HubertDeLayle

Two sides of the same coin

Dec 21st, 2019
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  1. --"Army is like a genie from old arab tales. It can grant your any wish, yet it will corrupt it beyond any recognition. Do you want power? Become an officer, and you will be able to do with your subordinates absolutely anything. Nowhere else than in army you can have so much power over individuals, to fullfill any of your orders, or desires. Yet more powerful you get - more you have to fear. Military prosecution, highest command that notices you more and more, FSB of course. Your every word and move could become your downfall, and before you notice, your life becomes nightmare of paranoic. Want just money? Ministry of Defence has tons of it. Stable good salary, additional medical coverage - from the start, and good pension with castle to live when you retire colonel. You will travel the country, and maybe abroad, for free, in your detached duties. As your life become just duty. As you don't see your family for years. As you are getting used to go to sleep in unit instead of house because then it will be at least three hours. As all your interests, hobbies, wash away, leaving in your life nothing but duty. As you retire with all wealth you earned and you simply have no use of it, except maybe drinking Chivas instead of just vodka. Want to protect your country? Of course, Russia waits for its heroes. Even before "reload" there always were somewhere to secure national interests. I will skip usual "War is hell" gritty stuff, comrades you lose, still it can justify protection of country, right? Then what about this: while you protect your country outside, you have no word in what happens inside. Parties change, government doesn't. When you return, after all this suffering, what is a better feel then to see that everyone you cared forgot about you, everything you cared destroyed, everything you treasured stolen, rebranded and sold to you? But I was warned, nothing of that was a surprise to me."
  2. >"And why did you go then?"
  3. >Man in old coat, put over rugged shirt and black jeans, gasped and answered in mic he held by hand which missed ring finger.
  4. "Well, i just wanted to find myself, I guess."
  5. >"And was that wish corrupted as well?"
  6. >Blogger decided to cut out what followed, as discussion slowly became personal, lexis quickly became vulgar, and some unfortunate events happened to him. But our story is not about him. Our story is about that man in a coat and what happened after he broke blogger's face.--
  7.  
  8.  
  9. >Five-storey concrete box stack with dozens of TV plates carefully hid police department from main road. As such, I sat near detective's cabinet, next to person I got in fight with.
  10. "You okay?"
  11. >"How do you think?"
  12. >I reached with arms to face of this rich kid with strange accent, as he get scared and leaned of.
  13. "Relax, I am just handing my handkerchief, yours is drenched already."
  14. >He slowly took it from my left hand, anxiously staring in my eyes.
  15. "T-thanks."
  16. >He threw out now red cloth in near garbage bin.
  17. "You aren't Russian, are you?"
  18. >His face, surprised to a friendliness of some stranger who swore to kill him half an hour ago, answered for itself.
  19. >"American. Work here, decided to start channel about life in Russia."
  20. "Well, your accent is almost not noticeable."
  21. >Cabinet's door opened, as officer shoed off woman, who sounds like had something off.
  22. >"I tell you, it is insured, you don't need to find it, just start the case."
  23. >"And I get another “unsolved” in my portfolio - no thanks. Exit is in that direction. Don't you see I am busy?"
  24. >As that, officer turned to us.
  25. >"Go in already!"
  26. >So I did, sat in chair next to the table, while my victim sat on next one.
  27. >"You filed the plea already, I hope."
  28. >My victim looked at me, then at him.
  29. >"I couldn't. Blood poured, so..."
  30. >Officer gasped and started writing plea down from his words.
  31. "Comrade Lieutenant, can we find a way without proceeding?"
  32. >"What do you mean? Bribe, comrade?.."
  33. "Anonymous. I mean, I overreacted, I agree, so for my misbehavior I can do something for him, and maybe for you since we took your time."
  34. >He stopped writing, handing over paper and pen to American. He signed it.
  35. >"So, John, you don't want it?"
  36. >Foreigner stared at desk for a second.
  37. >"Probably I agree. I mean, I need to pay for medical assistance since I have no passport, plus I would like to taste Chives he mentioned."
  38. >Phew.
  39. "Done. Comrade lieutenant, I heard recently Capitan Morgan was assigned in your department, is it true?"
  40. >Officer strangely looked at me.
  41. >"Okay, that was quick. Mister John, you can go, when he fulfills his part you can withdraw your plea. Mister Anon, i need you for one more question."
  42. >So he wants something different?
  43. >As American handed me his address and phone number, he left.
  44. >"Mister Anon, you returned just after ceasefire, right?"
  45. >I nodded. Maybe i fill the profile of some suspect.
  46. "Three days ago i was demobilized."
  47. >"You were in..."
  48. "Chemical Corps. Was on frontline with aliens for 7 month, checking the weather."
  49. >He painfully smiled. Looks like civilians learned about how these ponies behave with "weather checkers".
  50. >"Position."
  51. "Chemist. Last three months - commander of vehicle."
  52. >”Disability?”
  53. >Is he about ring finger?
  54. “Amputated while I was in enemy’s deep rear.”
  55. >"Want to join police?"
  56. >That was sudden.
  57. "Excuse me?"
  58. >"We have huge shortage, and we could have a use of former military who knows how to command as an operative. And you probably need to find a job anyway."
  59. >Well that is true.
  60. "Honestly, I will consider this, but not in next week certainly. My liver is still operational, and i have to fix this."
  61. >He giggled.
  62. >"Okay, i get you. Still, you see, I save you trouble. Wouldn't it be nice if you saved me trouble in return?"
  63. >What is he talking about?
  64. "I thought i already hinte-"
  65. >"Yeah-yeah, no. No. I don't take bribes in any form. Yet, you know, i get you. My brother two weeks ago acted absolutely the same. So, what about this. It was not even medium damage to health, right? No bones were broken, just lot of bruises and blood. You assisted him, it softens the punishment, just as this being your first crime and you being recently demobilized. So your crime is qualified as just misdemeanor and you will not even have criminal record. You will be just fined and directed on public works."
  66. >Oh, so we have here Mister Tenet?
  67. "Well, you want me to clean your boss's car or what?"
  68. >"Khem... no. I want my district to be statistically crime free and have good reputation. I will make it not go anywhere and proceed as fast as possible, but you will have to sign in for Reintegration Program."
  69. >Maybe strict law abidance is what keeps him from going insane in now insane world? Whatever his reasons are, what he offers sounds not that bad.
  70.  
  71. >THE. FUCK. IS. THIS. PROGRAMM?
  72. >Are they seri- fuck.
  73. >Okay, you know what? We live in fucking era of social media, so why not record myself and post it.
  74. >As i took out my ne smartphone, i found where "camera" option is and started.
  75. "Okay, good part of the day, whatever shitlord who clicked that link. Now, you see Center of Reintegration for south-west of Moscow. Let's talk to the manager. Hi there, mind if I ask few questions?"
  76. >Manager, shy looking girl with white skirt, b-cup and glasses, was stumbled by my rash behavior.
  77. >"Of course. Can you just turn of the camera?"
  78. "No! Who this center aims to reintegrate?"
  79. >"T-t-this center aims are to help return to normal life for war captives, who yet due to international situation cannot be traded with Equestria, by-"
  80. "SO.. You say that our government instead of helping guys like me find a job, compensate for destroyed house, help to get in university, INSTEAD, it wastes money on centers to help *poor little ponies* that massacred million in one attack and multiple times tried to kill me?"
  81. >"C-can you turn off the camera please?"
  82. "No, I like filming beauties like you!"
  83. >She took out phone.
  84. "I will call the police if you do not turn down the camera, sir."
  85. >So i turned down. Not out of fear, but because it bored me already.
  86. "Wait, but seriously?"
  87. >She suddenly smirked.
  88. >"If you ever used your head, you would get that they save money this way."
  89. >What?
  90. >"Sir, what have you came here for?"
  91. >Now I stumbled.
  92. "Well, i was said to sign in for Reintegration Program. I though this is... for me, not..."
  93. >"Well, no, for now for vets there are only private charity programs. If you need psychological help, i know-"
  94. "I don't need help. I was just said to be signed here. What it will do?"
  95. >"You will be given one war captive to take care of. If you prove you have where to live and means of spending, that is."
  96. "And how often you will check me up?"
  97. >"Two times a week we will call you."
  98. >At least it is not bothersome... WHAT?
  99. "Wait, you give out aliens to be taken care by to anyone and do not check personally?"
  100. >"Well, that is why we demand money for this."
  101. "You sell them?"
  102. >She glanced at my phone, probably fearing i started recording again.
  103. >"Money are kept as guarantee, of course. You can return them by returning the captive."
  104. >Now i need clarification.
  105. "Wait, can i resel- give alien under someone else's responsibility if documented?"
  106. >"Yes, you can. I mean, this law is already a month, pony trafficking is already discussed dozens of times on TV, and you get it only now? Where have you been, in shack?"
  107. "I just demobilized."
  108. >"Oh..Oh. I am sorry. And you are here?.."
  109. "Because officer said to sign in here to increase statistic of district or some shit."
  110. >"Well... okay. Can i have your phone for a minute?"
  111. >As I hand it over to her, I nod. She turned it off and continued.
  112. >"Some vets buy aliens to get... psychological feedback. For what you suffered from their kind. I don't suggest, just saying that if you are into something like that - do it in secluded area. We don't care what you do with them as long as it is not reported on."
  113.  
  114. >We walked down in basement with that deceptively nice manager. It was not like a prison here, more like dorms of illegal immigrants. While from outside Center looked fashionable, here walls were covered with cracks, some strange smell filled the air.
  115. >"We have only one left, and since you are obliged to take it i will not hide: it was not taken by anyone for a good reason."
  116. "And what that reason is?"
  117. >"It is violent magic user who knows Russian. Former owner found dead in suspicious circumstances, she later was found in suburbs, in house of some minor mob boss she allegedly killed. Magic suppressor, hoof cuffs and leash are for additional price, let me warn you."
  118. >The hell I got myself into?
  119. "Wait, if i am obliged to take it, why should i pay?"
  120. >She stood for a second and nodded.
  121. "If you give me order from PD, then yes. Still, you will have to pay for "additional equipment"."
  122. >Now, you see, legalizing slavery is not the most ridiculous thing new government did while i was away. It was a surprise, but honestly, in a "this popular app got update" way, not really in a world changing manner.
  123. >Yet I still had trouble accessing with what i have to deal with. Main problem was, of course, not a slavery.
  124. >It was just a fact that i have to live with an alien. Like those that i confronted last 7 months. Like one of whose brains i had to clean off my AFV's wheels. Like...
  125. >I never thought of them as monsters. Less than humans - yes. They are sentient, but still there is something off about them.
  126. >Though their children are cute. I have to give them that – they never used child soldiers. Of whatever horrors they inflicted on us – they made sure their young generations could stay out of whatever fuss adults have.
  127. >I remember two foals finding our hidden position, and how innocent their smiles were. Still, they could give out information about where we are. So I volunteered to walk with them to nearest village, hoping they will not attack us afterwards out of conscience.
  128. >Rifles were pointed to me from windows, all villagers hid, except one armed pegasi, who rushed at me from sky and started stomping in ground. As I just endured it, foals finally shouted in equestrian, something like “He is a friend, he is nice”, and pegasi released me. He even said “Sorry, thanks” in broken Russian.
  129. >And just as I returned to our position, we were hit by artillery fire. But at least we already prepared to rush out, so we just got two three-hundred. So much as “Thank you”.
  130. >Well, we gave our artillery coordinates of this village with enemy troops entrenched in it, so they sent them our “You are welcome”.
  131. >Still, war is over. Well, almost over. I can say “corpse” instead of “two hundred” and “wounded” instead of “three hundred” already. And how it will differ to meet alien now, without arms pointed at each other?
  132. >Manager opened the door. In the rear stood white unicorn with rug to cover her body. Her hair were sawn off, muzzle was covered by silencer, hoofs chained to each other, and leash tied to heating battery.
  133. >I was used to see aliens as threat. I never vilified them, I, you know, just wanted to stay alive while doing my missions.
  134. >Yet now, I saw no threat. As she shriveled to sudden light, that showed some bruises on face and cuts on neck, the only thing I saw is pitiful creature, scared of living and more so of dying.
  135. >This image still stands in my memory - first time I saw her.
  136. "Does it has a name?"
  137. >Manager looked at some papers.
  138. >"Yeah, Vinyl. Vinyl Scratch. I will give you copy of her papers when you take her."
  139. >This alien widened her eyes and pointed ears at us. She tried to move to us, but leash stopped her and she fell back on the ground, knocking over her canteen.
  140. >And why her name reminds me of something?
  141. >"How will you transport her to you home?"
  142. >Well, that was sudden.
  143. "Taxi, i guess. It will cost fortune, but looks there is little of possibilities."
  144. >"At least you are in right mind. So, you agree?"
  145. "I have a choice?"
  146. >She gasped.
  147. >"Just let's go formalize everything upstairs. You do understand i am legally obliged to ask this question?"
  148. >Ah, same old self-fuckery. I guess it is part not only of military, but of any governmental work.
  149.  
  150. >As i signed the paper, manager took out something like that apparatus that i saw on horn of unicorn in basement.
  151. >"Now, this suppressor opens like this... And closes like this..."
  152. >As she showed, i carefully watched.
  153. "Why would i need to put it off her?"
  154. >"Well, maybe you will like each other and you will be good master. Or, more probable, for her self-protection."
  155. "Care to explain?"
  156. >"Her last owner was killed. Crime is at all-time high nowadays, so any situation can occur. You will be not always near to protect your property, while they"-she smirked-"know a thing or two about fighting. They are war prisoners after all."
  157. "And if she uses magic to run off?"
  158. >"Well, it will be not my problem, so do what you want. Again, i am obliged to show how equipment works."
  159. >She quickly stacked papers, handed out my copies of documents and stood up.
  160. >"Finally, we don't need to do shifts here. We are empty, i am glad having business with you, we will contact about status of money transfer."
  161. "Of course. Mind you, can you assist me with transporting this alien to my house?"
  162. >"Is that some kinky way to invite me to your flat?"
  163. >Well, to hell with it. Maybe it really is?
  164. "I mean, i don't know how to set things up. Plus, it looks like you don't need to stay here, and I have some refreshments back at home. What is better than this after workday?"
  165.  
  166. >So, after some resistance, she finally gave in. She had a car, so i saved money on taxi as well.
  167. >Alien acted submissively, following leash. As we put her in luggage boot, so that it would not damage upholstery.
  168. >As we drove, she started talking about her. Turns out her name is Katya, she just got philologist degree right before "Reload".
  169. >Since even before "reload" it was hard to find a job of her specialty, she in last year already tried herself as translator, journalist, drug courier, and now she got into Reintegration Center thanks to her basic knowledge of Equestrian, which she learned from FSB officer who was "protecting" their drug cell in St. Petersburg. Why usual courier communicated with the "roof" - it is not stated. Therefore, I talked a little about myself as well.
  170. >As that, we drove to my flat.
  171. >"You live here?"
  172. "Yeah, next two weeks at least. Calm neighborhood, away from all places of gatherings."
  173. >Alien in luggage boot fell asleep. As I shook her up, pony jumped out and followed leash as Katya locked the car.
  174. >Now, to be honest, i wasn't prepared for this turnabout. If it was my house, it would be in a huge mess, but i just moved in. All i had mine in this 2-room flat was laptop, 2 sets of clothing and hygiene stuff, as well as folder with documents. I am used to put back on place and clean what is not mine (though such habit was developed from covering tracks in barracks rather than from neatness), so even all dishes were washed. All i had to do is to rush and hide few old socks.
  175. >As i did just that, i looked at shelve near the sink on kitchen. Flat owner said that just in case they were there... Yes, they are.
  176. >I put candles on a table, fired them, and looked in a fridge. Well, I had something, but not according the circumstances. Still, table should not be empty.
  177. >So i put Jameson and bag of crisps on a table. As that, Katya already walked in.
  178. >As I helped her to take off, she looked around, noticing few reminding notes with dates 4 month old.
  179. >”Former owner is missing?”
  180. “Well, yeah. I took his farewell letter to his mom, so she allowed me to stay in his flat for first time.”
  181. >”Sorry to hear. Well, what are your plans?”
  182. “What about ordering some food? I heard it is already two months as Moscow returned to usual flow.”
  183. >”Well, since you surely haven’t touched your bank account yet, you probably can afford it.”
  184. >Wait, is she that pragmatic? Looks like she noticed my stare.
  185. >”What? Or why do you think I agreed to come to total stranger? I want some good time I cannot usually afford. Have a problem with that?”
  186. “Eh, no. Quite the opposite, at least you are honest. Now, about alien…”
  187. >So we placed food plate and water canteen in hallway, leashed alien to battery, as I decided to take off her muzzle. Not like I really cared about her at that moment, but common goodness is never extra. I also patted her head while at it.
  188. “Hush, now sleep. Tomorrow we will find out what to do with you.”
  189. >Katya, meanwhile, opened Jameson.
  190. >”It is strange that you, vets, are most kind to them. With few exceptions, of course.”
  191. >Well, that is so civilian thing to say.
  192. ”It is because we get them. What they have been through.”
  193. >”Have you killed their kind?”
  194. >Now, alien that almost fell asleep raised her head.
  195. >Katya, Katya… If it wasn’t for your B-cup… I just took bottle out of her hands.
  196. “Let me serve it. What movie do you want to watch?”
  197.  
  198. >So, when pizza arrived, after third round of shots we agreed to watch “Radio Day”. DVD with it was found by me on shelves in living room, and she said she would like to liven up her mood, and she heard it was a good comedy. As I let her turn everything on, I walked out to bathroom, meeting the gaze of alien.
  199. “What? Everything okay?”
  200. >”I can’t sleep, you are loud.”
  201. >Now she is finally talking. So I lowered my voice.
  202. “Phew. Well, want to watch movie too?”
  203. >Now that alien obviously was surprised.
  204. >”You are serious?”
  205. “Yeah, Katya probably thinks of you as of something like talking parrot, so you will not be a problem.”
  206. >Now she grumped.
  207. “Promise you will behave accordingly? I mean, I try to get some action going, if you didn’t notice, so…”
  208. >”Yeah, okay, spare me from details.”
  209. >As that, I unleashed her.
  210. “Just leave back to hallway or other room in right moment. I will talk to you tomorrow, when she leaves.”
  211. >As I remembered why I went out, I quickly visited bathroom and returned with alien.
  212. “I hope you don’t mind it walking.”
  213. >But Katya did not even cared.
  214. >”Look, everything is set. Pour more shots and let’s start.”
  215.  
  216. >Right from the start of the movie, it got strange. As movie showed Nakhodka, Katya turned to me.
  217. >”Isn’t that strange that while “reload” touched two port cities – it did not affect naval trade?”
  218. “Well, we were lucky that St Petersburg portal opened in suburbs, and Far East one in a sea. I mean, if any other city would be ravaged lust as much as Moscow we would completely lose our shit. Plus, If you talked to non-city dwellers, some of them are actually glad that “reload” happened, especially this way.”
  219. >”Well, yeah, they call Moscow a different country for a reason.”
  220. >While we were at it, movie went forward, and now it showed radio station in “Moscow City”.
  221. “Exactly for that reason. Remember how even near towns look and watch at the screen. It is hard to imagine such disparity in one country.”
  222. >”Have you seen it was rebuild already?”
  223. “What?”
  224. >”Moscow City. It is still contested area, which makes it tax haven, hence a lot of businesses moved back in these skyscrapers, privately paying for its repairing.”
  225. “Well, I really noticed them shine at night. So this is legal to go to contested area now?”
  226. >”Maybe? I don’t know how they justify it.”
  227. “And how it became tax haven?”
  228. >”Look, I was just a courier, I know a thing or two, but no one explained me full picture.”
  229. >Alien, meanwhile, hardly listened our rabble and paid close attention to the screen. Katya took a shot and finally noticed it.
  230. >”Can they understand it?”
  231. “What?”
  232. >”What is on the screen. I mean, dogs sure cannot distinguish pictures on screen, while my cat sometimes acts like it can.”
  233. >Sometimes, I forget just how much off civilians are.
  234. “Well, they are sentient. And it is clearly interested.”
  235. >In movie, meanwhile, three DJs messed around with each other, making work of each other as hard as they can. Alien laughed. Therefore, we stopped talking and continued watching.
  236. >Up until the moment with first Russian band shown.
  237. “They were…”
  238. >”Yeah, yeah. So unfortunate. That song about Vladivostok is still in my playlist.”
  239. >While alien listened to music with smile, she suddenly turned to us.
  240. >”And what happened to them? They sound nice.”
  241. >Both I and Katya went silent. Just opened mouths and glanced at each other. However, alien continued.
  242. >”What?”
  243. “Your kind killed them. In your first unwarned attack.”
  244. >Smile disappeared from alien’s face and turned back to screen.
  245. >”Why you still believe we did it?”
  246. >I hoped that Katya would not catch on to this and theme would be dropped. Yet, of course, she catched on.
  247. >”And you still want us to believe it, huh? Who else could have done it? As far as we know, you are just unsuccessful alien invaders.”
  248. >Unicorn did not even tried to save composure.
  249. >”You, humans, are so full of shit. You invaded our homeland, with supreme technologies, and we defended, no other way around. Ask this guy, he looks like he knows a thing or two.”
  250. >Katya turned to me. She looked absolutely plastered.
  251. “What? Yeah, they did not had such advanced weaponry at first, they reverse engineered our stuff, but we could not attack them first! They opened portals! This alien- Let me walk it out of the room.”
  252. >”No need to. I am going home. I am too tired to deal with their shit outside work.”
  253. >As she stood up, she lost balance at first, but quickly regained it.
  254. “You cannot drive like it. And it is dangerous alone at night.”
  255. >”You are right-”
  256. >As that, she grabbed bottle and right out of it.
  257. >”I will be in next room, without that-”
  258. >She hiccupped and almost went unconscious after stumbling and hitting head with some shelve. As that, I walked her out to the bed, where she fell asleep at lightning speed.
  259. >Now, I wasn’t quite drunk myself yet. Still, my feeling started boiling. I returned in the living room, walked slowly to an alien and grabbed her by back of her neck.
  260. “Tell me - why? Why?”
  261. >Alien’s eyes showed horror, and I was simultaneously sad and glad about such effect.
  262. “Seven fucking month – SEVEN – I spent in your outer world shithole, seven month I dreamed about that moment: returning home, getting drunk with some chick and finally get some action going, but you… Why you fuck this up for me? What have I personally done to you? I don’t beat you, I even allowed you to watch movie with us, so why? Why?”
  263. >Her eyes stopped showing horror.
  264. >”I-I am sorry. You just… I don’t want you to think of us as enemy.”
  265. ”Then you should not have attacked us, you trash.”
  266. >I gulped some more liquor and understood clearly what I want. As I released her, I found her papers on the table.
  267. “Now, let’s check your data, to know what fruit you are. Let me tell you, in army we learn about “personal approach”, so we make full use of our subordinate’s strong wand weak sides. And oh boy did I like abuse weaknesses of my subordinates!”
  268. >It was a bluff, of course, but I quickly got carried away by it. Still, what her name is reminding about?
  269. “Name: Vinyl Scratch. Race: unicorn. Occupation: interrogation expert in Special Lunar Rear platoo- You were in Lunar Forces? I thought only these batwing things were in it.”
  270. >She just glanced at me.
  271. >“They are called “batponies”. And there were two platoons that were formed for deep rear operations, comprised of different races.”
  272. “Whatever. So you are one of those who stole my MREs?”
  273. >Now, she looked like she wanted to make me angry.
  274. >”Well, don’t also forget that we burned down your fuel, cleansed whole units at night, tortured captured officers for informati-”
  275. “And hunting our reconnaissance groups, right?”
  276. >She looked stumbled.
  277. >”Well, yeah-”
  278. “Let me tell you, you sucked at your duties.”
  279. >She looked even more stumbled.
  280. >”Do you even know how much you human kik-”
  281. “I don’t care, because it was not about me, you dipshit. What do you call our NBC reconnaissance?”
  282. >Looks like she does not know Russian ideally.
  283. “Weather checkers.”
  284. >”Oh, we called them “Suicide chicken”.”
  285. >Now, let me tell you – it is not quite bad nickname. After all, we, like chicken, warned whole area about something incoming, and, well, positioning yourself in high places with no coverage for long time really is suicidal.
  286. >Also, documents say she operated near Manehettan.
  287. “So how hard should it be to kill off someone acting suicidal in mountains north-west from Manehatten?”
  288. >She now becomes angry. I quickly sipped from a bottle.
  289. >”Look, it was pyrrhic, but victory. I, myself, was meanwhile in your rear, but- Wait. You were there, weren’t you?”
  290. >I just grimly smiled. And sipped yet again.
  291. >”How much did you massacred this day?”
  292. “Too many to count. Your pegasi are such idiots – to take bait THIS big.”
  293. >”Wait, it doesn’t add up. Reports said that yeah, pegasi battalion went almost extinct, but they still captured recon regiment that baited them under machine guns and artillery fire. And you are here. You are bullshitting, aren’t you?”
  294. “Nope. I was there. And I was captured. It is just unlike you, I had balls to buy my freedom back. With blood and sweat.”
  295. >Now, finally, alien was in confusion.
  296. ”I tell you, I don’t want any of your shit, so let’s do it this way-”
  297. >I broke almost empty bottle and pointed it at her.
  298. “I release your horn. You try to run off. I try to stop you. You attack me, I kill you in self-defence. Or you don’t believe I know how to beat magic user?”
  299. >While she looked at me in horror, she moved her glance to my hand with bottle.
  300. >”So that is how you lost ring finger?”
  301. >Wait, what?
  302. >”You hate us for this? For this ring you were put on when captured?”
  303. >Is she trying to reason me?
  304. >Wait, what am I doing?
  305. >When Katya went asleep, battle was half empty. Does it mean I drank what was left already?
  306. >As I dropped shattered bottle, I finally noticed that some shards also damaged my hand.
  307. “I… look, I am a little plastered. I... have problems controlling myself.”
  308. >”I see. Don’t worry, we are all like this. On both sides, I believe. You would not want to see me drunk…”
  309. >Wait, this is good idea! I never saw drunk alien! Now it is perfect time to try!
  310. “Stay here for a moment!”
  311. >As I walked… well, moved at least, to kitchen, I grabbed some Talka from fridge and returned.
  312. “Now, sorry for bad introductions, let me show you Russian hospitality. Now when this gold digger is asleep, I can allow it myself.”
  313. >As I poured shots, I moved one to unicorn. She was confused as fuck, but still grabbed it.
  314. >”For fixing our relations as a species?”
  315. “No, it will be second toast. Let first one be mine.”
  316. >So I said it in Equestrian. It surely should sound broken, but still I learned some of it while was captured.
  317. “For one hospitable pony in Ponyville who was my master and wasn’t actually a bitch!”
  318. >”Cheers!”
  319. >Well, she did not even allow me to finish and just gulped it down? It is rude! Yet I will finish anyway.
  320. “For Octavia!”
  321. >And now unicorn choked. Did I said something wrong?
  322. >First my body woke up, then I myself.
  323. >I lied on some wooden bench, Vinyl lied on my chest. She was in some bathrobe, red one so to speak. Light was rather dim, and bars laid their shadow on my face.
  324. >As you know, after enough dosage of alcohol short-term memory stops being recorded in long-term one. While in process, you still catch the drift, but limit of short-term memory is two hours.
  325. >I once read this thing in some article and now I remember it each my hangover. Don’t know why.
  326. >Anyway, I startled the unicorn until it woke up. Her face looked bad, and now I thought of how bad I should look.
  327. “Where we are?”
  328. >”Duh, in police department.”
  329. “What have we done?
  330. >”You don’t remember, huh?”
  331. “Nothing after I opened Talka.”
  332. >She coughed and started.
  333. >”Well, after serving first shot you insisted on continuing with the movie, each time new band appeared you started to SING every their song you remembered. Then bottle almost finished, so we went together to search for open market at night. Then… well, then you recorded, just watch it.”
  334. “Wasn’t my phone taken?”
  335. >”Oh, no, they just dropped our drunk bodies there after beating up.”
  336. >And so, I took out my phone. It was almost dead, but I guess I could watch last video.
  337. >It started with my face staring at camera.
  338. --Time is 3 o’clock. We are wasted!
  339. >Meanwhile, Vinyl on background, dressed in same bathrobe, played with empty bottle.
  340. >--Buckball!
  341. --My friend decided to teach me buckball!
  342. >--Like. This.
  343. >And she kicked (bucked?) bottle at full force somewhere. My drunk hand somehow cinematically followed its flight, as it landed on front window of patrol car and shattered to pieces, breaking the window.
  344. --SICK!
  345. >And quickly, patrols ran out of the car, and phone dropped two seconds later. After hearing some profanity, some hand grabbed my hand outside of footage, and I raised my head.
  346. >”Why you weren’t searc- Oh, it is you again.”
  347. “Comrade Lieutenant…”
  348. >He probably just arrived to work and noticed us, as he was in civilian clothes.
  349. ”I did what you asked me for, as you see.”
  350. >”Why the fuck you are here again?”
  351. “I am not sure. I try to figure this out as well.”
  352. >”Okay, you are probably my case. Again. God I need to stop arriving at time at work. Now give your phone and other stuff.”
  353. >So I handed out my wallet, phone and keys. After waiting for an hour, struggling for life due to dehydration, door finally opened again, and we were walked to familiar cabinet.
  354. >He already was in uniform, filing some documents.
  355. >”Sit.”
  356. >Now, there was a water bottle standing on the table. I opened my palm, and he nodded.
  357. >”What you did qualify as attack on government worker while he is performing his duties.”
  358. >I gulped.
  359. >”However, you are lucky, and those patrols were demobilized two months ago as well. They agreed to forget what happened if you don’t go to hospital or record bruises you got and fix their window. Aside from obvious.”
  360. >He stopped writing. Only now I noticed that it was plea for time off due to overwork.
  361. >”Please move out of that district. Or at least drink less. I don’t want to deal with your shit daily.”
  362. >I just shrugged.
  363. “Well, what about her?”
  364. >”She is your responsibility. Also, for record, if she kills someone – it is you, not her, who will go to prison. On your place I would not let her run around without leash so easy.”
  365. >Then he turned to Vinyl.
  366. >”I am sorry, but he should know that. No hard feelings.”
  367. >Wait, does he know her?
  368. >”She was a witness on two cases I ran. One with her former owner.”
  369. >Does he read minds?
  370. “Look, can we go now? Where can we find those patrols?”
  371. >”In resting room. Now let us never meet again. Good luck.”
  372. >Why it went so easy? What was the- oh. “Don’t record bruises”, huh.
  373. >Looks like their commanders already fucked them over and over for what happened and ordered to cover tracks.
  374. >But why would they? I just recorded, but… wait.
  375. >As we went back to main hall, my belongings were returned. As I took my phone and checked it – yeah. Yeah. I uploaded it.
  376. >I grabbed my head and fell on the floor.
  377. >I finally noticed Vinyl, who placed hoof on my shoulder.
  378. >”What happened?”
  379. “Well… who knows. Let’s just get it over with.”
  380. >So, I walked to the resting room, where two patrols slept on couches.
  381. “Atten-SHUN!”
  382. >Two patrols anxiously got up, put on their caps. And stared at me, first with confusion, then with anger.
  383. >”What the-”
  384. “Let’s ride fix your car. I believe you know some local repair store?”
  385.  
  386. >As we stood roadhouse, we each enjoyed some meal. Vinyl enjoyed some kind of bun and coffee, I and patrols were enjoying shawerma and beer.
  387. “Well, I am glad your car is so old, or else it would cost fortune.”
  388. >One of patrols sipped his coffee and proceeded.
  389. >“Well, we are sorry we acted this way. We at first thought that you are these drugged up activist types. You also made it hard for us.”
  390. “What do you mean?”
  391. >”While this pony laid down on ground instantly, you first kicked me in most treasured parts before we immobilized you. And you almost have bitten me.”
  392. >The fuck? I kicked them in groin? I mean, why I did not just handlocked one and taken him as- Oh, right. He is human and they did not threaten my life. How considerate of me.
  393. “Well, you know, I bet you done some shit too when returned.”
  394. >”Well, yeah, I kinda went to police since this was a way to prevent one specific case from proceeding.”
  395. >Is it a way of recruitment out here, or we are just two lucky unfortunates to meet?
  396. >”To tell you the truth, we too have huge hangover now, hence… all these shit going past radar. We two get fine anyway, so…”
  397. “I am sorry.”
  398. >”No need. Sooner or later something like this should have happened anyway. I wanted to quit anyway.”
  399. “So why I fix- Ah, you are materially responsible-”
  400. >”Yeah, I should give back all I got in same state before going out.”
  401. >Suddenly, Vinyl talked.
  402. >”Why you humans care so little about your work?”
  403. >We, three grown men, glanced at each other. It was hard to find an answer, but silent patrol finally found one.
  404. >”Because we hate it! It is universal as shit!”
  405. >”Haven’t you try to find work to love?”
  406. >Again, we glanced at each other. Vasya, first one, catched on.
  407. >”As one wise man said: Find a work you love and you will never have to work.”
  408. “You forget the continuation: You will never have to work. Or eat, so to speak.”
  409. >After a quick laugh, we turned back to her and Vasya asked.
  410. >”Well, how it is with job in your world? I mean, I heard you have special buttstamps that employ you!”
  411. >”They are called “cutiemarks” and they just signify your talent. They don’t necessary employ you.”
  412. “It is true. Like with total war-time censorship it is not certain that musician will have its song allowed to play in first time, so to speak.”
  413. >While these two thought about what I meant, our world examples, Vinyl suddenly became worried, yet not raised voice. As I finished my meal, I turned to them.
  414. “Look, pals, I already paid, so what about parting our ways? I remembered I need to go to-”
  415. >”Yeah-yeah, no worries. Just next time drink at home – less probability you get in trouble.”
  416. “I… will consider that.”
  417. >After clarifying directions, I and Vynil went out and walked evading main roads.
  418. >”Okay, can I ask one question?”
  419. >She even paused a little while we walked.
  420. >”Without evading and metaphors or other your human shit?”
  421. “You can try.”
  422. >”Okay, what is this “reload” you blame us for?”
  423. >Oh fuck.
  424. >Well, even while captured, ponies did not quite understand what I said.
  425. “You see, we lived normally. Some shit proceeded, like war in Syria started, Ukraine divided us on what we believe is right and… anyway, normal life on earth. Nothing serious, some people die, most don’t. Then, I wake up during my shift at unit, since some conscript is shitting his pants. He woke me up to say that Center of Moscow was fucking nuked, and no command from commanders were there. Except, of course, local commanders, who ordered to gather everyone on duty. At the meeting we concluded that USA attacked us, and all highest command was annihilated. We planned out full control of all close regions, how to keep order, prepare for invasion and some other shit. Then, only four hours later, when we almost ended military occupation of 1/3 of Moscow suburbs, went full nuts with our doomsday plan, we were informed – it was not nuclear exchange. It is alien invasion, as an epicenters of explosions portals opened, as well as some strange creatures. Can you imagine this? Whole civilized world going batshit insane for 4 hours, then just coming to senses like nothing happened?”
  426. >”As a matter of fact, I can.”
  427. >Wait, they did not have nukes, right? How could they experience something close to what I describe?
  428. “Anyway, that is what I know for certain. All other stuff can be made up. Then, remnants of old government waged war on you, I volunteered, government changed in one coup… It is completely different story. We name it “Reload” because it was like, well, our world started glitching, so someone instead of fixing it just hit reload button, so to say. Because like I said – whole world was that uncertain these 4 hours, so while main powers luckily not went full suicidal, some countries on earth where commanders decided not to wait before getting certain information and just proceed with their plan for nuclear war. So now not only Russia – the whole Earth is fucked up. Not as much as we all imagined, but still… I tell you, this winter promises to be mild one, but next one surely doesn’t.”
  429. >While she listened to me, she just nodded.
  430. >”Well, no wonder you blame us for it. After all, we are the only benefiting side from your perspective.”
  431. “Finally! Okay, your turn. Favor for favor, right?”
  432. >She suddenly became interested.
  433. >Well, I never liked politics, right? Maybe something personal instead? After all , it is great opportunity for something like this.
  434. ”Look, how you got that music-note cutiemark?”
  435. >She gave out gasp. Looks like I already asked this while drunk.
  436. >”Well, I was DJ. When I was ten, my uncle, who owned music shop, went bankrupt, so I stole at least three carts of CDs before taxpayers arrived to his shop. They just laid in basement, until I found abandoned radio station in wagon when playing in the woods. It was not radio station, so to say, full of things for spying, but I could care les-”
  437. “Where were you from?”
  438. >”Ponyville. You see, since little to no officials were there in town, it had strong anti-establishment vibe, so to speak. So it was no surprise to find something like this. Cantrelot always thought that we are some rebel haven, hence Celestia sent her protégée eight years ago. So-”
  439. ”Wasn’t it to fight Nightmare Moon?”
  440. >”Oh, so you know?”
  441. “As I said, I spent some time there.”
  442. >”Well, then let me tell you that this is all just justification, right? This purple “now princess” at first just reported to Canterlot about everything that happened in town, so Apple family had to lay low.”
  443. “Wait, they are?..”
  444. >”I don’t know about youngest generation, but their eldest are known in certain circles as ardent anti-monarchists.”
  445. >When I was there, I sure noticed something off about these ponies, but I figured it is only in relation to humans, not…
  446. “You know, you said so little, yet it explains so much.”
  447. >”So what was I about? Anyway, 12 year old me after getting all needed resources started her pirate station. While it was summer, it was fine, yet during all other seasons I had to figure out a way of skipping school so often. So, once, I accidentally started two songs at once. And I liked it. So I experimented. And recorded the results. And figured out that this way I can evade author’s rights by Equestrian law and started broadcasting only remixes. Then I started making my own music. Somewhere along the way, I got cutiemark. Then I… capitalized my success and abandoned radio station. Trading protest for not empty stomach. I called it “growing up”. Had happy life, so to say. Found a love. And eight month ago, I was drafted, becoming total bitch of the regime. You get what you deserve, so to say. And you?”
  448. >As we walked aside from children playground, I saw a display for outdoor ads. It showed OilProm logo, their old moto “Dreams come true” and GIANT BLUE UNICORN IN OFFICE SUIT.
  449. “Punch me please.”
  450. >Vinyl stared where I stared.
  451. >”Vice versa.”
  452. >So I kicked her in a stomach. He refuted by punching with her restricted horn in the part of leg, placed opposite from my knee. We two fell on the ground in pain, Vinyl even accidentally got draped by bathrobe she wore.
  453. >”Why the fuck my division commander is on this display?”
  454. “I don’t know and I think I don’t want to. Let’s just get up and get going.”
  455. >And so we did, after some time. After exiting yet another neighborhood, I broke the silence.
  456. “Well, I am chemist myself. Tried to find a job after university, but struggled to find one that would ditch me from obligatory military service. So I signed a contract with military instead, so that after two years of serving I would have no need to worry about it.”
  457. >”Wait, so you had no job?”
  458. “Well, you don’t count bartender as a job, right? It paid enough for learning plus survival, and was at evenings, but I often changed places.”
  459. >”Wait, you had obligatory military service before the war?”
  460. “Well, yeah? I mean, it is kinda a thing for all former Soviet republics.”
  461. >”What is this “Soviet” you talk about?”
  462. “Well, this is completely different sto- Oh, this is it.”
  463. >I finally found my home.
  464. >As we risen on my floor, I couldn’t help but to think that I forgot about something important.
  465. >I put in the keys, spinned them, opened the door, and saw that bitchy face of Katya.
  466.  
  467. >”So why you two decided to confine me in your flat?”
  468. >Well, it is hard to judge her. It should look horrible from her perspective.
  469. “Relax, we were confined as well two hours ago. Just take from the fridge and open-”
  470. >”Already opened.”
  471. >Only now I noticed that dim look on her face.
  472. >”Okay, as it is forbidden to “change hand”, serve us too.”
  473. >As she poured drinks, I poured water in can and placed it on fire. As I took out potatoes to clean, Vinyl followed me, so we all gathered on kitchen.
  474. >”Now, I can leave any moment, but I am divided on that question. Only one thing can resolve this dilemma.”
  475. >She probably wants some money. Eh, not like any girl would like me for who I am.
  476. >”What subculture you were part of in 00s?”
  477. >I was stumbled, but vinyl was even more off guard?
  478. >”What is… subculture?”
  479. >Katya suddenly turned to her. Maybe yesterday made her reconsider stances on ponies?
  480. >”Well, these are some movements, but not like political-”
  481. “At least not most of them.”
  482. >”Yeah, ‘cause football fans and skinhead do qualify as well, right? Well, I meant other type. Like goths, emos, metalheads-”
  483. >Vinyl livened up.
  484. >”Oh, we have those as well.”
  485. >I and Katya were obviously surprised by this statement.
  486. >”Anyway, what were you doing in golden 2007?”
  487. “I would not want to talk about that.”
  488. >Water started boiling, so I dropped cleaned potatoes in it and took out pan and frozen sausages. Vinyl looked at them with disgust.
  489. >Oh, right, they are not omnivores!
  490. >Okay, I need to find something else – or not. I will just serve more potatoes to her.
  491. >”And still, don’t evade question. Don’t run off from your youth!”
  492. “Look, I am 24, I am not that old.”
  493. >”Then what you try to escape.”
  494. >Pan heated up, so I poured oil and started frying sausages.
  495. “I never was a part of any subculture.”
  496. >”Don’t lie, I see it in your face.”
  497. “No, seriously. Or you qualify me and my boys gathering in garage to sing some songs as subculture?”
  498. >”Yeah, you… What you listened.”
  499. >Now, really, time has already pasted, so it would not be such stigma like in these days, right?
  500. “Old music.”
  501. >”Old, you mean-”
  502. “Old Russian rock. And not old. You know, like Agatha Cristie, Nautilus Pompilus, Civil defence. Out of new groups – well, our tastes were pretty normie. Nike Borzov, Mummiy Troll.”
  503. >”You are normie. No, even worse – you were normie in time when no one was.”
  504. >Yep, that is exactly it. Worst you could be, right?
  505. >”It is fine. Civil Defence is sick, after all.”
  506. >Well, if she wants me to feel bad for being normie, I surely should return the favor, right?
  507. >At that moment I put off both sausages and potatoes from fire and, as I served, I started.
  508. “So you like Civil Defence, huh?”
  509. >”Well, yeah. Nothing says “protest” more than Civil Defence.”
  510. “Then surely you should get political stances of Egor Letov. What were they?”
  511. >She gasped.
  512. >”Well, at start he was anarchist-”
  513. >As I served a plate to everyone, Vinyl move closer, probably wondering why these humans talk some gibberish.
  514. >”-Then, when USSR collapsed, he became national-bolshevik.”
  515. “And at last albums?”
  516. >”He was apolitical. I mean, he stopped writing about protest.”
  517. “Wrong. From start to the end – everything is wrong.”
  518. >Katya just grumped.
  519. >”Huh, well, these are facts. He was part of nazbol party. What do you want to say?”
  520. “I say that he had coherent political stances all his life and never betrayed them.”
  521. >”Coherent as his lyrics only.”
  522. >Now, my blood started boiling.
  523. “If you don’t get it – then don’t pretend. His stances were said clearly in start of his career. He wrote song about it. “I will be always against” so to say.”
  524. >Vinyl suddenly got interested.
  525. >”Against what?”
  526. “What? Just “Against”! He was repressed and censored dozens of time, and even put in asylum. After that, he became clear on his goal – waging a war against material reality that suffocates soul and its development. He was against – and that says it all. He joined nazbols – yes, but only because they were marginals. They were absolutely against everything that Russia were at this time, so he… Look, example. His “Gospel”. Its lyrics are about new morale, new truth being born. Yet, even then, “Who would punish round sky?” Is new morale able to be judge to material world? As answer to this is self-evident, he makes a conclusion: “Asphyxiate with your obedient arms Your disobedient Christ!” Kill off morale that cannot judge from height of human soul!”
  527. >Katya just chewed sausages. It was Vinyl who actually listened to me.
  528. “His whole discography is about it! About immaterial! That why he sang “Word “Human” should be written with capital letter!” Well, now, I believe, not only Human…”
  529. >Katya raised shot.
  530. >”For Humans! And… what your kind call yourself?”
  531. >Vinyl raised shot as well.
  532. >”Ponies.”
  533. >”And for Ponies! Cheers!”
  534. >So we hit the shots and drank it down.
  535. ”What you think is most actual of their songs?”
  536. >”Does this question has right answer?”
  537. “No, I just ask for an opinion.”
  538. >Katya thought for a moment.
  539. “You know, now, with all this shit happening.”
  540. >”It is hard to pick, I mean, so much of his song fit, but…”
  541. “But?”
  542. >”Seven mischievous steps over the horizon. I think this one is just on point.”
  543. >Well, that is an interesting pick.
  544. >”I don’t quite remember the lyrics, but name says it all.”
  545. >So I just found it on my phone. And turned it on, to silent wish of Vinyl who still wondered what we were talking about.
  546. >Katya served another round and said:
  547. >”For eternal spring!”
  548. >I cheered on her toast, Vinyl still could not get it and just joined. As guitar coda with overdistortion played, lyrics started.
  549. --Sky has reeled below our heavy steps
  550. --And the message flied in far-away land.
  551. --Thunder-boiling distance and stardust
  552. --Started to bloom with anxious rounds.
  553. --Licentious ship in obedient stream
  554. --Seven mischievous steps over horizon.
  555. >”What… Are you humans nuts?”
  556. “Just listen, Vinyl.”
  557. --In the wake of cursed volunteers
  558. --Into frozen deep of dried out streams
  559. --in the floods of drunk down wishing wells
  560. --In the candy fear, in unknown wade
  561. --Long lasting night, very short-lived day
  562. --Seven mischievous steps over horizon.
  563. >”Wait, so this is about soldier?”
  564. >Now I was surprised.
  565. “Vinyl, yes. Yes! You finally start to get it! You see, “soldier” is very important image in his poetry. As by this he not only connects to actual soldier, though he actually meant them as part of this global image, but to all “Spiritual warriors”, passionaries’ who move world forward. Yet he never considered intellectual elite as “passionaries’” like old-time romanticists. Instead, he came to natural conclusion that these are marginals…”
  566. >So I proceeded, explaining full picture to Vinyl about Letov’s ideas, especially presented in lyrics of this song. I remembered I have done similar rants before, yet it happened at parties, where I and some girl secluded, and she only listened to my rants because I had booze or/and drugs.
  567. >Well, very little changed now. I am just sober.
  568. “…So naturally, name is about our unending curiosity, which we cannot but follow, whatever the cost is, since humans rarely ask themselves “Should we do this?” And much more often “Why not?” And this is just one song.”
  569. >Katya prepared another round, while Vinyl just nodded.
  570. >“I guess we really have something to learn from you, humans, after all. Aside from this tech, of course.”
  571. >”As it is third one – for those who left us!”
  572. >So we, withot clinking glasses, drank it down.
  573. “Now ladies, I need to go somewhere for two hours while I am still sober, can you manage it without me for now?”
  574. >Katya nodded.
  575. >”Sure. Vinyl, right?”
  576. >”Madam, you overseen me for a week.”
  577. >”I am sorry, I did not care. Anyway, want to listen to some sick shit?”
  578. >As that, I left them, taking my document folder with me. Because now my life promised to become finally settled right after I finally get needed papers.
  579.  
  580. >”Okay, here they are. You have my sympathies.”
  581. >Office clerk handed me notifications of decease of each my family member. Of course, these are not news for me, yet what I was interested in graphs “Cause of death”.
  582. >Okay, mom, dad, grandma and grandpa were at home when “reload” happened, I know. “Cause of death: instant vaporization”.
  583. >Now, I felt a little sick.
  584. >”Need some water?”
  585. “No, no, I am fine.”
  586. >Okay, what else? Sister, yeah. “Cause of death: Cocaine overdose.” Shit. Looks, like it was hard for her on her own.
  587. >Then, uncle. “Cause of death: suicide”. Okay, his wife? “Cause of death: suicide”, now wait, what about cousin? “Cause of death: murder” And dates match for all three.
  588. “Look, are there information on his case?”
  589. >”Now let me take a look. Sergey, right?”
  590. >After he clicked and stared at screen for a minute, he widened his lips.
  591. >”Well, nothing clear, they lived in Kostroma, right?”
  592. “Well, yeah.”
  593. >”And they all deceased at June 12nd?”
  594. >Wait, they really died at Independence Day?
  595. “Y-yes?”
  596. >”Then it is very probable they joined doomsday cult, Movement of Ascension. Big part of them tried to “ascend” this day.”
  597. “With their family members, right?”
  598. >He did not answer.
  599. >”You sure you don’t need water?”
  600. “No, let’s just get it over with. Look, are these documents enough for me to access their bank accounts?”
  601. >”Well it differs for each bank, but yes, if you have documents that prove your relation.”
  602. >Now that is something at least. My parents savings are enough to live by for at least a year, so maybe there is a hope to start a new life.
  603. “Okay, and what about house?”
  604. >”What house?”
  605. >Okay, he is very helpful man, maybe he just forgot.
  606. “Before I volunteered, I formed a plea. My flat was at Center, it was registered on parents. Plus, my rented house near where I worked was sacked in first-day lootings. I was displaced, so to compensate.”
  607. >”I don’t see how you are displaced.”
  608. >Wait, what?
  609. >”Your registered place of living is still intact.”
  610. “Well, yeah, but it is in contested area. I can not access it.”
  611. >”As you see, our government cannot be held responsible for compensating this, as it is due to actions of Equestria. I can give you address of their embassy so you could send them your plea.”
  612. >He is serious, right?
  613. “But they will just tell me to fuck off!”
  614. >Clerk gasped.
  615. >”Well, if they will, why on earth we shouldn’t?”
  616. >Is this fu… I… I will kill this-
  617. >”Please relax, don’t get angry. I am just paper mover, you will achieve nothing by it.”
  618. >I noticed that my fists already clenched and body leaned over the table. As he said it, I easened.
  619. >”Look, you have my sympathies, but new government refused to deal compensations on behalf of those responsible, as it is stated in one of orders. All I can do is to assure you that that registered house, or flat, will again be yours when contested area returns under Russian jurisdiction. Until then, sadly, you are on your own.”
  620. >And when I wasn’t?
  621.  
  622. >So, I then went to bank to merge our accounts. And to take some cash, first for compensating that blogger who I damaged face, then for daily spending. Also, I verified check I gave to car repair store.
  623. >As I returned home, I on my way bought on market some food and more booze. There, in living room sat and watched some soap opera.
  624. >”Hello. I show her what television is.”
  625. “Wait, hadn’t your former master shown it?”
  626. >Vinyl stumbled.
  627. >”He had no TV. He said it “zombifies” people.”
  628. >Well, your former master was not that wrong.
  629. “What do they show these days?”
  630. >”Oh, usual. On main channel there is now strong censorship, so only cheap melodramas, “analytical shows”, pop music and absolutely no humor.”
  631. “Then why you show it to her?”
  632. >Katya just shrugged. Then, ad of some tampons was cut, as news reported appeared on the screen.
  633. -”Breaking news: one of the heads of Equestrian government, princess Twilight Sparkle, gave herself up to our authorities on common border. She declared herself ”solely responsible for incident that took countless human lives” as a result of her failed experiment. To clarify,-”
  634. >Suddenly, Vinyl leaned to screen, shouting in equestrian. Well, don’t ask me to translate what she shouted – I won’t.
  635. >Katya, and I of course, were stumbled as well.
  636. >”Is this real?”
  637. “Well, I mean… Fuck. Vinyl, you look surprised too.”
  638. >”Of course I am fucking surprised! I mean… what? Why? She really?.. Then why now? After so much happened… She tried to cover up her flank all this time, or revert, or… Fuck!”
  639. -“she awaits being convoyed to Moscow, where she will be judged by Russian law. We return to usual broadcast.”
  640. >And some ad of non-alcoholic beer started.
  641. “Wait, does this mean peace finally will be signed?”
  642. >”Oh, so… I get it.”
  643. “Vinyl, what you get?”
  644. >”She decided to sacrifice herself. Twilight…”
  645. “Look, I don’t know anything about your politics. How many princesses you have? Three?”
  646. >”Four. Twilight – most recent one.”
  647. “And queen or king, who they are?”
  648. >Vinyl stumbled for a little.
  649. >“We don’t have any. You see, “princess” is just honorary title, it doesn’t mean you have some heritage or supreme power. Better translation is just “crowned”. Like, Twilight was responsible for magic development and international affairs with other non-humans, and she can act as a judge, yet she could not overrule contract that does not break Equestrian law. That power belongs only to Luna and Celestia.”
  650. >Meanwhile, TV showed news again.
  651. -Good day, citizens. In wake of news we sent our reporter to Equestrian Embassy for commentary, so right now, live, from “Country that does not exist”-
  652. “What?”
  653. >Katya gasped.
  654. >”They stationed their embassy in building that housed that restaurant before “reload”. Since portals is just behind it.”
  655. >Oh. Wait, so this is at first was ironical, but now everyone are so used to it that this phrase become usual on news?
  656. >Oh tempora o mores.
  657. -This is Evgeniy, right now Head of Embassy Princess Cadence agreed to give her comment, she is right here-
  658. >It showed some pink uni- pega- Okay, Princess. Princess, yeah.
  659. -Now Mi Amore, what can you say about such turn of event?
  660. >-First, I should note that this is surprise for us as well. All this year we had special group searching for cause of portals’ appearance, yet now it is obvious why we could not succeed in it-
  661. -What makes you say so?
  662. >-You see, Twilight Sparkle herself was trusted with this mission. It is obvious how easy it was for her to cover up all of this that lo-
  663. >Vinyl became angry.
  664. >”Look, guys, you probably don’t get it, but… Cadence and Twilight almost grew up together. More so, Cadence is married on Twilight’s brother. There are two options: either they planned out her sacrifice together, which I highly doubt due to Twilight’s character, either… You see most outrageous political betrayal this Mi amore turned out to be most disguised snake in our… Wait. Really, Cadence would never do that… It reminds me of one occasion…”
  665. “Vinyl, I get that you have complex issues, but you start to sound off.”
  666. >”No, I get it. This is imposter. This is not real Cadence. This could not be. I mean, she would never talk this way about someone so close to her. Right?”
  667. >Oh, poor pony. Doesn’t she get what politics can do to save their career?
  668. -Okay, anything else you want to say?
  669. >-To tell you the truth, even though I feel betrayed by her, I cannot think Twilight did it for any evil cause. I don’t defend her actions, but still, I hope that humans will show their mercy to her. First, we should hear her statement, and only then, we should drive to any conclusions.
  670. -Thank you for your time, it was “country that does not exist”, Evgeniy.
  671. -Thank you, Evgeniy, now we have guest in the studio, current head of OilProm, Trixie Lulamoon. We are sorry, we invited you for completely different discussion, but we cannot ignore what is happening.
  672. >”WHAT?”
  673. “WHAT?”
  674. > Katya just laughed.
  675. >”Wait, so you both did not knew OilProm is owned by-”
  676. >”MY DIVISION COMMANDER?”
  677. >I looked around. Yes, I did not drop what I bought at kitchen. Yes, booze is there. Fuck.
  678. “So that what this banner was about?”
  679. -Can you comment on this?
  680. >Blue unicorn looked shocked. I, meanwhile, opened bottle.
  681. >-Are you serious? I mean… Heh, duh. Of course. It explains a lot. You know, looks like last year of my life was a complete lie. I mean, heh. Heheh-
  682. “How is it even?”
  683. >”You can register legal entities on aliens. And they cannot be taxed. I believe it is obvious that she is not who actually is in charge, yet – yeah, their PR strongly rests on her. She even baptized recently.”
  684. >Looks like Katya has to explain a lot to both of us about what actually happens. She doesn’t even look surprised.
  685. >Meanwhile, on tv, blue unicorn experiences some sort of mental breakdown, as she laughs maniacally, and camera shifts back to reporter.
  686. -We are very sorry, to other news. Recent announcement of princess caused riots on streets of-
  687. >Suddenly, my phone called.
  688. >Number unidentified. This cannot be good.
  689. >I give a gesture to turn off TV and answer.
  690. “Yes?”
  691. >”This is Lieutenant Malikov. Is this Anonymous?”
  692. “Good day, this is me. Have I done something else?”
  693. >”No, it is about alien. There are unrests right now, so don’t let her out. Do you hear me? It is not safe-”
  694. >And then I heard loud banging on the door.
  695. >Looks like I returned home just in right time.
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