Though the night was freezing, a calm mood filled the streets of Angel Falls. While Bardak monitored the city from a 3 story building, he couldn't help but notice the streets were beginning to fill up with soldiers from all branches of the armed forces on leave for the holidays. Memories of his past began to fill his mind as he saw soldiers returning to their family and friends.
"Just because you’re now a General, doesn't mean you can't see your family every now and then, or must I schedule an appointment, Mr. Big Shot”?
"Ha, it’s good to see you too father." Bardak replied when he first became a General.
“Good work Bardak; you just might be officer material.”
“Thank you, Sergeant” Bardak replied as a young cadet.
"Sir, permission to maliciously injure everyone into a coma who dares to take a bite of the surprise dish I created for this occasion."
Bardak chuckled as a young captain, "Permission granted, Anuna."
Though he came back to reality after he sensors detected someone approaching he position.
Olga noticed the black armored figure of Bardak from her nightly patrol. His silhouette was quite unmistakable given his distinctive looking helmet. She touched down on the roof of the building he was standing on, her boots crunching on the frozen gravel beneath her. From here she could see the General's breath so she knew it must be quite cold out, not being able to register the temperature properly by herself. The process that had created her into the Soviet super-weapon made her all but invulnerable to only the most extreme forms of heat or cold. Olga smiled warmly as she made her way over, the General himself having turned to see her.
"Greetings Comrade General. It is a cold night da?"
"Greetings Olga. My sensors indicate its 15 degrees Fahrenheit out tonight, though my armor has been designed to withstand extreme cold temperatures. May I ask what are you doing here?" Bardak replied
"Just on patrol really. Your armor may keep you warm, but is rather distinctive looking Comrade General. Making sure that the troops are making it in safely?" she said motioning to the disembarking soldiers below.
"Indeed, these soldiers put their lives on the line to protect this country. They earned some shore-leave for the holidays." he said while watching over the soldiers reuniting with their family.
"By the way, how are things going with Maia and you?" Bardak asked while looking at Olga curiously.
"Things go quite well Comrade General. We have found it best that we avoid speaking of politics at home and that makes a big difference. She shows me how to use something called the Tee-Vo and I cook for her some authentic Soviet dishes. It is working out very much well." Olga said smiling as she thought back to their first and last political battle. She would rather face a horde of Fourth Reich super-soldiers than go through that again.
"I'm glad hear things are going so well for you too" Bardak said smiling with a warm tone. As he turned back to the street, he stop smiling and let out a low sigh.
The former Russian farm-girl frowned noticing her friend's obvious change in demeanor. "What is it Comrade General? Something troubles you da?"
"It’s nothing really...it’s just..." Bardak was soon interrupted when his BTR was going off. After getting out his BTR and entering his codes, he was shocked to see what was on his screen. He then transferred the message and coordinates to his helmet then looked at Olga.
"Olga, I just received a distress call from a transport plane on its way to Angel Falls. It’s been hit by a severe hail storm. Two of the aircraft's engines have been heavily damaged and there running low on fuel. By my estimates, the plane will crash in 37 minutes."
The woman known as the Soviet Superwoman met his grim expression with one of her own. She involuntarily began to hover in the air, her boots lifting off the ground a few feet.
"Which direction General, I will meet you there!"
"No need, we'll get there together" Bardak said as he got out his BTR. After typing in a few commands, he stood close to Olga, and then pressed two buttons on his BTR. A bright light suddenly engulfed both of them and they appeared on the bridge of Bardak's ship.
After a moment of being disoriented, the Soviet juggernaut looked around the bridge of the General's command vessel. It was a bright, highly advanced command center with smooth and highly durable bulkheads and holographic user interface devices expanding out of console tops. The General moved quickly, sitting down at the helm and began to rapidly type on one of the holographic panels. Olga looked out the main-viewer to see they were already on approach to the injured Lockheed C-130 Hercules. Smoke was belching out of both of its starboard engines as it was pelted by the vicious hailstorm. The doomed plane was descending towards the ocean at a staggering rate of speed.
"There," Bardak said as he continued to lock in commands, "I've jammed all communications and radar in a 10 mile radius. I'm going to move alongside it and focus on it with my ship's tractor beams. I'll need you to fly over and help me make sure those engines don't explode."
Olga nodded, clenching her fingers tight into her gloves as she watched the crippled military aircraft.
He then flew the Helios directly over the Hercules, protecting the aircraft from the falling hail, and then engaged his tractor beam. Once the Hercules was secure in mid-air, Bardak entered the codes to open one of the Helios's air-lock. As fast as a bullet, Soviet Superwoman flew out of the air lock and flew towards the two burning starboard engines. Smoke, engine debris, and flames clouded her sight while limiting her breathing; but that didn't stop her. She then grabbed both engines, unaffected by the intense heat, and then completely ripped the engines from the plane. While holding the engine over her head, the Helios tractor beam suddenly suspended the broken engines in mid-air along with the Hercules. Knowing the Hercules was safe; Soviet-Superwoman immediately flew towards the side hatch of the plane.
The Soviet Superwoman flew alongside the hatch and tapped on the steel door several times. A few seconds later a pair of soldiers slid the door open and let her aboard, quickly slamming it shut behind her. As Olga looked around the plane she could see it was packed with combat veterans returning home from active duty. They were all strapped in tight and bracing for the worst. Upon seeing her board the plane though they immediately began to cheer and looked visibly relieved. Having her here meant the chances of them plummeting to their deaths in the ice cold waters off of Angel Falls shot down to zero. At the moment, none of them were thinking about how the plane was being held steady as she was in front of them. A few of the passengers were injured, but it didn't look like anything too serious to her untrained eye.
"Everyone remain calm please” she said in a loud, clear voice, "you will be putting down in Angel Falls in a matter of moments."
She then moved towards the cabin at the front of the plane to discuss things with the pilots. While Soviet-Superwoman made her way to the cockpit, Bardak opened a channel with the pilots.
"C-130 Hercules, this is General Bardak commanding the U.R.S.S. Helios, what is your status?"
"Unknown, sir! Our starboard engines are completely gone yet we're not in the ocean. Also, Our port engines are active and we have the throttles at full but we're not moving, sir" one of the pilots said with confusion.
"I have you in my ships tractor beam; you'll be towed to the nearest airport. Soviet-Superwoman is currently on-board assisting the passengers. Please give her your full cooperation."
Both pilots were shocked to hear such news but replied in unison, "Yes, sir!"
After he ended the transmission, Bardak thought revealing his ship to the people at the airport could cause a great amount of chaos. He then entered his command codes into his helm, transporting multiple holo-emitters around his ship.
The muscular Slavic woman entered the cockpit just as the General was finishing his transmission. The entire flight crew turned around to see her, the once fear in their eyes transforming into hope. Two of Angel Falls Alpha level superheroes were helping them get through this. Where once death was a certainty now they had more than a fighting chance to live.
"I removed the malfunctioning engine. Now the risk to the plane is very low with the General's tow beams engaged." she said in a confident sounding voice.
The pilot nodded. "When the engine ripped away we all thought that was it."
"I apologize for the scare comrades. I will remain aboard as the General takes us in to make sure that no other disasters befall you."
"Thank you ma'am,” said the rattled co-pilot, "and can I say we are all honored to have you aboard."
Olga smiled "Thank you sir. There was a time when my presence on a United States military vessel would not have been as such."
Meanwhile on Bardak's ship, more of Bardak past suddenly filled his mind. He began seeing images of events from his past.
"Sir, there is a Chtranqua warship on an intercept course…its charging weapons. " said Bardak as a young ensign at the helm
"Bardak to Dr. Shaeki...prepare to receive incoming patients. Bridge to transporter room 5...beam all injured Horians directly to the medical bay." Bardak said while typing commands in his control panel as the captain on board the U.R.S.S. Solomon
Bardak quickly came back to reality as he heard a proximity alarm going off, informing him they are 5 minutes from visual range of the AF airport. Bardak then entered his command codes into his helm, activating all the holo-emitters placed all over his ship. The emitter projected a wide photonic field around Bardak's ship and tractor beam, disguising his ship as a Lockheed aircraft and his tractor beam as multiple grappling hooks.
Both Bardak's ship and the crippled aircraft landed on a commercial runway, away for the arriving and departing planes. Already fire trucks and ambulances were racing across the tarmacs to greet them. One of the soldiers in the back of the plane deployed the emergency landing slide and the returning military personnel were evacuating the downed transport. Olga made sure that the injured were helped off the plane. The flight control team each shook her hand as they made their way off and when the plane was completely empty the Soviet Superwoman descended to the ground outside. Luckily, the media had not yet arrived, but it would only be a matter of time. She gave a thumbs up signal to the General to let him know that everyone was off before making her way back over to his camouflaged vessel.
As soon as she entered, Bardak closed the hatch and was preparing to take off. Knowing it would raise a lot of suspicion and confusion if he took off without using the runway, Bardak steered his ship to an empty runway and used it to take off. He then entered a course to take them back to their original location.
Olga was quiet as she watched the General maneuver his magnificent airship. Something about him seemed different to her though. He seemed tired looking, the lines on his brow furrowed as if he were in deep thought or deep concentration. His hands worked. At first Olga thought he was simply coming down from the previous excitement, but there was something else there. She waited a long few moments before she spoke, breaking the awkward silence that had enclosed them both together.
"Comrade General, Is everything alright?"
Bardak looked away, knowing she sensed something was wrong with him. Knowing she might understand what he is going through, he activated the auto-pilot, and then he sat up straight and turned to her.
"I'm sure you already went through what I think I'm going through. I guess after all this time; being trapped in this dimension, my memories decided to re-appear at random times and it’s starting to make me feel homesick for the Republic and while reminding me of times I want to forget."
Olga nodded slowly, letting him read her emotions as her answer.
Coming to Angel Falls had not at all been of her own design and it had been sudden and violent. Everything she knew, her entire world had been burned away from her like ash and she was left in a strange, futuristic place. A parody of the world she had known her entire life. Up was down and black was white. It had taken her a few years to simply acclimate to the new time and place let alone fall in love, marry and have any semblance of a social life, but all the while she was haunted by what was happening to her home. Were they victorious despite her loss and driven off the alien invaders...were they suffering and struggling still...or was it already over long ago and nothing remained of her homeland but skeletons and charred husks of buildings in the landscape. Most of the time these thoughts were kept far away by the day to day situations here in Angel Falls but every once and awhile they would grow huge in her mind and bear down on her as if they did not want to be forgotten. She knew more than anything what Bardak was going through emotionally.
"When you first arrived in Angel Falls...How did you react to everything being more advanced than you own time period? Bardak said curiously.
"Well, it was very disorienting... Dizzying. Everything was so very confusing but at the same time I was curious. You must also remember that it was not just the technology but the way people talked and dressed...the openness was staggering. It was nothing like I had ever experienced. It was all so overwhelming and at times I still do not think I understand the simplest things. The most interesting thing in retrospect was likewise how much people were interested in me, like I was an antique or link to the past. Is that how it felt for you, like you were looking at the antiques of the past?"
"Well sort of... At first, I thought I crashed on another planet in one of the farthest reaches of the galaxy. For hours, I tried to contact any Republic outpost, ship, even headquarters itself; but I didn't get any response from anyone or any signal from any form of starships. I wasn't until I picked up some ancient Earth radio frequencies that haven't been used in over 90 years that I realized I had to be on Earth. After I scanned for the nearest city, which was the city called Angel Falls; I disguised my ship and headed for the city. I traveled for days on those primitive concrete roads and was constantly being bombarded by the loud honking noise made from those "cars" when they got near me. When I arrived at the city, I was surprised to see everything all chaotic, primitive, and disorganized. Though after a few days, I quickly adapted and accepted the fact that I was in a different time period. How long did it take you to adapt?
"It was more difficult than just a few days. Everything had changed. The world as I had known it was completely gone. A computer more powerful than anything at all in my universe could now be held in the palm of your hand. News from around the globe could be yours to read or watch instantly. It felt smaller...but it also felt less personal. I do not enjoy saying this but I was afraid, Comrade General. All I wanted to do was go back home, the one thing I could not do. It would seem you had the easier time acclimating."
Bardak lightly chuckled, "Well if you put it that way, I guess I did have an easier time, but that's only because I had some help adjusting to this primitive version of my world."
"Well this world is very fortunate to have you, your selflessness and your abilities Comrade." Olga smiled.
Bardak arched his brow and smiled, "Aren't we the modest one?"
"I am telling you nothing but the truth as I have seen it. Dwelling on one's past is something I have had to struggle with for a long time. A personal demon. Let us instead look to the future and the great goods that we can both accomplish da?"
Bardak chuckled, "Well, you could say I'm already a part of that future and what you see around you is one of the millions of great goods humanity as accomplished...at least they will eventually. Thank you Olga, it feels nice knowing there is at least one person in this dimension or the next that can understand what I going though. "
"Likewise Comrade General." Olga said smiling. "If I might ask a favor? Since we are already aboard such a magnificent vessel and your capabilities are much faster than my own, could we perhaps make a detour to France? I have something in mind to purchase for my Возлюбленная, if is not too much troubles."
Bardak smirked at her request, nodded and entered a new course into his helm."
First a major thanks to
for coming up with this collaboration and then commissioning this amazing piece of art by our good friend
, who has mastered both of our characters perfectly. His images are full of mood and atmosphere and I appreciate all the time and careful thought he puts into them.
is an exceptional author and the creator/owner of General Bardak. Please stop by his page and read more of his tales with this inventive and original character. Working on this story with him was, as always, a delight.
Soviet Superwoman is my creation and property.
This co-written tale takes place in