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September 10, 2011
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"Alright Sierra!" The Pilot crackled over the loudspeaker, barely audible over the roar of the Engines of the Ilyushin Il-14. "We're nearing Kolyma, you'll be dropping in a few minutes! Remember, you're a Ruskie now, sent from Berlin. Allies intercepted your team and you were the only one to survive! We've already dealt with their real team, just make sure you're convincing! We can't do anything for you once you're out of this plane!"
Sarah slowly nodded, clutching her Dragunov close as she checked the straps on her parachute, the blood smeared over her form making her feel uneasy, especially since it was her own blood that they had taken beforehand, and her torn clothes were letting in the chill with ease, although her fur helped somewhat. "I understand." she sighed into the little microphone that sat beside her.
"Good. Hope your Ruskie's good Husky." the Pilot said in farewell, before a quiet American Soldier in his civvies got up and slammed open the door of the plane, gesturing to Sarah, who shakily got up and threw herself from the plane, the wind clawing harshly at her flesh, threatening to rip off the goggles that covered her eyes and pinning her jaw shut.

The ground hit hard, as the drab white parachute fell gently over Sarah's form, hiding her as she shrugged off the pack and clawed her way out, before pulling a single match from her coat and striking it on a rock, tossing it on the parachute, which ignited with a brilliant flash of white, leaving nothing but white ash within seconds. Thermite was a dangerous thing to coat a parachute in, but it was necessary for the operation to succeed. Wrapping her arms around herself in an attempt to ease her chattering teeth, Sarah gave a small whimper, staring around at the white wasteland that surrounded her, the Trees casting eerie shadows over her fragile frame as she began to trudge up the incline, in the hopes that it lead to the Butugichag Gulag. She could already feel the presence of the Valley seeping into her legs, weakening her will and resolve, and she remembered what the locals called it; Death Valley.

Night began to fall by the time Sarah had trudged through the deep, biting snow to the watchtower of the Butugichag Gulag. The presence of Death Valley was ever eating at her will to walk, and her legs felt weak and unwilling to walk any further, so it was quite fortunate when the spotter ran from the Tower and caught her as her eyes closed, and her legs shut down, sending her tumbling towards the snow, only to be caught in the man's arms. He rolled her over, stroking at her face, and wiping snow from the soviet badge on her ushanka, before calling out in Russian. "[We've got one of them! A Girl! She's weak, help me with her!]" Another man came running out from the tower, stepping carefully over Sarah's comatose body and raising her other side in aid. "[Got her?]"
"[Yes. She's pretty light. I'm surprised you couldn't lift her yourself. The Dragunov is the heaviest thing here.]" The other man grunted.
"[I know, but she's weak. I don't want to hurt a Comrade. I think the Radiation's got to her.]"
"[Well? Why are you standing there then? Let's get her inside. Some Vodka will clean out the radiation, and a good Soup will do her a world of good.]" he grunted, heaving her up off the snow, and prompting the other man to do the same, before the two of them began to carry her gently towards a larger chain of buildings a little way up the slope, hard to see clearly with its light metal construction and the snow and ice that caked it.

Sarah awoke slowly, her vision blurred as she stared up at the harsh halogen lamp that floated above her, casting eerie halos of light across her sight as she reached out a tentative hand, pawing at the lamp far above.
"[She's awake, that's good. Who's got the bottle? It should help with the radiation she got from the walk here.]" A thick, gruff voice sighed, as a bottle was extended above her face, the label slowly coming into focus to reveal that the clear liquid inside was vodka, although it was difficult for her to remember what the strange slavic letters spelt out, as she had not used what little Russian she had in years. A shot glass appeared from the other side of her vision, and into it was poured the noxious fluid.
"[She's held up pretty well thus far, hasn't she? She looks quite frail.]" another voice cut in, coming from beside the shot glass, and most likely the owner of the thickly gloved hand that held it. It wasn't as gruff as the first, and had a smoother, more western accent to it.
"[I know. I'm not sure she is part of the squad from Berlin. I doubt she could have made it this far alone, especially considering how young she is, and how that rifle wouldn't do her much good on the way here.]" The first voice said again, as she felt a hand on her back propping her up, before a face leant into her vision, showing her the visage of the man with the shot glass. She quickly recognised him as a native Berliner, being one herself. His features were scarred from battle and surgery, but she could see that they were soft, and once kind. They still were, a worried smile crossing his face as he offered her the noxious alcohol.
"[Here, take this. It will help with the Radiation.]" he offered, holding it closer to her. She wasn't completely sure what he said, but she realised his intentions, taking the glass in hand, and downing the noxious liquid with a grimace, not one for the taste of Vodka, or for any alcohol at that. As she finished the glass, she looked down to see the Berliner sitting on the edge of her hospital bed, the rather fragile frame bending slightly under his weight. "[So, Haski, can you speak Russian?]" he asked with a caring smile, rubbing at her blanketed leg as she lay there, propped up by a bulky stereotypically Russian man behind her.

"[A... a little. Is not my Mother Tongue. You... you are Berlin? You speak German?]" Sarah asked shakily, the Russian falling limply from her tongue. The man smiled, and spoke again, in German this time.
"{Yes, I am from Berlin. I suppose you are as well?}" He asked, his smile growing.
"{Yes. I was born in Berlin. German is my Mother Tongue, and I speak it a lot better than I speak Russian.}" Sarah said confidently, a small smile creeping to her face.
"{Ah, good, good, so, what is a young German Girl like you doing all the way out in Kolyma?}" he asked, shuffling a bit closer to her so they could converse with better ease.
"{I was part of the squad sent from Berlin, but we were ambushed by Americans before we reached the Valley. The others are all dead, and I was lucky to get away.}" Sarah explained, swallowing the knot in her throat.
"{You are fortunate, aren't you Haski? What's your name?}" the man asked, soft brown eyes watching her carefully, his deep black hair cut short and kept barely visible by a Ushanka, the ear flaps of which were tied underneath his chin, meeting with the fur collar sown into his Telogreika.
"{It's Sadie. Sadie Ludia.}" Sarah answered, using variants of her own name to keep some semblance of self, as she smoothed down the bandages along her chest. The self-inflicted knife wounds had hurt, but they had been necessary so she didn't arouse suspicion, and at least there were painkillers before the bullet in the waist.
"{You can call me Ludovic Sadie, it is good to meet you.}" Ludovic answered, still smiling as he reached over, and removed an IV drip from her wrist. "{Welcome to Butugichag.}"

"{I can tell you Haski, you're lucky to still have all your fur after your little trek through the Valley there.}" Ludovic sighed as he helped Sarah to her feet, the others slowly scattering, leaving Sarah and Ludovic alone, her looking almost like a Dwarf beside the taller man. Sarah raised her eyebrows in worry at Ludovic's comment, her sharp blue eyes wide in horror.
"{Lucky? What do you mean?}" she asked, shivering slightly and wincing a little as it disturbed the wound in her waist.
"{We mine Uranium here Haski, the Radiation would make your fur just fall from the pores. Vodka helps a little, but not many of us have any taste for it, and it is no real substitute for good Anti-Radiation Medicine.}" Ludovic explained, rubbing Sarah's shoulder to try and console her. "{The Deer here lose all the fur in their legs, and eventually they grow weak and lose all will to stand. They just lie down and die slowly. It's easy to get Venison, but we can't eat it because of all the radiation.}"
"{So, what, Vodka every day or I lose all my fur?}" Sarah gasped, still shaking a little as she placed her hand over her mouth.
"{Vodka is your water from here on Haski.}" Ludovic sighed, helping her to walk to a small aluminium table in the corner where her clothes and weapons were piled, newly patched up and repaired. "{We drink it with every meal, and every meal usually has Ginseng or something in it. Our Doctor says that Vodka is not good for cleaning Radiation, but he does admit that since it has Ginseng in it, it's the best we have until the next supply. I'm not sure of the specifics myself, but better safe than sorry, no? And anyway, if it doesn't work, you'll be too drunk to care.}" he went on as she put on her clothing over the bandages, tucked her Makarov into the holster, and slung the Dragunov over her shoulder. She winced as it hit against the exit wound of the bullet, but she did not wish to give up her rifle to anyone, even someone like Ludovic who she was quite certain she could trust.

"{Now, Sadie, you will be working with me while you are here. I work in the Western Watchtower, the one you saw on your rather... unfortunate way in.}" Ludovic explained as he lead Sarah outside, into the freezing Arctic Weather of Butugichag, the icy, atomic wind biting deep into Sarah's bones, even beneath the thick fur of her clothing and body. She gave a small whimper as her ushanka was nearly buffeted from her head, sending a spine-chilling gust of ice up the back of her neck, where it buried itself and melted in her hair, dripping down to freeze the delicate silver clasps she kept within it.
"{Is.. is it much colder up there?}" Sarah asked, teeth chattering as her thin frame shook like a twig in the howling Siberian Winds, her tail curling between her legs in fear of how the conditions were further up in the atmosphere.
"{Thankfully, no.}" Ludovic sighed in relief. "{We keep a Wood-burner up there, toss in logs from the dead tress in the forest, along with a little oil burner in case things get very cold. It's not much, but you will thank God that it is there.}"
Sarah allowed herself a small giggle. "{You might be, but I'll just be thanking the person who invented them, and the person who bought them. I'm an Atheist.}" she went deathly silent, but quickly perked back up again when she saw Ludovic was in fact chuckling as well, something she had misconstrued as shaking with rage, something that had happened before when she had said she was an Atheist, and something she deeply regretted.
"{Well, thank whoever you want Haski.}" Ludovic smiled. "{But thank someone. Come on, we've got a nice Stew cooking in the quarters, that'll get your tail back up right quick.}" he chuckled, wrapping an arm around her shoulder, something she was deeply thankful for, the larger man's body instantly spreading warmth into her deadened limbs as he lead her to the Quarters, the promise of a hot Stew indeed getting her tail up and wagging once more.

"{So, Haski.}" Ludovic smiled as they walked into the wide open space that was the quarters, a short, wide corridor serving as Dining and Living room that branched off into two rooms, namely, Kitchen and Bunks. In the centre of the room stood two long, wide metal and plastic tables. Low cost and practical, and unlikely to be weakened by arctic temperatures. Between the two tables stood a warm, sheltered fire, and many of the steel chairs from around the tables had been pulled around it and draped in blankets for warmth, the tables abandoned and forlorn, now for nothing but Firearm and Ammunition storage for the more unique firearms that the soldiers had bought themselves, and did not want to give up to the quartermaster. Any commanding officer would be less than pleased, but they all knew no one would be out here to rebuke them for this. A few soldiers already gathered around this fire, holding bowls of stew and guzzling it, a few cough and sputtering at the heat of the still-boiling stew, but not letting it cool, not wishing to waste any of the heat. "{What part of Berlin are you from?}" he asked, as he lead Sarah to a chair, taking her weapons away and supporting her carefully, for fear of her stitches opening.
"{East Berlin. Right beside the wall.}" she smiled, wincing slightly as Ludovic slowly pulled her coat from her body, knowing full well the heat would do her no good beneath it. "{My family were just outside the Allied Zone.}" It was true... technically. If East meant West and Allied meant Soviet. Which it could... technically.
"{Really now? I'm from the outskirts myself, just outside the Western Zone. I was just inside the City.}" Ludovic hummed, as he set Sarah's weapons and Coat aside. "{Wait here just a second, I'll get you something to eat.}" he smiled, patting her on the shoulder, and garnering himself a smile and a tail wag as he walked off, leaving Sarah to become acquainted with the other members of the Gulag, who were watching her very closely, some with Curiosity, some with Indifference.

The gruff Russian stereotype who had been there when Sarah first awoke was the first of the group to speak, stripping a balaclava from his face. Sarah wasn't surprised when he was revealed to be more British than Soviet, but there was a lot of Soviet in him. She had heard his voice when he spoke with Ludovic, and she recognised something of her father in him. "So, Sadie..." he began, grimacing at the taste of the vodka he now set down by his foot. "I assume you know some English as well?" he smiled, before repeating himself in Russian, just to be sure, something that turned out to be unnecessary when she nodded, smiling at this man, this huge brute of a man, but this man who reminded her so much of her father.
"My Father was English, he taught me when I was young." Sarah smiled, tail swishing through the still-cool air behind her chair.
The man laughed, smiling back at her, his brown eyes twinkling as he looked over Sarah once again. "I must say, you are quite proficient in it."
Sarah nodded once again, grinning happily. It had been longer than she had liked since she was able to have a nice, casual conversation with someone other than her Mother. "I've had a long time to perfect it. I used to talk with British Soldiers along the wall whenever it was just a length of barbed wire."
"Like your Father?" The man guessed, still smiling.
Sarah nodded, giggling happily, and bringing a chuckle from the man's throat.
This is still not finished, it's just one more Paragraph, in which Sarah strikes up a conversation.
Ferrabra Featured By Owner Dec 5, 2011
Hmm, it's quite interesting - to read about Russia in the presentation of an alien :)
You should know that the Western "books about Russia," and "movies about Russia," Russian cause uncontrollable laughter mostly. Vodka, frost, hat with ear-flaps, balalaika, weapons, concentration camps and radiation ...
In return I can offer you a fragment of my novel. This piece tells the story of one of the characters travel to Ireland. The translation is not adapted.

* * *

Anik was going on the road with anger and disappointment, but on his arrival in Ireland, he realized that staying in the camp will be amusing. He was greeted gloomy guys rode with him to pick up Sligo, and thence by sea to the left Anik schooner, in the rainy night. In San Silver called this the same age - "Night of smugglers." Then, from its landing site were taken in a van, blindfolded, on slopes and bumps.
Sports camp in the valley between low mountains nameless him very much. All athletes and trainers have walked in camouflage and masks with holes for the nose, mouth and eyes. They spoke in English, but Arabic and heard it, and German, and some unknown language. Classes were interesting, although the schedule was tight and intense - weapons training, orienteering, martial arts, diversionary activities, radio, conspiracy and other fascinating subjects. Anik saw that over time, while he was asleep in the grave and carcass develop and perfect the craft.
Personally it, two more young men and the silent girl with black beautiful eyes trained on the sniper case tightly knit man with a quiet voice and a tattoo of French Foreign Legion at the wrist, nicknamed Eye. Eye was very pleased with Anik, they have even formed a sort of friendship - friendship senior and junior, because he felt the difference in years. But the masks eye is not removed.
"So it is necessary, Seaman. Life - a complicated thing. Sometimes, people have planted, and two will be on opposite sides of the front line. It is impossible to know one another through an optical sight."
Eye told a lot. A dark story about John F. Kennedy liked Anik most, although Eye believed that all the arrows (Eye of doubt about Oswald's) is already hunting for gold in paradise ducks land. Profession like this - a lot of harm to know.
Well acquainted with their rifles and their capabilities (Eye strongly advised us not forget the "Mauser" - "The more your profile is, the more you stand, Sailor"), Anik returned to Dien in a good mood.
Retal19 Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Heh, thanks. I actually don't read or watch any Western presentations of Russia, and the only things I've seen of Russia are their weapons, some scenery photographs brought back by Senior History Students from Moscow, and bits from Russian movies subbed in English (Night Watch, Day Watch), so I haven't got much to go on other than History Textbooks. If you could offer any real information about Russia it would be much appreciated, since about 2/3 of Sarah's story will take place in Soviet Territory, mostly Russia itself, the remaining 1/3 being in the divided Berlin.
Ferrabra Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2011
Because your story is fantastic, it does not require any major amendments. But if you have any doubts, or if you would like to clarify some details of real Russian life, I'll always be ready to assist you.

I was at first (before the premiere) watching the film "Night Watch". It was a convention for science fiction writers around Moscow. You know, what was the reaction of the audience? Thunder laughter! :) On the one hand, the fact that the film has very little to do with real life (but of fiction and does not require full compliance with the real life), on the other hand the fact that all the audience saw hidden advertising in the film, and with a third party all attend in person knew Sergei Lukyanenko, author of the story ...
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