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It was around the right time for a report to be handed in to the clerks, and Aleksandr Leonovich Granin, honored two times with the Order of Lenin, once with the Order of Stalin, designer of highly effective, highly expensive weaponry, was craving his vodka. He'd liked it better when Tanya had driven him to the complex. She'd asked questions about his work, and though Granin doubted she understood any of it, it had been better than sitting next to this... this dullard through the trip.

He wasn't even looking forward to it any longer. He had nothing to report except some vague numbers and plans that would probably sit on someone's desk, unused. There was little to discuss with his superiors, since they had no real concept of the sheer brilliance of his still-unfunded plans. It was all very routine these days, and he already knew that this day would end by finding Colonel Volgin, asking for money to finance his projects, and being refused. The man was an idiot just like all his soldiers. Ah, how he needed a distraction on days like these...

The truck spluttered to a halt, and Granin opened his eyes. "Looks like it overheated," said the nameless, boring, and probably stupid soldier who was even now jumping out to look at the engine. Granin had seen men like him work on engines before. He'd probably blow it up.

They were only 200 yards from the complex gates, and there was no point to delaying it. Maybe today would be different. Maybe he'd convince Volgin to fund him and stem the flood of money leaking to that pathetic Sokolov. Granin shook his head and got out of the vehicle, making sure all his papers were with him. "I'll walk," he said. Maybe he'd find a guard wandering around with something to drink before he found Volgin.

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The Groznyj Grad Living Novel

December 2010

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