Week 59

Antonosky rustled his copy of Izvestia with irritation and tossed it onto the café table. “Such stupidity!” he thought.

Clearly, there had been some sort of attack on President Putin’s inaugural celebration, but that’s not what the media were reporting.

They said a circus helicopter had crashed into the Bolshoi Theatre in a tragic accident, and a number of frightened animals had escaped.

Putin himself had bravely rounded up the animals and saved many lives, although a few blond gymnasts from the Duma had been eaten.

But all the celebrity guests had survived—although Gerard Depardieu was in isolation in an intensive care hospital somewhere.

Antonosky made a mental note: He would use his medical credentials to try to trace Depardieu and get access to him, or to his records.

But really … did anyone believe anything the Russian media reported any more? Well, if not, so what? What could anyone do about it?

More troubling, to Antonosky, was the apparent failure of the Order to anticipate the attack. And who were the attackers?

Was the Red Tsar not omniscient? Antonosky shivered as a shadow of doubt flickered across his consciousness; he put it out of his mind.

Just then the door to the café banged open and the Commander entered. He still had some trouble controlling the muscles in his limbs.

His gait was stiff, his movements jerky, but in many ways the Commander appeared more “normal” than when he was first reanimated.

His speech was clearer, and he hardly drooled at all. He had developed an unfortunate taste for dung beetles, but was otherwise presentable.

Most people just assumed the Commander had had a stroke, and that was fine with Dr. Antonosky.

If The Order found out he’d reanimated someone without authorization … Antonosky shuddered again. At least Kanye West owed him a solid now.

The Commander yanked out the chair across from Antonosky, collapsed into it, and stared at the Doctor without speaking.

“Thank you for coming,” Antonosky began. The Commander grinned hideously. Ignoring him, the Doctor continued. “I have a job for you.

“I want to know who attacked Putin’s inaugural celebration. Of course, you don’t have the … uh … resources you once had at the KGB …”

The Commander grunted. Antonosky waited a moment, then continued. “But I expect you are still in contact with some operatives … “

The Commander stood and looked down at the Doctor with his mouth agape. A thin strand of spittle leaked from the corner of his lips.

“Mila!” he said, as he turned and staggered toward the door. “Mila.”

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