An early night

From the Story Arc: Rebirth

Previous Story in the Arc: Awakening (extended) by Krasnaya Zvezda (Thursday, May 04, 2006)

Next Story in the Arc: Finding the truth by Krasnaya Zvezda (Thursday, May 04, 2006)

(posted Thursday, May 04, 2006)

Belladonna Aura was just finishing what had been the latest in a long line of busy days.

On this particular one, she seemed to have spent most of her time arguing with the insurance company about their assessors report on the CCCP headquarters. Their initial stance was that, as a fair amount of the damage had been done during the retaking of the headquarters, the company should have to pay out. The assessor mentioned some rubbish about ‘lack of attempted mediation’ and ‘inappropriate use of force’. In the end, it had taken a phone call threatening to hold a face to face meeting at their Head Office, where she and the other commissars could discuss the ‘appropriate uses of force’ to resolve the issue satisfactorily. Still, with that out of the way, she now only had about 99 other things to worry about, most of which it seemed only she could deal with.

She had hoped that maybe, just maybe, her desk could remain relatively free of paper whilst they were out of the HQ. But it seemed no sooner had she announced the temporary offices than her desk became covered in the stuff.
There were numerous requests for interviews, copies of police reports, repair bills, letters from well-wishers, as well as the usual status reports and requisitions.

Enough, it could wait until tomorrow, she needed to rest.

She was just heading out, when her comm unit notified her of an incoming call on her private channel. It was from one of the newer members, Krasnaya Zvezda. She recalled he’d been injured in the battle and that there was a request, somewhere on her desk, for him to return to the hospital and sign the required release waivers.

She was tempted to just ignore it, she could do with some sleep for a change, but she was still showing as on duty, and being a commissar as well… She opened the channel. “Evening Krasnaya. I was just about to go off duty, what’s up?”

“Commissar. I am sorry to interrupt you, but I need to speak with you. Would you be able to meet with me?” Krasnaya’s voice come over the comm, he sounded nervous and, different somehow.

“Are you alright?”

“Yes commissar. I just have to.. I need to speak with you about an incident, about me. If it is a bad time…”

“It’s after 10pm and I’ve been on duty for well over 14 hours, why would you possibly think it was a bad time?” was what she wanted to say, but settled for, “Come on up, then.”

“Would you be able to meet me outside? I would prefer if we could talk in private.”

Outside? Maybe it was personal but still, Well, I could use the fresh air and if there was trouble it would be safer, I am not having another conversation with that insurance company! She sighed, “I’m on my way down.”

After the call had ended, she placed another one to Zach. “I’ve just got to head downstairs and meet with Krasnaya Zvezda. I’m probably just tired, but something just didn’t seem right with him. If I don’t call back within 5 minutes, come looking for me.”
“Want me to tag along? I’ve just got to get some boots on.”

“No, I’ll be fine. I’ll call you soon.”

She started downstairs.

Red Star finished the call and waited. She was sat by a pool of water, looking at the fish as they floated around, with the moon reflecting off the water. It was a lovely night and she did enjoy the night time. Krasnaya always found it peaceful, flying high in the air, close to the stars. Red Star wished she could be flying now, instead of waiting for what would be a very uncomfortable conversation. It may even be a dangerous conversation, depending on how Belladonna reacted.

She’d flown around the city again for another couple of hours, attempting to work out what to say and to relax enough to say it. She still wasn’t sure but had a basic idea, which wasn’t in much more than the “hello” stage. Still, at least she’d come up with something better than, “Hi there, I’m Red Star and I think I may have just destroyed the person you knew as Krasnaya Zvezda. Any chance you could help me check?”

Red Star still wasn’t sure she was doing to right thing, and was half tempted just to fly off and lose herself in the heavens. But she fought to silence that part of her, this was something that must be done, for Alexander as much as her.

Red Star stared up at the night sky and waited.

Belladonna pushed open the doors, left the brightly lit foyer of the apartment block and cursed. Damn Hellions, they’ve smashed those lights out, again. Making a mental note to get a volunteer to teach some Hellions about civic responsibility and why they shouldn’t break local amenities near her building, Belladonna had a quick look around. It was darker than normal but Krasnaya Zvezda, sitting by one of the ponds, was well lit by the light of the moon. This made her pause for a second while she lowered her mental barriers to make sure there was no-one else around. Must be getting suspicious in my old age, but better to be safe... Satisfied they were indeed alone, she walked towards Krasnaya Zvezda.

Standing up, he saluted. “Commissar.”

“Krasnaya. It’s getting late, what can I do for you?”

Still standing at attention, his eyes focused over her shoulder, he began what was obviously a rehearsed speech. “Commissar, as you know I was hurt during the battle with the council. When I awoke, I was not the same as when you knew me before. I.. It appears that I have.. that the part of me that is Alexander is dead and the Krasnaya that you knew is.. gone. I am Red Star once more.”

“Dead? Gone? What do you mean?” Was this some clone? A clumsy attempt at inserting a spy? Whilst this did feel a bit like the Krasnaya she remembered, though more uncomfortable, frightened even; and she couldn’t feel any duplicity in him, his story wasn’t making much sense to her. Belladonna cursed silently, this could take a while. So much for an early night.. She pulled out her comm, “Sorry, just give me a second,” and started a call to Zach “Hi babe. I’ll be back up shortly, No, no trouble, just sorting something out.” She put her PDA away and turned back to Krasnaya.

“Right, start again, this time from the beginning.”

They sat down, and Krasnaya started to speak. “During the assault on headquarters; when I was hit, the quantum weapon broke us apart and Alexander… he was... Krasnaya was gone and I, I don’t know what I did. I don’t remember, I just know he’s not there…”

The longer he spoke, the more this began to sound familiar. Then very familiar. Finally, she held up her hand. "Whoa, whoa comrade! Stop a second."

Red Star stopped talking mid sentence. What was the problem? Was something wrong? Was it something she said? Quickly replaying the conversation back over in her head, she felt a sudden urge to run.

"Alex isn't gone, in the sense of...well...dead. But you and he aren't separate anymore. Do you understand what I'm saying here?" At Krasnaya's blank look, Bella continued. "You've fused. This is what Peacebringers almost always do, is fuse. Kids like Astra, with two souls in the same head, are not the usual result. Nictus, well, you know yourself they eliminate the host personality. Warshades..." she shook her head. "Not enough Warshades around yet from voluntary melds to tell what the norm will be, but we already know that you can fuse just like Peacebringers---Shadowstar is a fusion, for instance."

Red Star was stunned. A fusion? Of all the possibilities, she hadn’t considered that. Could it really be true? Is he really here, somewhere inside me?

“But, before, wasn’t I in a fusion? This feels nothing like that. I can’t feel Alex at all, it’s like he isn’t there.” Hope began to fill Krasnaya’s voice “Could that really have happened?”

"'s the thing. You fused in trauma and pain. Alex was the personality that took the big hit there. So could be his part of you is still in shock...." she scratched her head. "I dunno...this is where my direct knowledge ends. Every Warshade meld or fusion seems to be a little bit different. Tell you what I would do to Aedan Murdock and K'takei---that's the younger Murdock and his Kheld. Then you might have a talk with a Warshade named Tutelary. And....I've been seeing this AoC gal, Kyria Shadowdancer, knocking around, she's a full voluntary fused Warshade, and she's some kind of mystic on top of that, she might have some insights. She seems very into the 'now', as in 'let things happen and grow' rather than the way Sera operates, which is 'you must fix everything this instant,' and that might be the approach that will work better for you. And if all else fails....Sera and JM....." she caught herself yawning, and smiled sadly. "Sorry Comrade. Been operating on three to five hours of sleep at a shot lately. It's me, not you. But trust me on this, it's gonna be all right. You didn't kill Alex, he's in there with you." She raised an eyebrow. "In a 'killed' yourself."