CHAPTER NAVIGATION BAR
TALES OF BUFFALO COMMONS
" MOBILIZATION "
It was never his intent to climb this high in the ranks. Gregory Andreivich would’ve been quite happy to have spent the rest of his life piloting whatever craft they gave him, but when the curtain descended again and his nation withdrew behind its protectionist barrier, as one of the few who had experience with the outside world, Andreivich was called to this mission and Gregory never shied away from the call of duty.* * *
And having been taught strategy by one of the sharpest minds ever borne it was only a matter of time before Gregory Pietor Andreivich rose to the rank of Deputy Director in the most secretive branch of the New Soviet – External Affairs.
Behind the historic building at Number 2 Lubyanka Square, the greatest minds were assembled with the singular task of keeping their opposition off-balance, a staid and uninteresting job until Andreivich had hatched the “Nested Doll” project.
It was a testament to his credibility with the Politburo that the project had been approved so quickly, or perhaps it was because any hope of it succeeding required nearly immediate activation of the mission.
But that speed meant that the responsibility for the project’s success rested almost entirely on Andreivich’s square shoulders. It was a daunting thought and one that should wake him in the middle of the night with panic, but it didn’t.
A three time Grand Master of Chess before age Twelve, Andreivich knew how to think well ahead of his opponent. Having been a middle supernumerary in the embarrassment that was Gubachen, Andreivich had learned from those mistakes and, if he had to admit it, had been working on this plan ever since.
The Chauffeured car, not a perk of his position but a courtesy extended with the invitation to meet with the Supreme Soviet, slowly turned the corner that brought it into the courtyard of Red Square and up to the Kremlin itself.
In truth Andreivich could’ve walked this in half the time it took to push this luxurious monster through the crowds, but rejecting such generosity wouldn’t have been well-received, and were he in fact under suspicion, as this invite implied, any attempt to walk freely would only have increased any appearance of guilt and distrust.
The car stopped, the door was held open by a decorated Captain of the Red Army – no doubt a Hero of the New Soviet who through his service was unable to discharge field duties – who welcomed Andreivich as he climbed smoothly and confidently out of the Kada Limo with a certainty that bordered on arrogance.
Andrevich became self-conscious of that and tried to lose any outward signs of superiority as he made his way up the steps of the Kremlin, past the waiting Guards and through the great halls to the office of the Supreme Soviet, because it was the one place that arrogance couldn’t help him with anything.
“Twelve Astral Carriers are about to enter orbit, Comrade Deputy.” The voice was calm and monotone, the eyes of the Chairman were down, reading the display before him.
Andrevich wondered what could be so interesting about that display that the Chairman would be avoiding eye contact, but then it occurred to him the display might be a read out of Andreivich’s bio-readings, computer confirmation of his veracity as he replied to questions.
Gregory took in a deep breath and slowly released it as he stood straight and replied, “That is correct, Comrade Chairman.”
The Chairman looked up now, making a somewhat dramatic display in the removal of his glasses. Andrevich never liked glasses, they were a fashion statement and in Gregory’s opinion un-befitting any true servant of the People. The Chairman continued, “This doesn’t concern you, Comrade?”
“It was anticipated, Comrade Chairman. It will be neutralized.”
The Chairman wasn’t the only one at the Supreme Soviet stunned by the boldness of this statement. Each exchanged glances with the others looking for some sign that any of them had been pre-advised of this. When none was found a sense of annoyance descended on the room, that sense given words by the Chairman, “And you didn’t believe it important to tell us this because…?”
Andreivich straightened again, “Comrades. The very purpose of External Affairs is to deflect notice away from us. We cannot boast such successes without risking defeat of that primary goal.”
Comrade Secretary Melova interjected, “The craft from any four Carriers in that Fleet could crush our opposition before we’d be able to sound General Alarm.”
As Commander of all Ground Forces she’d know, and Andreivich would not argue any accurate statement, even if it were defeatist. “That is correct, Comrade Secretary.”
“Then how do you intend to neutralize them, Comrade Andreivich?” The question came from Comrade Secretary Zolof, Commander of the Space Fleet. Certainly if a confrontation in space were to occur Zolof’s people would be at the forefront, unless… “Comrade, you’re not talking about a repeat of Gubachen, are you?”
Gubachen had been the actions of rebels. Commanders in two branches of the New Soviet military who had assembled support for a First Strike that would kneecap their opponent and ensure the Rhodina complete control of their birthright, all the space around Earth, once and for all.
The project was thwarted by a bright group of Network pilots who struck before the plan could be launched. Andreivich was intimately familiar with both sides of this story, having been re-assigned to Gubachen under protest only two weeks before mission launch, oddly from that very same group of bright Network pilots.
The Chairman steeled his gaze, focusing on Andreivich with an icy intensity. If the Supreme Soviet lost confidence in External Affairs the whole department could find themselves suddenly out of favour, and swiftly inside a far and distant gulag.
“Never a repeat, Comrade.”
The Chairman slammed both fists hard on the table top. The sound resounded through the room like the peeling of a large wooden bell. “Enough!”
All eyes were on him as he continued, “Comrade Deputy Andreivich, how will you stop this Network Fleet?”
Andreivich stepped forward, a risky move, and he engaged each of their eyes with a certainty surely not seen since the time of the Czars, “The enemy of our enemy is our friend, Comrades. Events are underway that will never draw attention to us.”
Whether it was something about Gregory’s tone, or his body language or just his confidence, like a Lion Tamer in a den of his own Lion’s a calm descended on the room and despite not knowing a lick of the details each member of the Supreme Soviet understood that the right person was on the job, and the job would be done right.
* * *