[identity profile] taras-oleksei.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] groznyj_grad
"We're here," the army pilot called back to them, yelling over the rumble of the helicopter's rotors.

Taras Cheslavovich Oleksei raised his head, blearily.

"Khorosho," he muttered.

He sat between Ilarion and Anya, hunched over, broad uniformed shoulders curled inward, arms folded in front of him and pressed against his stomach.

It had been a very long flight.

They'd arrived at the army base outside of Leningrad just before nine in the morning and boarded the military helicopter. It had clamshell rear loading doors that opened into a cargo area large enough to hold a MVD sedan with room to spare, though it was empty. Apparently, they were the cargo.

The hold was clearly not meant for passenger comfort, or for long trips, for that matter. They sat on a thin metal bench that folded down in the front of the cargo area, which was unheated.

Taras had never been in a helicopter before. He hadn't been prepared for the sensation of flight, which had seemed to vibrate straight through him, shaking him to his core.

He'd spent the first hour of the flight puking into a bucket in the back of the hold.

The second hour, he'd spent dry heaving until he was exhausted. Taras had rinsed his mouth out with vodka and went back to the bench to sit down. Anya had rubbed his back and murmured comforting words, then gave him some hard candy from her purse, like a mother.

After that, he hadn't puked any more, which he considered a point of pride.

Taras knew you had to take it where you could get it.

Ten more hours and four stops to refuel later, he still felt like he'd been beaten from the inside out with brass knuckles.

Conversation had been sparse. Ilarion had seemed preoccupied, while Anya read a pocketbook novel with a small flashlight she had in her purse. Taras thought he might have dozed fitfully, waking up disoriented.

Ahead and below, he could see a few scattered lights through the darkness through the canopy windows in the cockpit, faint signs of what passed for civilization. They circled the base once.

He wondered whose brilliant idea was it, to put a military base out in the middle of the Urals.

Taras straightened in his seat, squaring his shoulders, tugging his MVD cap down low on his brow, shading his mismatched mongrel eyes.

The helicopter hovered, then started to descend.

"All right," Taras said, breaking the silence. He had to speak loudly to be heard, and his voice sounded a little raw.

He turned to look at Ilarion.

"How are we going to play this?"
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The Groznyj Grad Living Novel

December 2010

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