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For some reason, I find myself thinking about Vitya.

Actually, I know what the reason is. Budapest. The Hungarian Revolution.

Protesting students had started it when their anti-Communist demonstration turned into a riot that had spread like gangrene through an infected wound, and ended up turning into a spontaneous armed revolt across the entire country. The government had fallen quickly to their makeshift militia forces.

We were sent there with the Soviet army to put it down, to quell the revolt and return order to the country, by force. Thousands of civilians were killed.

Vitya and I were lucky. We didn't have to fire a single shot while we were there. I don't think I would have felt right about killing civilians.

But Vitya took it a step further. He said we shouldn't have been there at all, that the Hungarians should have been allowed to govern themselves.

I didn't want to hear it. I didn't care about politics.

Still don't.

But Vitya did. He cared a lot. He saw the big picture, the larger morality. What use was it to live by a personal code when you ignored it when it counted the most, he asked me.

The situation is far greater than us, I told him. One man, or two, can't make a difference, and would only get swallowed by the tide if they tried to stand against it.

You can still care, Vitya said.

I didn't understand that, at the time. Caring wasn't my job. My job was to do my job, and nothing more. Caring about something I couldn't personally change would only lead to needless heartache.

But now...

I find myself thinking about what Ocelot just told me, about Colonel Volgin's plans.

Volgin wants to rule the world.

It's absurd. Hitler couldn't do it.

Alexander couldn't do it.

The Persians, the Mauryans, the Romans, none of them conquered, and managed to hold their power. I know it'll be the same with the Colonel, especially in this modern world.

But the thing is, all of the people who tried left footprints as deep as the Black Sea. Ripples that washed over the shores of history, changed the course of nations, left millions dead, and made the world irrevocably different.

Is that what I'm looking at, right here, and right now?

Is that what's in store for the future?

Am I standing at the brink of another sea change, but this time, I'm on the wrong side of the larger morality?

Perhaps the most pertinent question of all is, can I stop myself from caring?

It never used to be an issue, before.

Damn you, Vitya.

Date: 2007-08-03 08:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] krasnogorje.livejournal.com
"Love me or hate me, but spare me your indifference." That's one of the Fury's favorite quotes. You're either with him or against him, but not caring one way or another... that is the ultimate insult. Apathy is a dangerous thing, he says, because the legions of the apathetic can be easily beguiled and lead by someone who passionately belives in something else.

I think so.

My grandmother cut off her hair and disguised herself as a man and went to fight on the front lines to defend Mother Russia in the first war. My mother was a pilot, one of the Night Witches, who flew the famous night raids against the Nazis. My aunt, too. Together, they have more than three hundred successful bombing missions against those who tried to conquer our beloved Russia.

Now, here I am... and that's all I can say to you.

...

Well, I'll see you around, I'm sure.

Date: 2007-08-04 09:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] capt-kasya.livejournal.com
Hi.

It's...good to see you.

I've been thinking about a lot of things lately, and I realized that it's not enough to believe in something.

You have to believe in the right thing.

For the first time in my life, I've realized what's most important to me. The ideal I'd put above all else, the thing I would die for.

It's brought me...clarity. And a small measure of peace with some things that used to be unresolved.

But I guess that's the type of thing that everyone has to figure out for themselves. Or maybe everyone already knows it, and I'm just a slow learner.

...

Have you...been all right?

Date: 2007-08-05 04:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] krasnogorje.livejournal.com
Other than the gun to my head a few nights ago, I've been wonderful.

It seems I'm getting promoted. Nothing grand. The Fury is still trying to see what can be done with the VVS, on the phone all day screaming at them. I think they might be more willing to start the paperwork if he'd quit threatening to burn down their headquarters. He's running out of favors to call in with old comrades, no one wants the liability after what he did... nevermind.

That's the most exciting thing that's happened with me, other than test piloting a ultra light jetpack prototype. Well, and the tarantula I found in my bunk.

And how've you been? What's this lesson that troubles you, and keeps you awake at night?

Date: 2007-08-05 05:15 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] capt-kasya.livejournal.com
...sorry about the gun.

And it's not lessons that keep me awake at night, trust me.

...

Congratulations on your promotion. Sounds like things are heading in the direction you want. That's good. What rank does that make you, now?

I've been good. Better than good, actually. I've just had a lot to think about.

My life has changed, ever since I came to Groznyj Grad, but it's made me think about the past.

...I used to resent my father a lot, but recently, I realized he died for what he believed in, and that was something I could respect.

I think I was always afraid I would be like him, that I would turn out the same way. Now I realize it's a conscious choice, to decide what's most important to you, and uphold it.

I've finally escaped his shadow. I just don't know how to reconcile my new convictions with...everything else around me.

Maybe it's simpler than I think.

One man can't stop a flood, but maybe he can save someone from drowning.

...

Tarantula?

Date: 2007-08-05 06:15 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] krasnogorje.livejournal.com
Funny, I never knew my father. Don't even know his name. Don't want to know, because it doesn't matter. Mama did say once that he was a French soldier, and that was all I could ever get from her.

I doesn't make any difference anyhow. What's in the past is in the past, you know? Same for you.

If Vladik would have his way though, I'll be promoted to Flight Lieutenant straight away. I don't know how he'll manage that since I lack the formal training, but... the Cobra Unit works in mysterious ways. When you get a promotion, you get pretty stars for your uniform, yes? When I get a promotion, I'll get to keep that prototype jetpack I mentioned earlier. I think I'll be getting the better deal!

You've never heard of a tarantula? Honestly?

Date: 2007-08-05 09:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] capt-kasya.livejournal.com
I know what a tarantula is. I just...what happened? Why was it in your bunk?

It shouldn't matter, about your lack of formal training, not for a field promotion. I started as a Private, back in 1939. I was made a company-grade officer pretty much by virtue of the fact that I kept staying alive, and they had to do something with me.

I'm sure your commander will get his way. It's Cobra Unit, after all.

Say...I have a question for you. Do you know the old man who sleeps in his wheelchair? I've seen him around, and every time, he had a Mosin-Nagant with him.

Date: 2007-08-05 11:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] krasnogorje.livejournal.com
The tarantula... I don't know. Maybe it was sleepy? The next time I see the Pain around, I'll have him ask it and I'll be sure to tell you what it says.

Well, promotions are one thing in war time, and another thing entirely with the Red Army. The VVS is a bit more selective. Io, Deimos, and Phobos had to get whole new identities to even be considered for admitance, but I didn't tell you that. Our commander made that happen though, so a wee little promotion for someone with a spotless record should not be so difficult.

I know of the old man, but I wouldn't say I know him. I've never spoke to him, really, but Io goaded him awake once by poking at him with his flamethrower. The old man didn't say anything, just waited until our lieutenant grew tired of heckling him, then shot Io square in the left buttock when he turned to walk away. No real harm done though, I guess they don't trust him with real bullets, so his riffle's been converted to shoot tranquilizer darts. Io was out of it for the rest of the night though, giggling about pretty colors and puking his guts up. Must've been some strong stuff.

That's all I know, but he's Cobra, they call him the End; you could ask the Fury, but the Pain knows everything about everyone.

Date: 2007-08-06 06:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] capt-kasya.livejournal.com
The Pain can talk to more than just hornets? I met him the other day. He seemed much less angry than the Fury...

...though I suppose that stands to reason.

...

Anyway, if I see the Pain again, maybe I'll ask him about the old man. He seemed easy enough to talk to.

Or maybe I'll talk to the End himself, if I see him.

Well.

Good luck with your promotion. I hope you get to keep the jetpack, too.

Date: 2007-08-06 07:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] krasnogorje.livejournal.com
I'm not sure, but I did see him holding a friendly conversation with an ant one day, so it's worth a try. He's kind in ways my commander can only manage when he's entirely drunk.

Thank you, and good luck with finding the old man.

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