Chapter 1 – Old Friends
Svetlana Lenina was not actually related to the famous and idolatrized Vladimir Lenin, the surname had been awarded to her family as a reward for their work in the Third Revolution, but she still kept the original owner of her name in high regard, having a nearly full collection of his works, as well as those of Marx and Engels, and other of the authors on which the State was based on. Her admiration did not, however, fall to the foolish idolatry of some of her overly fanatical comrades; she simply respected their work as the obviously enlightened piece of literature it was.
You see, Svetlana had been raised in what had once been Stalingrad, renamed Stasovagrad after the Third Revolution. She had lived her life in the generally prosperous time that now befell the United Marxist Republics, or UMR, when the final throes of the world revolution were already coming to an end, and the proletariat had ascended to power in nearly all the countries of the world. She had been taught that the war everyone feared against the USA never happened, and the simple economical and productive power of the communist nations simply walked over capitalism.
Not completely believing that what they fed her at school, she had become a journalist and dedicated herself to finding flaws and injustices in the system. She did, of course, and exposed them, but they were so small and so readily dealt with by a government smiling all the way that she did not know whether to join in the celebrations of the system's glory along with the born-again soviets or be even more deeply disturbed. In her search for the truth she had moved to London, buoyant capital of the Marxist Republic of England. She seemed to find truth everyday, truth that little by little were getting her to surrender and accept the words of Head Administrator Satrov:
"Today, we live in as close to perfect harmony as human society can achieve, advancing at a steady pace towards an equally harmonious future. The only thing that we should fear, that could break our way of life, is the festering capitalism on the other side of the seas and the fanatical hostility of certain other countries that would not collaborate in the great work that was the world revolution"
So, in general, she was in a cheerful mood when she woke up in her small and scarcely decorated yet comfortable bedroom in the 24th London Commune. She selected some clothes suitable for strolling around the streets on her day off and headed down to the main cafeteria, where she was cheerfully greeted by the grinning 23-year old blonde Englishman, who happened to have the morning shift as waiter today.
"Good morning, comrad Lana" he said with a Rusian accent so fake it made her wince.
"Drop it, Peter, you're making Master Lenin cringe in his grave again" she replied with a smirk of her own, and a real Russian accent that she just wished would be fake so it wouldn't make her stick out so much every time she opened her mouth.
"Oh, no, we wouldn't want Lenin of all people to be offended" he replied, and they both chuckled softly, after which he proceeded with the usual inquiry, "so, Lana, what do you want for breakfast today?"
"A cup of tea and one of those Scottish scones they make so good up there"
"Ah, sorry, but we're all out of scones," he said with an apologetic shrug, "import van isn't due in until tomorrow, and they were rather more popular than expected, but we do have some wonderfully complete traditional English breakfasts…"
"Peter, I've never been able to stomach English breakfasts and never will. Don't you ever get tired of offering them to me?"
"But, Tanya dear, you're going to have lived two whole years in England and not once tried baked beans!" he said with an expression of mock distress, "it's practically a crime"
She snorted and waved him away. "Tea and biscuits. Go on, there are people waiting for you, you know"
He gave her one last smirk and continued with his work. She got through her breakfast without any more chatter, and was just about to stand up when her mobile phone rang. She quickly took it out of her pocket, scanned the screen to discover she was being called from a number in London she didn't recognize, probably a public phone, and then answered.
"Yes?" she said into the phone.
"God bless the CommuNet," the person at the other side frantically answered, "I found you!"
Female, young, maybe about her age, a bit less, subtle American accent… she could swear the voice sounded familiar but she couldn't place it.
"Who is this?" she asked of the caller.
"It's me, Katy," she hesitated a moment, realizing that wasn't really enough, "Katherine Sands, we met in Barcelona, some years ago"
Yes, now she remembered, although it had actually been some time ago, almost five years. She had been eighteen at the time, and had taken some time away from her studies to visit the surprisingly cosmopolite city of Barcelona. Spain was one of the five independent countries of the world, the others being Italy, Switzerland, China and Japan, and generally treated as neutral territory by both powers. As so, communes alternated with shopping malls and luxurious villas in lively cities that lived and thrived on tourism.
There, she had somehow ended up in the same commune with an American girl a year younger than she was, who had been placed into the Marxist complex out of an, all too common in international travelling, error in the paperwork. The young Katy Sands had, Lana had found, been educated in the proper American way, and firmly believed she was somehow going to be tainted by the communist way of life. Lana had taken pity on her, helping her get through the bureaucratic quagmire needed for her to be given the lodgings she had actually paid for. Somewhere along the line they had become close friends, and had spent the rest of the holidays together. She had been quite pretty, Lana recalled, and she had had somewhat of a crush on her back then, but her nationality made anything of that sort completely out of the question.
They had stayed in contact for a few months after that, but then came the decision by the ARF (Allied Resistance Forces, block composed by the USA, the United Islamic Resistance, commonly called the Jihad, and India) to completely cut communications with the United Marxist Republics, and that had made it impossible for them to stay in contact.
She surmised that Katy had got her phone number from the network of information databases called the CommuNet, which was easily accessible from any public phone in the UMR. However, how and why she had come to London and whatever lent that wildly urgent edge to her tone of voice were mysteries she was eager to resolve.
"Katy!" she exclaimed, "where are you and why-" she suddenly stopped as the flat tone of a cut line interrupted her words. What had just happened? Telephone lines never got interrupted in London.
Suddenly she got her answer as the three television monitors placed around the room flared into life, clearly showing the headline: American spy intercepted by the London Police at Heathrow Airport below a camera feed of a red-haired girl she instantly recognized shouting at the men putting handcuffs on her.
Author's Notes: "she had had somewhat of a crush on her" is completely intentionate. In case you were wondering. Thank you for reading