Yuli and Ivan Go On An Adventure. [Part II]
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In the shadow of a soldier's assault rifle, Yulian Fyodorov stared down at the pile of (pointless, repetitive, yet for some reason incredibly classified) documents in his desk drawer. Just below the grayish government-issued papers, he could make out the white-paper edges of his novel manuscript — practically ready to be bound and sent off to a publisher.

Three years of blood, sweat, and skipped lunch breaks, eked out from his shabby little office typewriter. It was no Tolstoy and Dostoevsky, but it was a good novel, full of action and romance. And inscribed on the inner page, the words "For Sasha Kudrina, with love."1 stood out proudly in black ink.


The Captain of the Taskforce's booming voice had been painfully clear. Within seconds, the entire office was turned inside-out. File drawers were torn out of cabinets, entire books and binders dashed to the floor, papers flying in the air and covering the ground like a blizzard. Task-force men watched over the entire proceedings, ready to fire at the sight of a pocketed hand or a moment's hesitation.

Yulian looked up at the beast of a man towering directly over him. He looked back down at the novel. It was right there! He was going to bring it home that very day!

"Excuse me, Sir, but if I might just -"

The chuCHAK of the Officer's Kalashnikov made the hair on Yulian's arms curl. His heart dropped through his stomach and down to his knees. There was no pleading to be made. Protocol was protocol. Not a single document, classified or otherwise, was making it out of this office intact.

Box in hand, Yulian lined up with dozens of other bureaucrats for the paper furnace, surrounded on both sides by men watching with rifles. If only he knew they'd be coming today! He could have easily brought the manuscript home yesterday evening, without incident. But now he was next, and a second later, it was gone. It was all gone, every single letter of his magnum opus and his career, in a bath of flames.

After being given the clear, Yulian was ejected from the premises. He walked slowly, dragging his feet as he went, to a public bench two blocks from home.

There, he burst into tears, and wept.

He had seen the signs - the inflation rates, the protests, the coup attempt. The Soviet Union was failing, and everyone in the office knew it was only a matter of time before the Task Force came for them.

But even for bureaucrats of the GRU 'P' Division, it just happened a little sooner than anyone had expected.

"Yulian," Ivan called out.

No response.

"Yulian!" Ivan repeated sternly.

Yuli woke up in the passenger seat of a dilapidated but ever-functional Russian automobile, a Trabant 601.2

"Sorry, I was asleep. Where are we?" said Yulian.

"Here," said Ivan.

Yuli looked out the window and was introduced to a small apartment in the middle of the next town over. He had been to this town three times in his life, but never this side of town, and never this deep within it.

Ivan opened the car door and got out onto the sidewalk. "Let's go. We'll drink."

"Okay. And thank you, but I'll pass."

"Fine. We'll get down to business first." Ivan replied.

Ivan's door had three locks and he opened them all with ease. Yuli took a look inside the small apartment, and there was just enough room to sleep reasonably, to eat, to shit.

"Now this," Ivan said, pulling a box from under the bed, "Is something more powerful and more rare than anything you have ever encountered in your life."

Yuli nodded, but in all truth, he was absolutely terrified. "Will we die?"

"No, no, it's not like that. Not all powerful things are inherently destructive. And you understand that with me showing you this, we have made a bond like brothers, and you will never speak of anything we do and anything you see."

"Why are you doing this to me? I did not ask for this. I'm a paper-filer. Whatever your objectives may be, I don't think I will be of any use to you."

"Two reasons — " Ivan held up two fuzzy-gloved fingers. "For one thing, I know I can trust you. Отдел "Психотроника" didn't take just anybody."

"This is true." said Yuli matter-of-factually.

"And second of all — " Ivan paused for maximum effect, as if he was giving a speech. Thick crow's feet spread from the corners of his eyes as a smile grew larger and larger on his face.

"Yes, second of all — every organization needs a bureaucrat."

"I told you, Pasternak, we are not an organization!"

"Of course we are! We're rebuilding the glorious GRU-P from it's burning ashes. We will arise like phoenixes and bring glory to the motherland!"

"With who, Ivan!? Two people don't make an organization! You need many people! Hundreds!"

"We work out the nitty-gritty later. So, are you in?" Ivan held up his hand, waiting for a handshake.

Yuli stared at the delusional old codger. This man's completely mad! But Pasternak's silent hot-gun and his decades of experience in snapping necks meant that, at least for now, Yuli would have to remain a willing hostage. It would be best to play along. He's not an evil person, just a lunatic.

Yuli grimaced. "…Okay, Ivan Alexeyevich. I'm in." Yuli shook Ivan's hand.

"Excellent. Welcome aboard, comrade. Now behold," said Ivan, unlatching the eight locks on the box quickly. "An 'объект'!"3

Inside the heavily padded box was a glass bottle smaller than a deck of cards. It glowed with a pleasant green glow.

"This… this costs millions of dollars."

Yuli's eyes widened. "Dollars?"

"Dollars. It is a sleeping faerie dragon."4

"Can it kill us?"

"No. We don't have the Объекты to wake it up. And we probably never will. But some people do, and some of those people are willing to pay serious money for this."

"What does it do?"

"The dragon? I'm not sure. It is not part of Slavic mythology, or as we understand dragons. The people of the British Isles would know something more. Let's just say it is an incredibly rare reminder of the Old World before men, and All Who Inhabited It. We are to respect them for this, and not let them fall into the hands of madmen."

Yuli pondered on this. Even with such a thick Moskvich5 accent, Captain of Alternative Research Ivan Pasternak was a man made wise from years of work in the field, in places unseen and unspeakable.

"The glow is warm, and I feel… happy inside."

"Yes, it does that." Ivan closed the lid of the box. "You best not look at it for too long. Some people get lost in its glow. Others begin to desire to open the bottle and die."

"I thought you said it wouldn't kill us!" Yuli said disconcertingly.

"It will not kill us. We are not madmen. Now…" Ivan said, standing up and holding the case, "… our mission for today is to sell this for no less than a million dollars."

"And who, praytell, would be able to buy this from you?"

"I have my networks, as I am sure that you have your own." Pasternak winked.

"Great, good luck with that," Yuli said. "And what about me? What am I supposed to do now? I've left my home and my employment. My things are packed away in your car's backseat."

"We get you unpacked later. For now, you are coming with me, comrade."

"I am?" Yuli frowned.

"You are." Ivan smiled.

Yuli and Ivan Go On an Adventure.
« Chapter 1 - Poputchik. | Chapter 2 | To Be Continued »

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