Goodbye: Part Four

From the Story Arc: Battle Stations: Aftermath

Previous Story in the Arc: Goodbye: Part Three by Petrograd (Sunday, April 23, 2006)

Next Story in the Arc: Goodbye: Part Five by Gaia's Soldier (Sunday, April 23, 2006)

(posted Sunday, April 23, 2006)

Bestial Boy

A somber, spent Bestial Boy slowly made his way up the dais.

"Today I bury my comrades. I will not dishonor those I did not know well by presuming to speak of them, but no sacrifice shall be forgotten." He cleared his throat, looked for a moment to the sky, and then proceeded.

"Heavy Brother - Anthony, never again will I hear your call to battle, never again will hear the passion in your voice, never again will we shed blood together."

"Free Radical - your zeal for the people's cause was unequalled, and your comrades are forever lessened by your passing."

"Grandmaster Te - Your serenity of mind and calmness of spirit were a guide to us all. That guidance will continue now that you have moved beyond us."

Bestial Boy took a deep breath, gripping the podium with both hands. "Mojiotok - we shall..." He started to speak, but then shook his head. Beginning anew, he spoke simply.

"I will miss my friend. Dodsvedanya Mojiotok."

Looking into the eyes of his teammates, Bestial Boy stood up straight once again. "Vex is right, we will overcome, we will rebuild, we will not stop fighting for what we know to be right." He took another deep breath.

"But today is not that day. Today I bury my friends."

Soviet Bear

The Soviet Bear slowly limped to the podium, his face ashen and his eye slightly moist.

He cleared his throat and spoke: "Comrades. We gather here not to mourn the death of our comrades, but to celebrate their contributions to keeping our adopted homeland, Paragon City, free from the forces of darkness that threaten her daily.

"Throughout my many years, I have seen, and participated in, great injustices done to citizens of a state that they loved. Our fallen were fighters against such injustice, even Heavy Brother, who insisted that some individual was 'keeping him down' and that I was associated with some kulak named 'Whitey'.

"A person my age realizes that we are all unique individuals, but very few cannot be replaced. I am not saying that it will be easy, or pleasant, but the burden placed upon the shoulders of Paragon City's new heroes is the burden of responsibility, and they should wear that heavy mantle with pride and respect, so that when they too fall to injury, old age, or death, the next generation of heroes will step in to fill their places.

"At this very moment, my daughter, Bejouled, is patrolling Paragon City as a memorial to our fallen. I suggest that after today, we all consider doing the same. If we mourn, the Council has won.

"The CCCP will never be defeated, especially with the help of sturdy comrades."

Shen Lung

So many people had come to speak. All the time, Shen Lung had stayed quietly in the back of the crowd, not sure what she should say, or even if she should say anything at all.

Finally, without the fearless exuberance that had once been her trademark, she took her place in the line waiting to speak. The man supervising the line frowned at her.

"You are not CCCP," he began. Then someone who had been at the tram station whispered in his ear, and his eyes widened, and he quickly motioned to her to go up to the podium.

She had to stand on a box to reach the microphone. She looked down at the lecturn rather than the sea of eyes, foreign eyes, stranger's eyes.

"Li Lung was my brother," she said quietly, the microphone barely picking up her voice. "He was a good man...."

She faltered. She was supposed to give them a good memory. "When...when we first came here...we all felt...very lost. We weren't sure what to do, or where to go. But we helped someone who was surrounded by thugs, and when he said 'What can I ever do to repay you,' Li smiled and said 'You can tell us where to find places to stay!' The man was very surprised!"

At the soft chuckle, she looked up, and saw sad smiles, but--smiles.

"And, you see, the man did that. Li was like that. He never saw the difficulties, only that we would always find a way if we kept our hearts open. He always said, any time we were asked for help, we should give it, because when we asked for help someone would give it to us, and that we are all brothers of the earth. And that is why he was at the tram, why he and I came when you called."

She faltered again.

"And I will miss him forever," she finally said, and stepped down from the podium, then slipped away.