free Radical. And that is how she would want to be remembered. And...after that, I felt all right about being a Commissar too."