I’m back from over on Scientopia, where there now are deposited something like ten posts of mine; and I have a story.
No, not a story about guestblogging; but a story that just burst out of my forehead today. It’s kind of science fiction set twenty minutes to the future and a few hundred miles to the east of me. It could be called, “In New Russia, the missile launch you!”.
* * *
“What do you mean, ‘close’?” Yuri Petrovich spat.
“Close”, Nikolai Andropovich said, “as in opening, but in the other direction.”
“We can’t close!” Yuri shouted, waving the order paper. “How can you close a missile silo! How can you close all the missile silos? This is madness! Does the President have a German cabbage for brains!”
Nikolai sighed, took a drink, and looked out at the jaggedy concrete spread of the Putinsk Missile Field. Beneath the pitted, rain-stained, graffiti-spoiled domes and chutes, nuclear missiles still stood. Some of them more leaned, or slouched; but most of them still stood: proud, troublesome and obsolete.
“Look Yuri”, Nikolai said, “there is no more money.”
“How can you have no money for nuclear missiles? In modern Russia, people like the missiles—”
“Hush. In any Russia you have money for that which gives the deciders and wise leaders a happy face. Was much rockets into space for our grandfathers; was much missiles pointed at the capitalist-imperialist devil for our fathers; will not be missiles for us.”
“But”, Yuri sputtered, “you can’t just say nuclear weapons no good, and throw them away! That’s not how it works!”
“That is how it works. Why you think they threw the moon rockets away? Very good, much victory of technology, but no victory of will and propaganda. Is same with these missiles: very good for making the American into slag, not so good for victory of will and propaganda no more. That the job of the patriotic people’s video server now, a billion views, only the subversive antisocial people do not watch.”
“But— but, you ignorant Siberian twit, you can’t compare nuclear weapons to a Russian Youtube!”
“Is not that; is not the name and is not good to use that name! And weapons to make people into slag is worse than ways to make people like you. Make people be like you; then make people to like you. Then you need no-one to be made into slag because everyone loves you, and no-one ever loves people who makes others into radioactive slag.”
Yuri balled up the order, threw it — it was flimsy paper, and did not fly well — and threw himself down to the closest chair. The chair creaked; Yuri groaned. “So, whatever! We have the nuclear parts taken away, what we do with the missiles? What do we do with the jobs, Nikita? I am too old to learn a new trade.”
“You is thirty-seven.”
“Which is too old, do you think I could find a seat in re-education anywhere? I’d be begging for bread and giving the Belorussian love under the Prospekti bridge in under a year! Unless I got mad, desperate and took a warhead and sold it and was rewarded with prison enough for a lifetime of forced Belorussian love in the arse end of Siberia!”
“Siberia is not that bad.”
“Look in a mirror, see what it has vomited here to torment me.”
“Now, Yuri, is calm. I have a plan that make us both… well, not ones living under the Prospekti bridge.”
“Tell me.” Yuri leaned forward, sincerely interested. He did not like the Siberian, come from some backwater he could see Alaska from, but the Siberian was a procurer and had an eye and an ear and a couple of limbs for business.
“We is left with missiles, after they take the exploding part away, right?”
“Then we take the government Transition Plan, and we become individual entre… ent-re-pre-neurs with right of first offer, and we buy the whole thing, whole field and missiles and all, for dirty cheap.”
Yuri laughed. “And what, we set up a museum here? Stalin himself, why not find red star uniforms too!”
“No. We no go into museum business. We go into business of having a place of launching missiles, having cheap missiles already, and experience-having staff people.”
Nikolai gestured at Yuri, then at himself. Yuri’s eyes bulged.
Nikolai smiled. “If we is owning the field, who say we not experienced? After every thing, we working here for many years! Army trained specialists! I know many contacts in India, in Tajik Republic, in Greater Mongolian Hural Kingdom, all private contacts, that pay good money for a satellite launch pad!”
“Wh-what?” Yuri stammered.
“Is the same principle, speaking like a general. Is the same machine, missile, as is a rocket into space. Just shoot up, not across. They bring a mathematics guy who make do with the computer, put in super Chinese fuel, they get discount, and get their own satellite up in the sky. We tell them what is where, and grow fat and old before the missiles is gone, and by then they have a habit to come here because we is space ent-re-pre-neurs of good repute!”
Yuri nodded furiously. That might just be stupid enough to work.
Nikolai nodded, also; the Russian might just be stupid enough to work while he, the smart Siberian, was in the executive position chair thing.
* * *
“Belorussian love” : Not an actual expression, as far as I know. The exact definition is left for the reader’s imagination.
Nikolai/Nikita : Well, Nikita is not a proper diminutive of Nikolai or anything, but do you think Yuri cares?
The speech : Nikolai speaks clumsy English because, being from some un-Russian end of Siberia, he speaks lazy Russian. Partly possibly just to annoy Yuri. Also, both are drunk; this is not because they are Russians, but because honestly, sitting unsupervised and forgotten on a field of decrepit nuclear missiles is both boring and stressful.
“Greater Mongolian Hural Kingdom” : “Hural” is the Mongolian word for a parliament or assembly; a “hural kingdom” is a delightful signifier of something having gone very badly wrong with the democracy in there; possibly a Genghis Khan Mark II.
“super Chinese fuel” : i.e. phlebotinium, just in case my “missiles as rockets” brainwave has a fatal practical flaw in it.
“Putinsk” : Not an actual place; then again, who knows what a village or two will be called tomorrow? Might just as well be named for the repeating even-numbered president of the Russian Federation.