A gentle snow began to fall, slowly fading to water as it touched down on the cloth lining of the officer's caps. It was nearly -12 degrees Centigrade, but General Taskotonovich had insisted on delivering his adress in Red Square. While his aides fidgeted idly against the cold, Taskotonovich, ever the rugged Siberian, was quite comfortable in just his military waistcoat and Paphka. He stepped up to the podium, placing his hands on the synthetic wooden frame, which was warm to the touch, just below the microphone reciever holes. He stared out into the sea of reporters and eager citizens of Moscow, and finally began.

"Ladies and gentlemen," His thick, eastern Siberian accent draping his words as they boomed out of the smooth metallic speaker towers "Men and women of the Russian Federation, I come before you today to make a felicitous announcement: The crisis is over. For two days now, we have awaited the arrival of German forces, and we have seen no sign of them. Five days ago, Chancellor Tannenberg promised to take back Kaliningrad in three days time. The Germans remain still."

"It is now evident to us that the threat of war has passed. We have called Germany's bluff, and their ships remain in their ports, and no troops have been moved to this cause. Now that this threat is over, we can get back to work building a better Kaliningrad, and more importantly, a stronger Russia. Our military can get back to keeping the peace, and no blood will be spilt this day. My fellow Russians, we must take this lesson to heart and get back to work!"

The crowd roared as Taskotonovich struck his fist on the podium to emphasize his final point. He held up his arms and thanked the crowd as he retreated from his podium. He turned triumphantly to a couple of lieutenants, who escorted him to his Zil.

The Federation was safe, and the Motherland would endure: These thoughts comforted the General as they did the people, and on this basis, Moscow would sleep soundly tonight.

Finished 7/12/06