An excerpt from “USSR™”

Chapter X

The next two days curled like a tight ligature, so you could not tell, where its weft, patterns, and seams were.
“We need no welding seam here, that’s the whole point”, Nikita said firmly. “The loads distribution, on steep turns especially, constantly changes and sways across this surface,”- he showed. “The weld takes the load peaks and weights…”
“Wait”, said Valenchuk and turned his “Ally”. “Wait a minute… Here. Here’s “Kipchak”, this year model. Here’s the next year project. Here’s the frame, here’s the transmission. So here are the welds, look, go-go-go, all of three to this angle. Everything was good in the model and in the practice. No complaints, Nikita, eh?”
“Could I show you it?” Nikita said.
Valenchuk nodded and opened the access to his projection. Nikita several times swiped with his finger across the frame hanging in the air and asked: “Could you please switch to dynamic run mode?”
“What do you need?”
“Speed 140, a smooth left turn with a sharp braking.”
“So let’s just drop it from the cliff”, muttered Valenchuk, but repeated this introduction dutifully.
“Kipchak’s” skeleton spun silently the glaring wheels.
“We can’t see”, shouted the back rows.
Valenchuk nodded and flipped the video to the board. The back rows said “Aha” with satisfaction.
“Maybe the flat version?”said Valenchuk.
Nikita shook his head. “No, that’s better. It’s quickly”.
It came really quickly: “Kipchak’s” skeleton, flying on the spot, showed neatly a piece of the roof, going into a turn, twitched and moved its prow and stern.
“It brakes,” Valenchuk could say, and then “Kipchak” jumped, dazzled for a second with openwork bottom — and flew off the board and from the field of vision.
The class howled. Valenchuk said: “I don’t catch. Stop, twenty seconds ago, repeat at half speed”.
“At ten percent,” advised Nikita.
Valenchuk, not looking up from the board, repeated.
Slow-motion replay allowed everyone to see clearly that “Kipchak” just pokes its prow down during braking, lifts the rear wheel a little and hit with them on the invisible ground, immediately repeats the foal trick, in the second jumping up loses the ground with right wheels and capsizes, fractures its pillars per two revolutions and somersault, crushing its broadsides.
“Stop. Rerun with the vectors of forces distribution,” ordered Valenchuk.
The intact skeleton of “Kipchak”, bristling with blue arrows, made its start again, braked, flying in the blue web, and began to capsizing with anguished slowness.
“Here,” said Nikita, poking with the pointer into the frame. “Here is a weld, on it, you see, divergent forces converges, I did not compute the breaking point, but the point located, you see, in such turn”.
“Are you sure that the weld is the only cause?” Valenchuk asked.
“Well, not quite, but the main cause is the weld, sure. Is an access open? Here, look.”
Nikita, muttering something for his “Ally”, suffered the frame from his projection into the trembling picture on the blackboard, then scooped up the hologram, hanging near by his nose, plunged his hand into the virtual transmission, and smeared his catch on skeleton in Valenchuk’s video, that hissed and shook, but swallowed this gift.
“What’s that?” asked Valenchuk.
“Well, at first, the weldless version, and secondly, I computed some new coating for it.”
“There is a some kind of additional unit.”
Nikita blinked and said: “It’s the planes. I mean, the wings.”
The people groaned.
“The planes. You mean, the wings,” repeated Valenchuk. “What for?”
“To fly,” said Nikita.
“Show it.”
“First, maybe, the weldless version?..”
“Nikita, you plague, show the flight!” Sinitsyn shouted louder than other classmates.
“Show us the wings,” said Valenchuk.
“Well… Set the speed to a hundred and forty kilometer per hour, then command “Wings!” — and the steering wheel necessarily right.”
Valenchuk did so.
The chairs rattled: whole class stood up, looking at the small wings, raced out of the thresholds like two shiny machetes.
“Nikita, you’re quite something,” Natasha whispered in a moment when the skeleton of “Kipchak”, sparkling under offscreen sun, gently took off the ground and went in one meter above the smeared tape of road.
“Repeat, front view,” ordered Valenchuk.
Now everybody could see how the wings are slipping out from under doors and how smoothly the drive of “Kipchak” is progressing into the flight. And everybody held his breath – to make a hubbub, when the sparkling car’s framework was landed, retracting its planes.
Valenchuk easily blocked the rumpus: “How long is the range?”
“About four hundred meters.”
“Why so short?”
“Not so short. It’s enough to jump over crack, blockage or pile-up. Flying much more is difficult because wing area is too small – like a power intensity too, of course.
“What is the power consumption?”
“Consumption is tolerant, above seventy percent extra – but it’s dangerous. The level of charge is quite different. There is no friction, no braking …”
“But the sun is closer,” said Natasha seriously.
Valenchuk finely chewed his upper lip (class giggled as usual) and said firmly: “So, guys. What plans you have for the evening?”
Class said loudly that everyone is ready to run when just starting out.
“Then let’s go to Scientific and Technological Centre. There we can build the models with large tolerances and accuracy, and the calculations will be easier. Maybe we’ll even have enough time to create a natural model. I want to check this wings – it’s a real thing, I guess…”
“So what about the weld?” hesitantly reminded Nikita, whose eyes flared quite unbearable.
“Also let’s check the weld, sure. I’ll knock into STC just now to prepare the third experimental workshop… Comrades, we have a lesson.”
“I’m sorry,” said Egorshev considered a little, in parts barging into classroom. “I led. Here…”
He opened the door a little wider — however, the guest hardly squeezed through the open doorway. District authorities did not regret the meal money for their officials. Anyway, for the dames from the education department.
“Hello, children,” said the dame.
Even noticeable shortness of breath didn’t break her well placed voice. The children were much less vocal, not everyone said hello, either. Valenchuk didn’t greet her, too. He removed his video from the board and bit his lip again, staring at dame.
“You can go,” courtesy allowed dame to Egorshev.
Egorsha nodded and leaned against the doorframe, his hands in his pockets.
Dame, ignoring this small sabotage, sailed to the teacher’s desk, miraculously not knocking Valenchuk down, and chanted, referring to all at once, and no one in particular: “My name is Margarita Vladimirovna, my last name Tihomirnova, I’m Deputy Head of the Education Department of district administration. I came here to check the statement of the educational process in your institution. The process is worse than ever, your institution did not pass the certification, none of your teachers, if I can call them so, was not accordingly certified. Therefore, your so-called school closes.
“When?” asked Egorshev from the door, considered a little.
“Immediately,” dame said without turning around.
Everybody roared but Valenchuk and Nikita.
The dame was looking over the students and seemed to be smiling. Triumphantly, it seemed.
Nikita asked something indistinguishable over the roar. Dame took no head. Nikita turned to the class, raised his hand up and put it to his heart. It was one of the gestures of attention that a meeting of the school took in September — with a strong condition to perform. Everybody silent – not in a second, pressing the long phrases in throat — only Pasha, as always, didn’t notice anything and continued, turning his read head, to bawl: “You so-called yourself!”, but Anya elbowed him, he started and also fell silent, breathing heavily.
Nikita repeated: “Then where should we learn?”
Tihomirnova condescendingly explained: “This issue will be resolved in the near future by the relevant authorities.”
“Relevant for what?” said Nikita.
“Relevant for the issue level,” said dame and smiled thinly.
“So you are depriving us of education that is guaranteed by the Constitution, and, by the way, is mandatory, for a period, of expiration terms and conditions thereof you simply have no idea.”
Dame stopped smiling, turned her whole trunk and advised: “Boy, do not talk to me in this manner. What is your name?”
“A complete answer, please.”
“My name is Polivaev Nikita Alexeevich, I live in the USSR, I’m a big boy, fifteen years old.”
“You, Nikita, don’t act up. There is no USSR anymore long time ago, your industrial community called Novo-Vahovskoe, and here is no educational institutions including in compulsory secondary education that guaranteed by Constitution.”
“No institution, but many children. What is the Education Department thinking of?” loudly exclaimed Natasha.
“Girl, do not try to be clever. What’s your name? Let it pass, OK. What could the Education Department think, if you were off-system unit from the very beginning? Direct subordination with Moscow, direct funding and special financing, you kicked the Kremlin doors down. But it’s over. This time has run out, it’s time to introduce order. Just imagine, Soviet power here. What kind of Soviet power that forgot to teach children properly?”
“Sorry, but where are we right now?” asked Egorshev, considered a little, without changing careless pose.
Tihomirnova clapped her hands happily.
“So I do not know! I do not know where you brought me. Maybe it’s a Scout camping, maybe the fandom club of science fiction, maybe, I don’t know, a gathering in honor of something — the anniversary of the October Revolution, for example.
“This is a school actually”, said Pasha offended.
“What the school is it?” asked Tihomirnova, starting to shift from one foot to the other slowly. “There are no curriculums that were agreed with us, no classes, no school uniform, — look at your dress, Lord, — no specialization, no director, and, of course, no teachers, too. You even never got our list of recommended textbooks and manuals.
“Are you not fussy that only this year our seventeen students had eleven wins at national competitions?” said Egorshev without the usual pause.
Tihomirnova grinned, moved a shoulder pad and said condescendingly: “Competitions. Competitions doesn’t add up to much. You can prepare for the competitions even at home, with a pair of books. The learning process — that’s the subject of our concern. You don’t have such a process. Because here is no one educational specialist.
The class murmured, but Nikita repeated the attention gesture and explained very seriously: “Margarita Vladimirovna, do you see the person next to you? His name is Gennady Ilyich Valenchuk. He’s giving the lesson… he gave the lesson while we were interrupted. The subject matter called “Physics” and Gennady Ilyich is Doctor of Technical Sciences, deputy director of the All-Russian Research Institute of Experimental transport, not to mention that he is a production director of “Kipchak” cars — and this “Kipchak” actually was invented under Gennady Ilyich’s authority. We also have a next science teacher, he is Doctor from the Institute of Physics at the NPP, they take turns with Gennady Ilyich. We have one Doctor of Philology for Russian lessons and literature, two Doctors of Science for Math, one Professor – for Chemistry, and for History and Social Sciences we…”
“That’s what I’m talking about. They’re not teachers. What can they teach you, these scientists?”
Egorshev, growing furious evidently, asked: “Do you wanna a license, duck, or do you wanna a drive?”
Tihomirnova, holding her face averted, said: “A good example for kids, my compliments.”
“You are my role model,” responded Egorshev readily. “Are you a teacher, generally, or the hotel animator?”
Tihomirnova said with forbearance: “I am a certified teacher, as opposed to your so-called teachers. Well, what can they teach you? To part, as you say, the grant money, or to reel the wire on the coil? Or do you teach the Soviet anthem in the classroom? Or do you write essays about Brave Gone World?”
Nikita said hastily: “Let’s check it. Margarita Vladimirovna, what subject do you teach?”
“What matter, young man?”
“Polivaev Nikita Alexeevich, fifteen years old,” reminded Nikita.
Tihomirnova decided not to respond. She seems tired – of the talks and all that.
“The physical training is her subject,” undertone said naughty child Sinitsyn.
Nikita, ignoring this provocation, said: “Let me guess. The history? Let’s have a competition and see who can call more Narym Princes.”
“What?” Tihomirnova said displeased.
“The Princes of Selkup Skewbald Horde, it was the tribal association just here,” Nikita stamped his foot lightly. “It was relatively recently, four hundred years ago. There were recorded tree princes only, easy to remember. So what? Vonya was first one, who was next?
Tihomirnova wearily closed her eyes and said: “Boy, this is the regional ethnography, not the history.”
“Okay, let’s take a region closer to you – here you are, The Principality of Pelym, you have come almost from its side. Asyka aka Assyan, Yumshan, then? Begbe-e…
“This is the regional ethnography too.”
“… eliy.”
“And Kihek,” prompted shouted the back rows.
“And Ablegerim,” said Natasha.
Nikita nodded and said: “Never mind, you know, it seems not to be the history. All right, what the history can be on our territory? That would be too good for us. So where we have the true history? In Moscow Upland, but not before the 12th century? In Ukraine? Or in Germany and France? Well, let’s pass that territories. You may remember the date of the foundation of Moscow, but what about people that was there until 1147 — the Finns, the Balts, late Dyakovo culture? No idea, too?”
“Nikita, examine her in physic subject,” Inna invited.
Nikita looked at Tihomirnova, who hostile glanced at the class. Nikita sighed and said: “Maybe Gennady Ilyich can ask”.
Valenchuk moved faintly his hand, resting on the table. It was obvious that he was very worried.
Nikita was also worried, but he was not going to break off.
“Well, Inna, then let me ask you. And Margarita Vladimirovna can join if she wants. For example: two decimetric balls are hanging on one-metre-long thread. They was raised up to the crossbar level and be lowered simultaneously. At what maximum height will rise each of the balls after hitting, if you know that they are made of the same material with a density, well, ten kilogram per cubic meter, and with a viscosity, well, ten poise, but one ball is solid, and the second ball is hollow and weighs twice less than the first.”
“Wow,” said Pasha, and Inna tilted her head and frowned at Nikita.
“By the way, there are the rubber threads with such parameters…“
„This is not a school program,“ Tihomirnova said quietly.
„This is not a school program for you, not for us. Innd, how fast can you do this sum?“
„About fifteen minutes,“ Inna said, looking at him unkindly.
So, Margarita Vladimirovna, in our school they teach us to solve these kind of problems in fifteen minutes“, said Nikita in English.
Nicht nur diese, viel kompliziertere auch,“ Natasha offended.
“Don’t brag too soon…” said Nikita, but Pasha interrupted him with extremely harmful voice: “Et selon votre programme il faut étudier à traverser la rue au feu vert et ne pas monter en voiture avec des inconnus”.
“Yes, we have no lessons to fear the maniacs,” Nikita agreed.
Tihomirnova’s face quite browned by this time. She moved her lips and uttered very powerful: “I see, it’s too late to teach you about it.”
Kids looked at each other, exchanging the remarks in Hanty language, beside Tanya, who emphatic said something in Tatar. Egorshev exclaimed reproachfully: “Ci-itizen Tihomirnova!”
Tihomirnova took her temples with her fingers and said in a low voice: “It’s madhouse. Menagerie.”
She took her hands away from her head and said in a strangely gentle manner: “Jeez, aren’t you working with children here? Why so totally like a policeman, with “citizen” and all?”
Egorshev delighted by some reason: “Are you giving up your citizenship? In vain — we employs only the citizens of Russia. However, you have a little chance, we need the specialists, but your qualifications, as we see…”
“Enough!” loudly said Tihomirnova, even louder slamming his hands on the table.
“Did it hurt?” Sinitsyn asked sympathetically.
Apparently, it did hurt. Tihomirnova said warmly, shaking her hands absentmindedly: “What’s wrong with you? I’am, by the way, sympathized with you, even pitied, because you are poor kids, how can you be without school. But you aren’t kids and you not poor, you are little evil rats, though clever ones. Everyone’s the little rat as is. We must not to expel you out from here, but to trample on you.”
“Like on the Jews?” asked happily Melnik, who was known as an intent silent boy.
“Grisha, how dare you say such things?” Valenchuk said dully.
“How dare she intimidate us?” Grisha even stood up. “She came uninvited, disrupted our lesson, offended, then intimidated!”
“It’s their job – to intimidate,” explained Julia who remained silent until now. “Remember that?”
She stood up, leaning on the desk with her table and facing Tihomirnova, and recited:

On the outskirts, behind the rick-yards
Of the rich farmers
It stays. dear one,
About eleven centuries…

Grisha, waiting for a pause, took up:

Under the shaggy cap
consists in the baton-like head.
And the empty sleeves
Dangles cross the wind.

“What’s that?” asked Tihomirnova. “Amateur activities?”
“No, that’s Russian Literature,” Alexey explained, standing up. “Classical. Maybe this is something you do know. No?”
And he joined in (…)
(Children recites a little-known poem “Scarecrow” by Ivan Bunin, criticizing autocratic power)
Tihomirnova sobbed, covering her nose with fingers and went powerfully to the door. She tried to shut the door with a bang, but did it not immediately because the slippery handle. So Nikita, humbly looking at the her broad back, had time to finish his recitation:

“Scarecrow don’t have a lot of work
He does not care about the garden,
Which it does not treasure.
The main thing — that the people were afraid.”

The door banged exactly on the last syllable.
Nikita waited a few seconds, if Tihomirnova shout finally something like “School is closed!” or “You’ll be sorry!”. It seems that her psycho provided such behavior. But no, no farewell slogans came from the corridor, just the sound of heavy retreating footsteps.
Nikita sighed and said: “Gennady Ilyich, would you warn STC about our project?”
“To warn, not to warn — that won’t do any good,” angrily said Korotov. “I warned all five times, I begged them, wrote the reports — it doesn’t matter. No diesel fuel in the regiment.
“We have something,” hesitantly said senior lieutenant Sernashkin nicknamed Stinkdamp.
“Something. Three tons. It is not enough even for heavy equipment, so what can I do with the motor-vehicle pool? Should I harness the horses? Or should I distil the donkey urine into fuel? I’m just not talking about people – how can I transport the personnel?”
“Afoot,” suggested Sernashkin and withered under the major gaze.
“Afoot? Through the morass? With the load bearing vests and in heavy marching order? Through the earth roads and marshes — fucking slob, when it’ll be frozed, after all? And then I’ll be court-martialed for the personnel damaging? Thank you very much, I would prefer to avoid that.”
Sernashkin looked at Korotov like a dripping dog.
Major grinned.
“Don’t cry, everything is okay.”
“What is okay?” said senior leutenant sadly. “We’ll leave after twenty hours, but a half of autopark can’t move, only cross-country armored troop-carrier functions properly, and no fuel . It is not okay, absolutely.”
“And we have to answer for all”.
‘It’s okay, I said. We’ll take the “Pusics”.”
Sernashkin blinked. Korotov explained: “”Union-PUS”, that wonder-carriages. Hold your eyes, or they will pop out.”
“It’s prohibited to use this carriages,” said Sernashkin, swallowing.
“Who said that?” asked Korotov.
“Everybody knows.”
“Comrade senior lieutenant, have you heard the expression “mandative order”? The order is only mandative – for us, in any case. In the army and in the country. The Russian army isn’t managed by the guide to action under the name “everyone knows”. There are orders and instructions only. So I don’t remember the order or instruction about a ban on self-propelled universal carriage “Union”.”
“We had the call from the command,” said Sernashkin.
“You had this call? Or I had this call? Or Miheev had?”
“D-don’t know… You told me yourself: “we took the order, because political situation or something else, so drag all cars into hangar and prepare for the preservation.””
“And now I say: prepare the depreservation, drag from the hangar and make ready for loading. Don’t care about political situation, the point is military exercise, as it’s just beginning.”
“So if Miheev…”
“So if Miheev, let him drag everithing on himself. Or let him refuel the trucks with today’s soup from the canteen — my stomach tells me that they have a similar composition.”
Sernashkin wanted to say something else, hesitated and did say nothing. Korotov seriously explained: “Don’t worry. No other way for us: we have an operation task and must to expedite an order, it’s on our asses. But the ass isn’t the table, so don’t place anything on it, just carry out your order. We knows nothing about any calls. Okay, let’s foolproof the system. Come to Gavrishenko, he has a pile of old tyres. Take a couple of dozen to hang that wheels aboard, like on a barge — and you can assume that it is not “Pusics”, but the wheeled tractors. And everyone will shut up, Miheev first, by the way. He, of course, an alkie, but he’s not fool at all.”
“Alik, are you a fool at all?” Baranov asked disconsolately. “Elka will kill you after all”.
“She didn’t kill me before all else.”
“So what, she knows about it?”
Alik seems to be angry: “Do you really think I’m capable to do a serious something disregarding her opinion? Well, she brawled, of course — you heard a little, I believe. Then she agreed. How can I decide something without her. We are a family actually.
“That means two fools?” Slava said politely.
“Three fools,” Alik corrected, grunting. “Azamatullah didn’t dispute at all”.
Baranov made a sound that villager stop the deaf horse.
“Slava, no need to fear. We’re liviving here, right? What do we need in Moscow? All stinks there, it’s crowded there, people sleeps too long and they are strange in general. Or I just lost the touch. I met with my University classmates not so long ago — well, you know them, Ustymchik and Tkach. We started a business conversation, suddenly one grabbed a scarf of another. I thought they would fight. But Arkashka says: “Oh, cool scarf”, and calls some company name, said: “Love this all”. Leha straightened and said proudly: “Yeah, I have this scarf in Belgium, it was big luck”. Then he grabs Tkach’s hand, also calls some company name and says the almost same words: “Oh, I love such a model at all”. Arkashka shone, wagging his watch — damned, clock as a clock, except the shining — and says: “You know, where I get them? In Zurich, I ordered them ahead of time for six months, this is a limited edition”. Slava, they wagged their tails about two minutes, like the animals in the poultry market, by golly, or like the kids in kindergarten that boast with tke liners from the bubble-gum. They are almost thirty years old, they are Union guys, the smart ones, and so on. I started to laugh — they can’t understand, looked at me with pity. So how should I live inside such miracles? Let them somehow without me. And then – now in Moscow real estate market we have the highest price level, which we have never had before and probably wouldn’t have again, right? Also Union needs money just now. Everything has come together, in short.
“Well. But so you had a reserve for a rainy day…”
“Slava, so we had an unfair advantage over everybody. And now it’s nothing to lose. If we win – will our heroism really be not compensated? Although in that case we mustn’t have any compensation. On the other hand, if the Union lose, everything here will be lost. Nothing will be important, trust me. And then – who fixed the line of defence in courtyards? Me. So I answers for the consequences, inclusing the return strikes. We are playing the many-moved game, innit?
Baranov scraped under untidy overgrown chin. Kamalov continued: “It’s Sun Tzu, a stale plot: the opponent must make sure again and again that his impacts does not pass our solid shield, but our impacts cuts him to the heart. The victory is nor the superiority in the air or the only correct ideology. The victory means the convincing the enemy that all his actions are unprofitable. Once the enemy is convinced that any attack, although bayonet, though nuclear, don’t damages us, but any attack forces us to two attacks that are very painful to the enemy – just in this time the enemy becomes a pacifist, a peace-lover and a defeatist.
If we are trying to beat the enemy by his rules — and that is what we are trying, among other things, — we should play and not to fall at the first return strike, whatever it is: the additional court fees, the certificate of absence of debts or the independent examination of the damage. We are stunned them, they answered stupidly trying to floor us. Our only option – to stun more and more. If they requires from us a miracle, we should immediately pull out from pocket the pile of these miracles and ask: what one’s you want, with tails, three-toed or a non-pistachio colored? Shouldn’t we? So, enough of it. In essence: got we the money in time?
“I don’t know how and from where, but they got the money in time,” Rodionov said irritably. “They paid the duties, rewrote all the papers to fit the new necessities,, and reported about debt’s absence. They took us in, took in at all.”
Dyakin leaned back in his chair and said with unpleasant voice: “I do not understand. You said all the channels are blocked, and they have no time to do something.”
Rodionov, stretching his arms at his sides, dully explained: “We have blocked all channels, as active ones, so reserve resources. All accounts of the “Union” and its structures were blocked, the documents were seized in the most obstinate regionals, we stopped all their activities in fact, we took control to cash flow from the centers where they fit well, we warned all the local banks and business structures against the attempt to interfere. We didn’t talk with the judges only, because you didn’t allow it”.
“Yes, I didn’t that’s no business of yours. Now let me hear the best joke”
“It isn’t joke, just a stupid thing. We didn’t take the account transfers from individuals to individuals. If we allow it, we have bo chance to trace them, especially a small amounts that spent out from Moscow. There are billions rubles that spends from Moscow every day – nonresidents and guest workers gives the financial aid fot their families.”
Dyakin sat up and asked: “What kind of transfers? From whom?”
“Usual ones. Through Sberbank, “Unistream”, some other banks and the system else. We didn’t have time to check each sender, just established the identity of twelve persons, none of them have direct links with the Union. We’re checking on it.”
Dyakin languidly waved. “No need to checking — maybe there were Rychev’s pals or kin’s – there are a big horde of them in Moscow.”
“Or Kamalov’s horde”.
“Kamalov was in Moscow at that time,” explained Rodionov, estimated change of chief’s facial expressions and began to explain with a constant acceleration: “He went back from vacation with his family, from Turkey or something, so simple, in a democratic way. So he stayed in the capital for a half day or a little more.”
Dyakin took a pencil from thick glass tumbler, examined it carefully, elevating closely to the eyes, tapped with the nib to the table — each new point was slightly larger than previous one — and quietly asked: “So why he wasn’t arrested?”
Rodionov said tearfully: “But we had no order. But you said: no operative action before confirming. But you said no confirmation yet.”
“But-but-but,” Dyakin mimicked. “My dear butterflies. Well, we’ll have to ignore their luck, although that’s not good. How many lawsuits have been instituted by us in the regions?”
“Eighteen party suits, ten complaints against the election results, twenty-three arbitrations, including the reputation proceeds. And the Constitutional Court process, of course.”
“Of course,” Dyakin repeated melancholic. “Half a hundred explicit scandals with implicit consequences across all the country. Brilliant job, good for you.”
“We crushed two-thirds of complaints in the early stages, that’s about thirty party suits and and fifty arbitrations, doing it without judges help,” Rodionov reminded with insult.
“Without judges help, really. Judges, of course, became impudent. They takes any complaints — for what? I see, they wanna report ‘bout fair play – look, they say, how honestly and legitimately are we working and dismissing. But it gives an occasion for Strasbourg and for other stink. Come on, now it does not matter.”
Rodionov hesitated and asked: “Why?”
“Because the game over. A merciful release is closer than ever. The question is settled.”
“By whom?”
Dyakin looked sympathetically at him and said seriously: “Not by us. And not by them. Only one thing is left for them to do — to argue about final conditions, and you gave them a tower of reasons for the argue. Okay, okay, don’t sulk. We all were mistaken, not you only. But I can’t say how The question is settled, sorry. You’ll know it tomorrow. Just now it’s a state secret, you know.”
“I don’t know anymore, that just a rubbish,” said Igor. “Yes, I have substantial reasons for treating Kuznetsov badly — he was my best friend, and now it turns out that I was maybe not friend, but a starting block for him. But he was honest with you.”
“Really?” Dasha snapped, but continued without anguishing: “Just that was not honest. If he lied or withheld about himself something, so everything was a pack of lies.”
“I guess, that’s an incorrect generalization.”
“Bravin, what do you know about generalizations? Or is a philosophy the subject in the securuty guard schools now?”
“Dasha, I remember that you have a better education than me or any person at all. But there is a quite significant difference between total lie and little secret. Particularly in male-female affairs”.
“Quite the contrary”.
“Well, I do not know. Alik forgives his wife for worse.”
Dasha, turning away, hissed: “Don’t call this name in my presence.”
Igor drew a star on the table with his finger and said: “After half a year it would be impossible to call any male name in your presence.”
“Pig,” Dasha said with disgust.
Igor shrugged.
“Don’t worry, I’ll never call nobody in your presence at all, you might tolerate me a minute. Dasha, you know, it’s not normal to build the relationship, working to rule. We’re not in the army and not in, er, soap opera, in second series of wich the characters takes each other’s hands and tells all about themselves. That happens in Gestapo only and at Catholic confession. If you like the person and this person like you , it’s a sufficient condition for anything, but not to require all inside secrets immediately.
“Bravin, you understand nothing in male-female affairs”.
“No one understand it, and me especially, sure. But I do not require anything. So it seems as though you need a dreamlike life instead of a real one. Maybe it’s the nature compensation for your mind and beauty.”
“Do you not require anything, that’s it? But you have no reason to requiring. I don’t like you.”
“Dasha, I’ll go out in any case, you can do without unnecessary quarrels.”
“Where will you go?” Dasha lifted, visibly furious and vowed: “You will go like a shot from a gun now.”
Igor stepped toward her, took her hands, led his nose close to Dasha’s one and said, breathing with peppermint: “Dasha, my dear, you’re a very nice girl. You can give happiness to anyone be happy yourself, but it turns quite the contrary till now. Change your way and be happy. Understand?”
Dasha tried to wriggle out, to push Igor and to tell him something ruthless, but she found that his soft grip does her not allow any jerk or talk confidently. She hissed: “Unleash.”
It was all that she could do.
Igor said:”Unless I hold you? This is my principle: if one speaks, the other listens. Especially in the male-female affairs. Like it?”
Dasha jerked and frozed, trying to understand where and why anything stretched so frighteningly.
“You don’t like it,” sayd Igor. “And I don’t like. Sorry, I distractes for a moment. Yes. Yes, of course, I listen. So, when? Half an hour later? I’ll be just in time. I see, I see, I’ll warn or get everybody who I can. O.k., see you later. Dasha, Big Council starts in half an hour. Do you want to come with me? I surmised as much somehow. So why you don’t speak, don’t nod, don’t sparkle with eyes? Unpleasant, yes? You see how it is with the principles, particularly in male-female affairs. You see? Remember it. This is my farewell gift for you.
Dasha stared frozen at the part of the ceiling that was able to look.
Igor sat her down on the chair, kissed his hands, put them on Dasha jerking knees and went to the passage without looking back.
Uncomfortable passage was located behind the repair trenches, plowing the Lenin street along Kirov Square. Danila suspected even that buzzing-noise means something, and the sides of the central area will be blocked too with the road works, closed fair or unsophisticated horse patrols. But no, Rabochaya street was clean and free, a pair of policemen loomed quite far away, under the windows of the regional administration, and the people was gathered near the grass-plot. Not the first again, Danila thought with displeasure, but relieved, coming closer. Along the frozen flowers strolled vaguely familiar guys — whether the sellers, or the guards from the central “Union Retail”, Danila recognized one of them, last weekend he was looking by Danila who bought the drivers for 3D-unit. Danila walked resolutely to the small group of five people, raised his fist to his shoulder and said: “Alliierten Front!” (Allied Front in German)
This greeting, that had introduced by Danila just for the sake of fun in the game “Voskhod-21”, never was official, but spread out everywhere.
One guy shuddered, three others looked with distaste, the youngest man smiled and replied, however, without fist raising: “Sowjetische Macht” (Soviet Power in German). “Rote Fahne” (Red Flag in German) joins the battle?”
“Just only me, but yes, everybody’ll join in. Later here will be many folks.”
“That’s for sure,” guy said, and it wasn’t wrong.
After half an hour there were about five hundred quite young, calm and friendly people on the square. They stopped Danila’s attempt to smoke in a similarly calm and friendly way, for this reason he, contrary to custom, was not got to fight, not blowed up, and cooly, as if was trained, pocketed his cigarettes back, and five minutes later he was forced to repeat same trick Nikish, who was late as usual. Other “Rote Fahne” men held as “The Red Chapel” at the first interrogation. In advance, as the saying goes.
Instead the mass-meeting became the outdoor rout and that seems to be all happy about it. Even the cops, that showed up around the square in an almost industrial quantities, didn’t touch the crowd – they passed to and fro as if by the their way, briefly stopping at the nearest aside and moving again as soon as any protester turned his complacent face to the sergeants. Now and then above the crowd rised short flashes, that sometimes inflated in familiar dome: especially impatient guys joined their “Allies” in common-pool mode. Danila looked at them pitily: fools, your batteries will go kaput in half an hour, so what can you do ‘til evening?
Danilа had no doubt that they would not be off before evening – he warned about it his mother, ate before leaving for her insistence, and took appeasably a jacket at the next insistence. Tomorrow, probably, they have to stand at the square, and after tomorrow. Otherwise what is the point? The point, if Danila understood it correctly, is not to scare the bloody regime, that pressed Union, but at least to make them think about the costs scale. So the scale is not about five hundred people for three hours. Real scale is about million people once — or same army by the parts. Accordingly, any aggravation plays for us. Nobody’s afraid of a dull subject, even the most hard one, you need an acute blade.
Here is an acute condition, as ordered.
The people stream just pushed Danila and Nikish on the sideline of the meeting, party, promo — event, in short — when two sergeants strolled to this sideline with the special relaxed gait, peculiar only to youthful street thugs and to policemen who said goodbye to dreams about their promote. Danila suppressed his burning desire to dive back into the comrades crowd and held by the sleeve Nikish who almost fulfilled same desire.
The first of the sergeants, younger one, saluted, unclear introduced himself and asked: “What do you stand for?”
“Just walking,” said Danila, tugging at Nikish.’s sleeve again to not panic, but not initiate anything.
“Why such a big number?” asked sergeant, unpleasantly smiling with the mouth corners.
Second sergeant, aged, paunchy man, looked past the guys and past the crowd.
Danila looked around, found that here’s really so many people, and the guys, standing by him, moved up close and listed attentively to the conversation. This discovery cheered Danila so that he reminded himself not to go too far – last administrative in his record was happen less then one year ago.
“I have any idea,” he said with sincere amazement. “You can ask them. I kind of like it here, my “Ally” catches the net here greatly, then, I’m a fan of our Governor, want to see him. Suddenly, he will wave his hand to me.”
“So get closer,” said sergeant with a bigger smile.
“Nope. I feel shy.”
“But you’re not feeling shy to stay here. You would go out to the fountain.”
“We have a meeting here.”
“Near the sensitive facility?”
“Where it says that it is so sensitive? Normal facility, the meetings, the fairs, the hunger strikes. I walk here every weekend.”
“You might have walked elsewhere.”
“So we like it here. We have the right,”said Danila keyword and prepared to count down.
He did not have to count. The policeman responded as always — evidently, as they were taught in their police academies: “The right — yes, of course. May I see your papers?”
“Here you are.” Danila gave his premixed passport and once again pulled Nikisch, that he would not get out with his papers until be asked.
No need to indulge.
Sergeant thumbed the passport, compared the photo with the original, nodded something about the residence stamp and asked: “What should I call you?”
“There it is written.”
“What should I call you in Ally-Net?” patiently explained sergeant.
Danila was confused and blurted out: “Black-Dag”.
“I thought so,” said sergeant with an unreadable expression. “This spring wrecked my greatest game combination, Dag.”
Second sergeant slowly moved his visual apparatus, trying, apparently, to understand the unusual situation. So Danila could not understand — although it was already clear. He blinked hard and looked for a trick.
The young sergeant realized this and held out his hand for a handshake: “Oh-Yoo-Pure-Thing. We met there, like.”
“Oh-Yoo…” Danila repeated and finally realized. “Ah. I knew that you are of these.”
“Good for you”, said sergeant. “Move over”.
He stood beside Danila.
Sergeant looked around with satisfaction and asked: “What do they say in Ally-Net, have somebody other ideas?”
“No,” said Danila frantically.
“Vassilich, tell our guys to rest yet,” said the young sergeant old one, trying to move into an active phase — however, while he could only swing face and led hands in front of his stomach.
“We’ll be here at least till night,” promised young sergeant. “We keep all here clean and tidy. I personally see to it.”

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