Other The Chronicles of Grandpa: Honor, Blood, Justice

Discussion in 'Fan Works' started by Gabaw, May 12, 2016.

  1. Gabaw

    Gabaw Scruffy Nerf-Herder

    Those of you familiar with my previous works know that I tend to favor the ludicrous and hilarious whenever I can. This one's a little different. It's still got a bunch of silly moments but it's not all comedy this time. I think there's a story here that's more coherent. Hopefully :iswydt: Anyway, not much is known about Grandpa's past or much of his life. Here's an interpretation that I hope will entertain in more ways than just a laugh or two.

    Warning: Strong language and muscles ensue.


    It's the year 1938. Germany has invaded Poland. The world's second Great War began in Europe. The United States would not be involved until three years later.

    A small farmstead in rural Wisconsin lived in peace. “Waaaaaaahhh!” Well, relative peace. A young mother rushed to calm her crying son.

    “There, there.” She lifted him and gently patted his back. “It's no wonder you're so full of gas, the way you eat. I don't think this whole farm could feed you!”

    A father returned from a hard day on the fields. The small family was together again. “Phew! Boy it's hot out there, let me tell ya. Damn tractor's starting to die on me, too.”

    “Hang in there, honey.” Mom was bouncing the little one. “I fried you up an extra serving of bacon from the pig you put down last week.”

    “Mmmm... Ol' Porky. What a pig. Even better in my belly!” Dad enjoyed every juicy bite. “Say, you seen those strangers skulking around the property yesterday? They ain't friends of yours or nothin', is they?”

    “Strangers?” Mom put the baby back in his crib. He seemed content and giggled. “No, can't say that I have. Maybe they're surveyors for that new couple that moved into town recently.” She chuckled. “We might have some neighbors. Now wouldn't that be swell?”

    “Hmph.” Dad was lukewarm to the idea. “We've been lean the past couple harvests. I don't need the competition. Anyway, if you don't know 'em, I don't want 'em 'round here. Next time I see 'em, they're gettin' the boot or the barrel, whichever comes first.”

    “Okay, honey.” Mom sat down at the other end of the kitchen table. “Just promise me you won't blow things out of proportion. You remember what happened with the newspaper boy.”

    “Dag-nabbit! That kid done broke the side window with his poor aim. It cost an arm and a leg to get that fixed!” Dad chewed on another strip of bacon, savoring the fat.

    “The poor boy was terrified! I would be too if you just up and shot rock salt at me, yelling like the sky was falling down.” Mom spread some freshly-churned butter on a piece of hot bread.

    “He done it on purpose and you know it. Got a good arm, that kid. He's gotta play ball, which means he knows how ta' pitch! That was a square hit if I ever seen one. Besides-” Dad was interrupted by several hard knocks on the door. “What in the hell?”

    “Visitors at this hour? I'm not expecting anyone.” Mom was perplexed.

    “Neither am I...” Dad grabbed his double-barrel shotgun. “Get the boy and go into the cellar. Don't come out 'til I say so.” He made sure to load some 00 buckshot while Mom retreated to the basement with the baby.

    Dad approached the door cautiously. “Whaddya want?! Get on outta here, git!”

    “Herr vater, ve vould just like a moment of your time.” A male voice with a heavy accent resonated just outside.

    “I said git, ya hear me?!” Dad took no chances.

    “Ve vould like to talk to you in regards to your son. Zis is a matter of grave importance.” The voice was patient, no hint of the urgency conveyed in the message.

    “A-Alright, but you try anythin' funny and I won't hesitate to give it to ya!” Dad opened the door. He shouldn't have.

    An Officer stuck a Luger in Dad's ribcage. “Zat is exactly vat ve were hoping for.” He pushed his way inside with a soldier behind him, armed with an MP-38 mashinen-pistole or sub-machinegun.

    “O-Okay, t-take it easy now.” Dad was caught off guard. “You want money? Food? W-We don't got too much out here for you.”

    The Officer took a good look around while the soldier kept his SMG trained on the hapless man. “I believe ve already said so.” He turned around ominously, the twin lightning SS insignia shimmering gold in the dim light. “Ve vant the boy.”

    Sweat rolled down Dad's forehead. The shotgun was still in reach. He made a split second decision. “I ain't never handin' my son over to you!” He dove for the gun. The soldier prepared to fire.

    Suddenly, the door burst wide open. BLAM! BLAM! Two shots, two kills. Dad was already on the ground when it happened. The Germans fell in front of him, dead. He looked up at his saviors.

    Two men in khaki uniforms adorned with a large red star stood before him, a Tokarev pistol smoking. The one with the bigger star spoke. “Hail, comrade. I trust we did not come at a bad time?”

    Dad slowly got up. “Jesus! I thought I was toast. Thanks, fellas. Who are you, anyhow?”

    “That is no concern of yours, friend. Come, have a seat.” The Officer motioned to the kitchen table. “How about some vodka? Good stuff, I guarantee it!”

    “A drink? Now?” Dad's head was already spinning and his ears were still ringing. “Well... Guess one couldn't hurt. Hey, could you tell your buddy there to point that thing somewhere else?”

    The Officer waved his hand. The soldier with him lowered his prototype PPSh 'Papasha' SMG toward the ground.

    “Thanks.” Dad took a good, long swig. It calmed his nerves. Now better able to observe the finer details, he saw an embroidered sword behind a hammer and sickle sewn on their uniform sleeves. “Wait a minute... You're Stalin's men!”

    “Hm, astute.” The Russian Officer was somewhat impressed. “NKVD, to be precise. Worry not, comrade. We are not your enemy. We just want one little thing, a small favor for the greater good.”

    Dad tensed up. “If this is about my son again, you're never gettin' him!”

    “I see.” The NKVD Officer stood up. The soldier raised his SMG. “Unfortunately for you, we are not asking.” The Officer produced his Tokarev and they prepared to fire.

    Just then, the door burst open again. BLAM! BLAM! Two reds lying dead.

    Dad was already under the table when it happened. He stood up and saw two rough-looking men in black beanies and leather gloves. They were unshaven and generally unkempt.

    “One thing after another today.” Dad shook his head. “Now who are you? Some other secret agency here to take my only child?”

    The larger man spoke. “Actually, we're the notorious duo known as 'The Officers” and we're just here to rob you. Stick 'em up, wise guy!” The Officer drew an S&W Model 10 revolver while his friend backed him up with a homemade pipe SMG. They prepared to fire.

    BLAM! BLAM! The criminal scum fell over, lifeless and limp.

    Two Wisconsin State Troopers cleared the home. The higher ranking Officer told his rookie to stand down once he confirmed that the bad guys were out for the count. He holstered his Colt Detective Special revolver. The rookie put down his Thompson SMG.

    The Officer made sure the civilians were okay. “Sir, are you hurt?”

    “Thank God!” Dad got out from under the dining chair. “Finally, some good American law enforcement. Listen, these guys tried to kidnap my son!”

    The Officer assured him that everything was in order. “Don't worry, sir. We're here to help. We just need you to surrender custody of your child and we'll be on our way. If you refuse, I'm afraid we'll have to use force.” He drew his revolver again and they prepared to fire.

    “Oh for the love of-!” Dad didn't have time to finish his cry of exasperation.

    Two men in black suits and sunglasses entered in an authoritative manner with briefcases and fancy badges. The older one spoke. “Office of Strategic Services, Department of War. Stand down boys, we got it from here. And clean this place up.”

    “Yes sir right away sir!” The police officers removed the bodies.

    The OSS Officer drew his 1911 pistol while his trainee pressed a button on his briefcase and transformed it into an SMG. “You know the drill.” They prepared to fire.

    “Fuck it. Enough!” Dad went to the cellar hatch and opened it. “Hey sugarplum, we're sending our baby boy to military school. God bless America!” He pulled the child from a very exasperated and confused mother.

    “You made the right decision.” The Officer took the child and handed it to his trainee. “You're doing your nation proud. We won't forget it.” He took out a silver pen-like device and pressed a button on the side. “But you will.”

    FLASH!


    CLICK

    Lights. One light. Too bright.

    “Let's start with the basics.”

    Turn it off.


    “Can you tell me what year it is?” A middle-aged man in a black suit demanded.

    Turn the fucking light off.

    “The year, now.”

    The man he was talking to sat handcuffed in a steel chair in front of a steel table. Save for that one light that was still far too bright, the room was dark. There was a camera in one of the upper corners and a two-way mirror at the far end.

    The seated man replied. “1961.” He was shirtless and covered in a thin sheen of sweat.

    “Good. Who am I?” The suit pressed on.

    “CIA.” The man offered a curt answer.

    “Good. Lastly, what is your codename?”

    “My name...” The seated man stared daggers into his interrogator. “... is Grandpa.”

    The agent took off his sunglasses. “That wasn't so hard, was it? Easier than anything we've put you through these last 23 years.”

    Grandpa, as he would be known from here on out, was getting impatient. “So what is it already? Why this charade and the closed doors?”

    The agent turned away. “Kid, when my boss pulled you out of that farm in Wisconsin, he knew you had potential. If he were alive today, he'd see just how right he was. Damnit, and only two days from retirement.” The agent turned back. “But it's not enough. This mission is different. You're not ready.”

    Granpda twisted the handcuffs behind his back. “HAAAAA!” He broke them apart with sheer strength. “HOOOOO!!” He karate chopped the table, bending it in half. “I had a home, a life! You made me the world's strongest soldier and now you have the balls to tell me I'm not ready?!”

    The agent sighed. “You aren't. At least, not yet.” He pulled down a projector screen and started showing slides. “This is what we got on the Russian space program.” He went through pictures of rockets and satellites. Something about the last few slides seemed off. “You notice it too, right? There's a total blackout between October of 1959 and November of last year.”

    “Yeah. That's strange but not unexpected.” Grandpa was intrigued.

    “The Department of Defense noticed an unusual and rapid increase in unidentified objects exiting the Earth's atmosphere in a moon-bound trajectory during that same time period.” The agent took off his sunglasses. “There's something big happening here and we need to know about it.”

    “You want me to go into space. To the moon.” Grandpa ran his hand through his short, dark hair. He turned his dark blue eyes to the agent. “Count me in.”

    “That's what I like to hear, kid.” The agent handed him some folders classified top secret. “But we're not sending you up there.”

    Grandpa thumbed through the documents. “Top scientists... Logistics... Blacksite Alpha? You expect me to get there by myself?”

    “No. You'll have front row seats and a first class ticket.” The agent stared hard. “Courtesy of Nikita Khrushchev.”

    “The Soviets? You're outta your damn mind!” Grandpa threw the folder on the floor, spilling the contents. A grainy photograph of Blacksite Alpha slid out along with the codename 'Stardew Valley'.

    “I told you, this one's different.” The agent continued. “We have Khrushchev under our thumb for now, but it won't be long until he's discovered and expatriated. Time is of the essence.” He pulled out a cigarette, sticking it in his mouth and lighting it. “Pick up the folder. There's something in there for you.”

    Grandpa looked at the strewn papers. He saw a passport and citizenship documents, both painstakingly forged at the CIA headquarters. He flipped through them. “These are well done, I'll give you that.”

    “They had better be. Those papers are the only thing that'll get you in, through, and out of Russia. Lose those and you're on your own.” The agent puffed smoke out of his nose. “How's your cyrillic?”

    “Отличный. Still fresh.” Grandpa demonstrated his language skills.

    “Good. We've packed your things. You leave at midnight.” The agent put out his cigarette on a raised corner of the table. “Do us proud, kid.”

    Grandpa saluted. “Roger that, sir.”

    –---------

    “Last boarding call for Moscow. Please present your tickets to the boarding agent.” A woman announced the final rounds.

    Grandpa got up from his seat and rolled a large carry-on to the gate. He presented his pass to the very attractive agent.

    She looked at the bag. “Sir, that's too large. You'll have to check that in or leave it behind.”

    Grandpa laughed. “Are you talking about the luggage or something else you see?”

    The agent flushed red. “Oh, well I... Oh my.” She swooned aside.

    “Thanks, love.” Grandpa winked and got on. Besides having biceps the size of a small human torso, he was also a real ladykiller. His many handsome features and ruggedly charming good looks could teach Bond a thing or two.

    He found a free spot and squeezed himself in. He chose the emptier side of the plane so it wouldn't tilt beneath the weight of his muscles. The bag he brought with him was just small enough to be tucked away under the seat.

    “Pardon me, is this row taken?” A boy approached politely. He didn't seem older than about fourteen.

    Grandpa took pity on the lone teenager. “Nah, feel free.”

    “Thank you kindly, sir.” The boy tried to scoot past unsuccessfully. “I'm terribly sorry but it seems that your gargantuan quadriceps are impeding my passage.”

    “Hm? Oh.” Grandpa grabbed the boy and lifted him over to the adjacent seat. “Let me know if you need to take a piss or something.”

    “Golly! That was so cool!” The boy was thoroughly impressed. “Could I ask for your name?”

    Grandpa told his codename, the only name he ever had. It elicited a surprised reaction. “Yeah that's my real name, so quit asking.”

    “My name's Lewis. Pleasure to make your acquaintance!” The boy stretched out his hand. He had doubts about sitting next to a huge dude who made you call him grandpa but he put them aside.

    “Likewise, kid.” Grandpa leaned back in his seat. It almost tore itself clean off the bolts. “Whoa, better not do that again. Don't they steel reinforce these things?”

    “You're mighty strong, Gramps. I wanna be like you someday!” Lewis' eyes sparkled.

    “You think you want that but nah, you really don't. Now be quiet before I shut you down. I mean, shut you up.” Grandpa closed his eyes. He had a long flight ahead and a hostile nation that would torture him until death if they ever found out his true identity. “I hate traveling...”

    With nothing much to do, Lewis just sat there and twiddled his thumbs for about 13 hours.


    Touchdown or rather smashdown with the way the plane practically hit the tarmac nosefirst. At least nobody died this time and the plane could probably be used again. The only uninjured flight attendant opened the emergency exit and smiled. “I hope you enjoyed your flight. Please direct all claims to Air Moscow's legal department. Have a great stay!”

    It was a 21-foot drop from the exit to the tarmac. An old lady stood by the door, trembling. A stewardess with a broken humerus whispered to another who twisted her ankle. “The first one always takes forever, sheesh.”

    Grandpa would have none of it. He had places to be and Soviet space programs to infiltrate. “Move aside, granny.” He jumped out, cratering the pavement below. He grabbed hold of the landing gears and heaved. “HRRRGG!!” Muscles straining against his navy blue suit, he forced the landing gear inside of the plane. He did the same for the others, allowing the weight of the plane to finish the process.

    The passengers were incredibly grateful. They had already reserved spots in the hospital but now they wouldn't even need plasters or bandages. Lewis was one of the last to hop out. “Gramps, I got your bag for you!” He was dragging it with all of his might, inching it forward one step at a time.

    “Thanks, kid.” Grandpa lifted the bag over his shoulder like a sack of feathers. “See ya around.”

    “Wait!” Lewis ran to catch up with the giant strides. “Where are you headed?”

    “Nowhere important.” Grandpa kept walking. The boy kept following. “Don't you got parents or something?”

    “No sir, I don't.” Lewis slouched. “But that's okay! I'm gonna have new parents and a new home. Wanna guess where? Come on, try! You'll never get it.”

    Grandpa sighed. “I dunno, here in Moscow?” Wrong answer. “Somewhere else in Russia?” That wasn't it. “Then the moon, the fucking moon, how about that, huh?”

    “Yep, you got it!” Lewis beamed.

    “Wait, what?” Grandpa stopped. “You serious, kid?” He had no time to get an explanation. Men in black polyester uniforms carrying AKM rifles and radios surrounded him.

    The one in charge called out. “Stop right there or we'll turn your brain into borscht!”

    Grandpa looked around at 10 heavily armed counter-terror specialists. “KGB. Figures. They got me surrounded, the poor bastards.” He looked at Lewis. “Here, hold my bag.” The weight of the luggage pinned the boy to the ground, protecting him.

    “HAAAAA!!” Grandpa leaped, demolishing the commanding officer with a flying roundhouse kick. He grabbed the fallen AK and fired at five enemies, killing them instantly. The other 4 opened fire on him, guns blazing, muzzles flashing, bullets whizzing by like angry hornets, brass bouncing every which way.

    He slid underneath the incoming fire like a true American baseball player sliding into home plate. He kicked the legs out from under one of the bad guys and swung his body into another two, smashing them into a bloody pulp. Just one left. He turned and saw the rifle aimed at his chest. His eyes widened.

    BLAM! One round, on the mark. The last specialist lay dead before him.

    “What the-?” Grandpa looked to his side. He saw the boy standing there with a very familiar looking pistol.

    Lewis was breathing heavily, a Browning Hi-Power in hand. “Gramps! Are you okay?”

    “Yeah, I'm fine. Is that my gun?” Grandpa grabbed the pistol from him. “Huh, so it is.”

    “Please don't be mad... I just thought you might have one in your bag.” Lewis rubbed the back of his head, embarrassed.

    Grandpa wasn't sure what to make of this boy. Under all that fire, he thought to find a gun through all the other junk in the bag. Not only that, he knew how to use it and was a damn good shot. “Kid, you're sticking with me from now on.”

    Lewis brightened up. “Really?! Alright! I won't let you down!” He jumped for joy.

    “Let's get outta here before more of them show up. Hey, taxi!” Grandpa called for a ride. “To the the space program HQ, on the double!”

    The taxi driver scoffed. “Dumb American. What do you think this is, a racetrack?”

    Grandpa shoved a 100-ruble note into the driver's hand. “Get moving!”

    The driver got the message. He floored it all the way to their destination, thankfully missing any further conflicts and roadblocks.

    Grandpa stepped out first. “Check it out, kid. The Soviet Space Program headquarters. Not much to look at, though.” They stood in front of a symmetrical building several stories high and hundreds of feet wide.

    Lewis got out and took a look for himself. He was easily impressed. “Whoa! It's huge!”

    “Thanks but what do you think of the building?” Grandpa joked. “Anyway, let's go in. We're probably the last arrivals.” They entered through the front door, showing their special passes. Once inside, they were treated to a speech by the head of the program, Sergei Korolev.

    “Comrades, friends and foreigners.” Korolev spoke from behind a podium with the program's insignia emblazoned across the front. “You have all been specially selected to participate in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. In just a few short years our developmental rocket, the Soyuz-A, will make a monumental manned voyage to the moon. Previously, we could only send one man at a time or several animals. This new rocket will be able to take all of you at once, whether it's two or two dozen. I am very proud of this achievement and I know you will be too.”

    “However,” He continued. “You will all need training before you can enjoy the privilege of being shot through the atmosphere at a dead rock in an untested missile with certain and instant death right outside of your thin metal tube. We cannot delay progress any further. I leave you with one last message to fill your hearts with loyalty: Red Under Stars.”

    “Stars Inside All!” Everyone shoved their fists in the air and replied with the countersign, even Lewis. Grandpa did too, per instructions, but he might have been the only one who didn't repeat it in a trance.

    This is how 24 select candidates would train to be the greatest cosmonauts never told.


    After three years of rigorous communist indoctrination, there were only two left. The new head of the program addressed the only survivors, now gathered at a secret facility in what would become modern-day Kazakhstan.

    “Comrade Lewis, codename Mayor. Comrade Grandpa, codename uh, Grandpa.” He waited for acknowledgment. “Truly the finest specimens the Kremlin could ask for. If only Sergei could be here to see this. Damn, and only two days until launch.” He continued, throwing two spacesuits at the cosmonauts. “Khrushchev is about to be ousted and we still have the momentum from the assassination of Kennedy. We have no time to lose.”

    Grandpa looked at the shiny foil suit. “This is the first space thing I've seen in the last three years and we don't even get training? I figured that after viewing thousands of hours of slides featuring Karl Marx's face pasted on top of the Statue of David, we'd actually do some space stuff in a pool or some shit.”

    “Please, commander. Surely there's more!” Lewis begged.

    “There is one thing...” The administrator looked at them intensely. “Watch your step.”

    Massive bay doors opened behind them and a steel scaffold drawbridge lowered. Shadow cut back to light as the hangar opened fully, revealing the upper portion of the Soyuz-A. The rest was buried most of the way inside of an underground silo, extending hundreds of feet below the earth. The rocket was unmarked save for the iconic Red Star on the capsule.

    “Well,” Grandpa put his helmet under his arm. “Guess there's nothing left to do but walk in slow motion.”

    “Right.” Lewis did the same. The Soviet National Anthem blared from speakers atop the hangar and around the launch silo, red confetti popping all about the place. It was all very patriotic.

    “Hurry it up!” The administrator yelled at them. Finally in the capsule, they buckled in. All was set for a smooth, uneventful event.

    A robotic voice came through the speakers inside the cockpit. “T minus 15...14...13...” As the countdown proceeded, all else was silent. The inside of the capsule was hot, the suits even hotter. The whole facility held their breath.

    “4...3...2...1...” A creak, small at first. It grew in sound and scope until it developed into a monstrous crash right outside the craft. The scaffolding broke loose, knocking the rocket off course. “LIFTOFF!”

    “ABORT! ABORT! STOP THE-” The administrator was too late. The thrusters ignited. It was a beautiful if deadly sight. The Soyuz raised itself free of its shackles, unknowingly speeding towards a crash course and a horrific death for the occupants inside.

    “Gramps! S-Something's wrong!” Lewis' face washed pale. “They botched the launch! By Lenin, we're finished!” Warning sirens went off and the whole interior tried to shake itself apart.

    Grandpa smiled underneath his visor. “You've still got a long way to go, kid.” He got on the comms. “Mission to ground control, continue as planned.” He brought out the manual flight steering. “I got this.”

    Lewis' eyes opened wide. “u-uh, Gramps? What are you doing?”

    “Let's see...” Grandpa got the hang of it. “That way is up and that way is down.”

    Lewis panicked. “W-We need to re-calibrate the computer, align the thrusters, get our reverse azimuths, oh my god please do we adjust the apogee or the apoapsis?!”

    “Relax, will ya?” Grandpa laid back, operating the controls with one hand. “It's the goddamn moon, you can't miss it.”

    “We're dead.” Lewis resigned himself to his fate. He buried his head in his hands.

    Grandpa shoved his bag toward the boy. “Open the front pouch. No, the other one. That's it.”

    Lewis looked at him, confused. With nothing to lose, he did as asked. “W-what's this?” He pulled out a dull gold statuette of a speedo-clad muscular man holding a round barbell.

    “That, kid, is the coveted Sandow trophy.” Grandpa explained. “Eugen Sandow held 'The Great Competition' in England around 1901. It was a sport where bodybuilders and strongmen competed against eachother for the title of 'The Most Well Developed Man in the World'. That statue represents first place. It was made by Frederick Pomeroy years prior in 1891.”

    “Yes, I've heard of it.” Lewis examined the trophy. “But why do you have it?”

    “My grandad was part of that first competition. He got third place, a bronze statue that I'm sure is hidden away in the cellar of my family's home in Wisconsin.” Grandpa continued. “He was good friends with the first place winner, William Murray, and with the sculptor. When William died, it must have gone to my grandad as a token of friendship, no doubt passed down since then.”

    “That's an incredible story. How do you know all of this?” Lewis was much calmer now, his fire rekindled.

    Grandpa sighed. “I never knew my parents or other family. I had access to their archives and learned everything I could. Not quite the same as being there but it would do.” He looked at the boy next to him, now turning into a fine young man. “The bodybuilding bug seems to skip a generation and I must have caught it. I wanna do my grandad proud and continue the tradition. I want to be the strongest. That's what keeps me going day in and day out, through thick and thin. What about you?”

    Lewis looked at the blinking lights and monitors in front of him, his face reflected. “I also didn't know my parents. I grew up in a London orphanage. One day I overheard the nuns speaking to a man with a heavy accent. I know now that he was a recruiter for the Soviets, for this program.” His expression remained cold. “I had nothing and I would be nothing. This was my opportunity. I could be dragged away kicking and screaming or I could stand firm and volunteer. I volunteered.”

    Grandpa was listening intently. He kept the rocket steady.

    “Will I have a better life on the moon?” Lewis wondered. “Is there really nowhere on Earth where I belong? Have the throes of fate truly forced my hand this way? What is purpose, what is life? Is there any meaning at all?”

    Grandpa tapped him on the shoulder. “Look.” Outside, blackness dotted with bright, colorful stars. Below, a glowing planet murky with sparkling white clouds yet radiant all the same.

    Lewis gasped. “It's... It's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen.”

    “Thanks but I don't swing that way.” Grandpa joked. “I did do like twenty barrel rolls while you were talking though.”

    Lewis sighed. “Damnit. This is gonna be a long flight, isn't it?”

    They both laughed, a new level of confidence and optimism amongst them. Maybe, just maybe, things were gonna be alright after all.


    “SWEET JESUS MARY AND JOSEPH WE'RE STILL GONNA DIE!!” Lewis frantically pressed buttons on the console and flipped switches overhead.

    “Calm down. I said I got this.” Grandpa shoved the flight wheel in every direction desperately trying to regain control of the craft. The sticks snapped off. “Oops.”

    “What?! What 'oops'?!” Lewis was sweating bullets while sparks flew from the console. There was a small fire forming inside the craft.

    “Nothing.” Grandpa jammed the steering stick back in the slot. “Welp, not using that anymore.”

    “We're on a collision course! If we don't turn this capsule around and engage the thrusters, we're gonna be one of the five billion craters on the surface!” Lewis saw his only option. It was a big red button that would eject them both into space to hopefully float until they were rescued. Or die alone in the cold vacuum of space.

    “Can you get the jets online?” Grandpa looked at Lewis, who nodded in a probably kind of fashion. “Good.” He put his space helmet on.

    “Wait, where are you going?!” Lewis didn't need any more crazy stunts.

    “Just thrust when I say so. It'll be useful later in life too when you find a wife.” Grandpa joked. He entered the airlock and exited the craft.

    Space. Quiet. Bright. Too bright. Yet so dark. The overwhelming heat of the sun contrasted against the cold exterior of the suit. Radiation pummeled him, most of it bouncing away thanks to the smooth foil. It was an odd thing, hearing your own breathing. It was as if you were underwater but in the air at the same time. You could float but you couldn't swim.

    Fortunately, Grandpa had magnetic boots. The thunking of his steps could be heard from inside the craft. Nearing the back of the pod, he grabbed hold of the sides and lifted his arm. With a reverberating thud, he hit the rim of the capsule and caused it to turn around. He got on the comms. “Thrusters, now!”

    Lewis fumbled a little but he found the right switch. He slammed it with his palm. Slowly but surely, each of the four thrusters engaged, gently nullifying the descent of the capsule. It touched down on the surface, practically at the front door of Blacksite Alpha. He cheered on the comms. “Woohooo!! That was amazing! I can't believe we lived!” Silence at the other end. “... Gramps? Hello?”

    The radio crackled. “Heh, don't doubt the flexmeister.” Grandpa stood atop the conical pod like a commemorative statue on top of a historical building, striking a front twin-bicep pose. He almost tore his suit right then and there. “Okay let's get inside. Don't forget my bag.”

    The two men walked to the entrance of a gigantic clear dome. There was an airlock at the front with multiple secondary locks within. A security officer manned the gate. “State your business.”

    “Mayor Lewis, comrade! Here for the glory of the Red Nation!” Lewis answered first.

    The security officer checked him off. “Hail, comrade. Red Under Stars!”

    “Stars Inside All!” Lewis gave the countersign, raising his fist proudly in the air. The lock hissed, opening up.

    “Next.” The security officer moved on.

    Grandpa gave his codename. “What he said.”

    The security officer checked him off the list too. “Hail, comrade. Red Under Stars!”

    “Stars inside all, yatta yatta whatever.” Grandpa waved him off and entered behind Lewis. The lock closed again and they proceeded. However, when he reached the end of the corridor, several officers blocked his path. They were armed with shotguns loaded with beanbag ammunition.

    “Not so fast, comrade.” The security captain took issue. “The sign.”

    “What's the problem? I already told you the sign.” Grandpa got annoyed.

    “The fist.” The captain approached. “Show me the fist.”

    “If you say so.” Grandpa punched the officer in the face, sending him flying into two of his goons.

    “O-Open fire!” The captain yelled. Three other officers shot, launching beanbags at high velocity.

    “Is that supposed to tickle?” Grandpa barely felt a thing as the bags bounced off of his spectacularly ripped chest and abs. “Now let me through before I skewer you like shashlik.”

    Lewis ran up to the guards. “It's okay, he's with me! I'm terribly sorry about all this. I assure you that he's authorized by the Kremlin. Here, his papers.” He produced documents from the bag. With a little bit of fuss, the guards finally relented.

    “Thanks for the help back there.” Grandpa had his bag over his shoulder again. “You'll make a good mayor.”

    Lewis shook his head. “That's just codename. Imagine, me as mayor. That would be a disaster!”

    Grandpa slapped his back. “Give yourself some credit, eh? Anyway, what the hell is this place?”

    They looked at the colony before them. It was lush with green life and fertile soil. The air was sweet and rich with oxygen. It wasn't a small dome but rather so large that it extended beyond the horizon in one direction. The place could easily be a dozen square miles or more. The large thermoplastic dome was made of several hexagonal panels that had shutters to adjust the amount of light coming in if necessary.

    A woman with straight chestnut hair approached the duo. She was wearing a pristine white lab coat and spectacles that covered her light brown eyes. She was rather well endowed and wasn't afraid to show it. Her fishnet leggings, black miniskirt and high heels gave the same impression. “Greetings, gentlemen. My name is Paula and I'm the head scientist here at Blacksite Alpha, or as we like to call it, Stardew Valley.”

    “N-n-nice to m-meet you, M-Ms. Paula.” Lewis stammered awkwardly.

    “Hi there.” Paula thought it was cute and gave him a nice smile, bending over to reveal a bit of cleavage. Still, while his eyes were down there, her eyes were up top, past the boy and looking straight at the glorious mountain of man behind him. “And you? I don't believe I've had the... pleasure.”

    Grandpa gently lifter her hand, kneeling to kiss it. “The pleasure is all mine, madam. I must say that the view here is quite wonderful.” He smiled. “and I suppose the landscape isn't too bad, either.”

    “Oh my!” Paula brought her free hand to her mouth. “I can tell we're going to get along so well.” She licked her lips sensually. Nevertheless, it was down to business. “First thing's first. We'll take a short tour of the area then visit the Communism Center. After that, you can finally get settled in.”

    True to her word, she made the tour short. She brought them around the outside of the various facilities. There was a greenhouse for food and oxygen, a flora research bunker, and a salination plant that would one day create an ocean.

    When they passed by the biolab for fauna experiments, they caught a glimpse of what was going on inside. Lewis raised his hand, faced with his worst nightmare. “Ms. Paula, is that a Tyrannosaurus Rex uppercutting a Triceratops?! "

    Paula grinned. “Of course it is. Anything is possible on the moon.” She nudged her spectacles proudly. With the gawking finished, she brought them to the Center and they sat through more Marxist propaganda. Lewis ate it all up while Grandpa snored. They would have to come here every morning before starting their day.

    “That's all there is to it.” Paula caught the men as they were walking out. “As for your duties, Mayor Lewis, you'll be assigned to the Pelican Building on admin work.” She saw his dejected face. “Oh come now, it's not so bad. Plus, you'll be working with me. It's part of my job as head scientist.” The boy's face immediately lit up and he eagerly made his way to his new post.

    Paula continued. “Grandpa, you're overseeing food production. It's a job that's crucial to our survival so I hope that you're as eager to live as I am.” She took him to the outskirts of the research base, down an overgrown path to a farmhouse that looked rough around the edges but otherwise fairly new.

    Grandpa looked around. The plot was largely overrun with a mix of trees you normally wouldn't see together. Pines and oaks stood singly side by side with the occasional maple coming through. He could even see some giant mushrooms in the distance. “You scientists really did a number on this place. I'm supposed to grow food in all of this?”

    Paula smiled. “Yes. I'm sure that a man of your stature could make miracles happen.” She eyed him up and down, noting the small beads of sweat rolling off of his boulder-like shoulders. “Don't worry. I'll be stopping by very frequently to check on your muscl- I mean, on your progress.”

    “I'll be waiting, sweet thing.” Grandpa kissed her hand again. “Don't take too long.”

    “I don't plan on it, handsome.” Paula flirted back. “You'll have to tuck yourself in tonight.” She walked back to the administrative office, a noticeable sway in her shapely hips.

    Grandpa watched her until she turned a corner, transfixed and mesmerized. He had to tear himself back to reality. “Now then. Time to clean up this dump.” Before he could get to work, he heard a howl nearby.

    A large brown wolf trotted from the back of the building, snarling menacingly. It showed signs of starvation and injuries from fighting. It was alone.

    Grandpa looked at it for a moment. He opened his bag and crushed open a ration can. “Here little guy, is this what you want?” He threw it in front of the hungry wolf. With some caution, it approached. When it got a taste, it ate like its life depended on it.

    Grandpa stepped lightly and got close. He just watched for a while as it 'wolfed' down the meal. He stretched out a hand when it was done. “You were just hungry, weren't ya?” It allowed him to rub its face. Its eyes closed and it tilted its head, clearly enjoying the petting. “Guess you don't mind sticking around.” He had to think of a name. “I'll call you... Wolfy McWolferson.” Well, it was something.

    The wolf would surely be a good friend and loyal companion for several years to come. For now, Grandpa entered the farmhouse. It was a one room affair with a washbasin and a single bed in the corner. He lightly pressed down on the bed. It snapped in two. “Definitely gonna have to steel reinforce this.” Still, it was a long day of space stunts, security breaching, and wolf taming.

    Before he slept, he took out his precious Sandow trophy and placed it on a shelf. He would begin his regimen. Whenever he woke up and whenever he was ready to sleep, he would flex in front of it, praying for greater strength and bigger muscles while perfecting poses. Satisfied, he lay down on the ground and drifted away.

    The next morning after the daily indoctrination, Paula came to visit the farm. She was about to say something but just watched.

    Grandpa was on the fields, shirtless. He ripped trees out of the ground with his arms and set them aside. The bright sun left him bronzed, the deep crevices of his musculature further highlighting his sweating, screaming body. He paused for a moment and noticed her. “Hey now! How long have you been standing there?”

    Paula chuckled. “Only long enough to be incredibly turned on.” She approached him. “Actually, I came by to see how you were doing. Looks like you've got a handle on everything. My work here is already done.”

    “Leaving so soon?” Grandpa put his hands around her waist, his dark wet locks falling across his face. “Why don't you come in? I got a whole bottle of vodka that I'd love to share.” He invited her for a drink.

    “Hmm...” Paula thought about it for a while. She still had some allotted time to initiate the new arrivals. Plus, they were in the middle of nowhere. Also she was horny as hell. “I suppose one drink couldn't hurt.” She stepped inside, Grandpa's arm around her.

    That day and many days and nights thereafter, Lewis could hear her moan while he pushed pencils in the administrative building late into the evenings. A dark cloud formed in his heart, one that would precipitate tragedy and tears.


    0400 hours, February 1967. Grandpa awoke to desperate knocking at his front door. He rubbed the bleariness out of his eyes and opened the door. “Who's it?” He slurred.

    Paula pushed past him. “It's an emergency. I have to talk to you, now.”

    “Huh? Paula?” Grandpa noticed her urgency. “What's going on?”

    “I don't know how but the Kremlin found out that I'm pregnant.” Paula paced nervously. “This is a serious problem! We're not supposed to populate without explicit permission. It's a very delicate balance here. Besides, I'm the head scientist. I can't abandon my duties to take care of a child!”

    “Whoa, easy there.” Grandpa touched her arm. “What are you saying? Pregnant? How?”

    “I'm saying that...” Paula took a moment. “It's your child and I want it.”

    “I see...” Grandpa was stunned. “I'd like us to have it, too, but what about Moscow?”

    “To hell with Moscow!” Paula frowned, then sighed. “I'm going back to Earth to have the child. The next supply shuttle is due to arrive soon. I'll hack the automated navigation system and land in America, off the coast of Florida. If I barter with national secrets, they'll grant me asylum, I'm sure of it.”

    “Paula, this is crazy. There has to be another way!” Grandpa pleaded.

    “No, there isn't.” Paula had a sad smile. “But I learned from the best.” She looked up at him. “I know you're no Soviet patriot. Whoever you are and whoever you're working for, I won't get in the way of that. I will raise our child on our home planet, not some colony in space.”

    “You're set on this, aren't you?” Grandpa knew the answer. “I'll come for you, I promise.”

    “I believe it.” She kissed him for as long as she could. The facility comms announced the arrival of the shuttle. She headed toward the landing dock and into the airlock connecting the ship to the dome. She turned around, looking at Grandpa who had followed her there. “Goodbye, my love. I will never forget you.” They pressed their hands against their respective sides of the glass.

    Grandpa watched the shuttle leave. “PAAUUULAAAAA!!” His heart sank. He slumped against the dome for a while, thinking. “How did this happen? I guess when you do it three times a day for a few years, it's bound to occur.” Another thought struck him. “Who else could have known? Even I didn't know until today.” His eyes widened. “Fuck!”

    He ran with incredible speed back to the farmstead, cutting straight through the dense jungle, but it was too late. His pet wolf lay dead in front of the house. “No... NO! This can't be!” He ran up to it. There was a needle in its side, poisoned. He screamed at the sky, tears streaming down his face. “MCWOLFERSOOOOOON!!”

    He dug a hole in the ground with his fingers and buried his loyal companion. The day just kept going from bad to worse. With that thought in mind, he lifted his head, looking at the farmhouse. He hurried inside, straight to the mantle over the fireplace. Where there was supposed to be the golden Sandow trophy was instead a note. “Confiscated per the recently instated gold tax. It will look pretty in the coffers. Sincerely, your new Mayor, Lewis.

    Grandpa crushed the note in his fist. “LEEEWWWIIIIIIIIIS!!” He punched the paper into and through the floor. “I'll get you for this, traitor!” He would wait to unleash his fury. Revenge was a dish best served with a side of PAIN.

    –----------------

    Ever since that fateful day, Grandpa had truly trained in earnest. He dug out a cellar with his fists and crushed rocks in his hands, mixing them with charcoal and limestone. He had made concrete by hand and poured the walls and floor of the basement. No equipment. No lights.

    Every evening he would enter after a hard day of work. He would imagine Lewis standing there in the dark. He'd punch, kick, headbutt, throw knees and elbows at a phantom opponent much stronger than himself. He wouldn't leave until the apparition begged for mercy and he himself had bled the Red away from the daily propaganda.

    This was his life from now on. Years passed. In 1977, Grandpa learned of a Mr. Olympia competition with the first place prize being a brand new Sandow statue. He entered remotely via photograph and later via internet. He won no-contest every time. In the meantime, the colony expanded, a small town began to form. The vast jungle receded partially into desert and the ocean began to form, teeming with life.

    But Grandpa never forgot. Even when the USSR collapsed and Blacksite Alpha became a self-sustaining town, even when the CIA directors who remembered him had long since died, even as he himself aged and became gray then white. He never stopped training, never rested on his laurels.

    Nevertheless, it had been a long time. It was now 2007 and Grandpa was 69 years old. He looked in the mirror of the farmhouse, still unchanged from all those years prior except for steel reinforcements that were beginning to rust away. “Look at you, you old dog. How long have you been on this rock?” He flexed, muscles bulging with furious veins. “Haha, still got it!”

    Despite his advanced age, he still had a rock-hard body and enormous biceps. He breathed deep. “Hooo....” He looked at his shelf. “30 Sandows, 60 medals. To think I started competing to keep myself at peak fitness. Now look at me.” He approached the mantle. “It's all vanity, isn't it?”

    The truth is that he wasn't even angry anymore. It all felt like a lifetime ago and in many ways, it was. He thought back. “I haven't talked to that old sprout since then. I wonder if he's even alive.” He paced back and forth. “Still, not like I'm getting any younger either. Maybe this revenge thing isn't all it's cut out to be. After all, it was thanks to him that I was at my best all this time. With no one to hate, where does that leave me?”

    It was a sign of his sage wisdom gained through the years. At some point, though he always remembered the betrayal, he flexed not to kill but to win. To be the best he could be, just like he wanted all those years ago. His thirst for vengeance has thinned with age. “I should stop by and say hi, for old time's sake.”

    For the first time, Grandpa went into a town that didn't exist when he nearly crash landed on the moon over 40 years ago. He saw friendly faces, bright smiles from a people who were happy now. He knew that there were some who still hung to their old ways and that the New Kremlin had agents among them. He definitely didn't miss the Joja Corporation setting up shop. Regardless, it was a real turnaround and it was good to see.

    At last, there it was. That quaint building in the center of town where the old administrative office used to be. He knocked on the door. It nearly fell off its hinges. It opened. “Been a while, kid.”

    Lewis nearly had a heart attack. “Gr... Gramps! Is that really you?” It was like they met for the first time again.

    “I ain't dead yet, kid. How about I come inside?” Grandpa walked in as the door closed behind him. He looked around. “Nice place ya got here.”

    Lewis sighed. “I knew this day would come.” He stood in front of him. “The day that you would exact your revenge.” He sat down, head in his hands. “Every waking hour of my life for the past forty years has been spent in terror and anxiety, awaiting this moment. So what are you waiting for? Just do it!”

    Grandpa approached, fist raised. He slammed it down. Lewis winced. The table splintered apart.

    “Scared ya, didn't I?” Grandpa laughed. Noticing the man's utter confusion, he continued. “You know, I learned something over these many years.” He paced in front of him. “Revenge is a strong motivator and a strong emotion, but in the end, it's just empty calories. It won't bring back the dead or right any wrongs.” He stopped pacing. “Punishment, on the other hand, must fit the crime. And I think you've suffered long enough.” He extended a hand in renewed friendship. “Come 'ere, you old fool.”

    Lewis couldn't believe it. From the day they first met to their reunion now, this was a man who never ceased to amaze, a man whose character and heart were as strong as his muscles. Lewis took his hand and cried, moved to tears by this generous act of forgiveness. They shared a powerful moment together, a cemented bond born through struggle and strife.

    “That wasn't so hard, was it?” Even Grandpa couldn't help but sniffle a bit.

    Lewis wiped away his own tears. “It's good to have you back, Gramps. I have something that belongs to you.” He went to the safe and opened it, revealing the original golden Sandow trophy.

    Grandpa smiled. “Ha! Somehow I knew you didn't melt it down. You kept it all this time, huh?” He took the trophy, giving it a once over. Satisfied, he handed it back. “Wouldn't hurt to keep it a while longer.”

    “I-I don't understand.” Lewis was befuddled again. “You don't want it back?”

    “No, it's not that.” Grandpa waved. “I'm old now, kid. I'm an actual grandpa! My daughter's child is 12 years old, you know. Paula died a few years ago...” His face showed signs of regret, of pain. “...but I'm going back to Earth to meet my family.”

    “Of course. I can arrange that immediately.” Lewis started to pick up the phone.

    “Wait. I'll take you up on that, but I won't be coming back.” Grandpa broke the news. “I will go to the ancient land of my people and climb to the peak of Muscletaur Mountain. I must honor my grandfather and his fathers before him by lifting The Golden Barbell.”

    “The Golden Barbell?” Sweat beaded up on Lewis' forehead. “Men younger than you have dared and died chasing this foolish feat! Please, don't do it. You don't have to come back, you can stay with your family. The world still needs you.”

    “Look at this place.” Grandpa gestured toward the window. “It's grown into a fine town under your care. My family, they don't need an old man breathing down their necks all day.” He looked at his friend. “This feat is the culmination of my life's work, the only true purpose I have ever had. I have not chosen anything in life, can I at least choose how I die?”

    Lewis had no rebuttal. “I'll arrange for a flight. If you need anything else, don't hesitate to ask.”

    “Yes, there is one thing.” Grandpa pulled out a letter. “This is for my grandchild. Guard it well. Send it in five years. Leave my farm as is. It'll build character.” He laughed, handing the letter over.

    “I will, Gramps. This I promise you.” Lewis embraced him. “Be strong, old friend. Know that neither on Earth or the Moon has there ever been or will there ever be as great a man as you.”

    Grandpa smiled, tapping Lewis' shoulder. “Take care, kid.”

    He walked to the spaceport. It reminded him of Paula all those years ago. The shuttle arrived, gleaming white. He stepped inside, looking back at Stardew Valley as the doors closed for the last time.

    –----------------

    “Woweee!” Vincent jumped in his seat. “That was so cool!”

    Jas giggled. “Yeah! It was also kind of sad.”

    Penny closed the book. “See? Reading can be fun! I'm glad you liked it.”

    “Again, again!” Vincent couldn't get enough.

    Jas tugged at Penny's skirt. “Um, did Grandpa ever lift the Golden Barbell?”

    “Yeah did he, did he??” Vincent was dying to know.

    Penny laughed. “Maybe he did, maybe he didn't! Mayor Lewis might know. Why don't you ask him?”

    “Awwwwwww!” The children said in unison. They were sent home with a little homework to do.

    Penny put the book back on the shelf. “Thanks as always, Gunther. I have to wonder if that story is true? Most of that stuff isn't even possible. Oh well, have a good evening.”

    “No problem, Penny. You're welcome here anytime.” As she left, Gunther walked to the back of the library. In a far corner on a dim pedestal surrounded by glass, a golden Sandow trophy shimmered as if it were alive. “My dear girl, on the moon, anything is possible.”

    [​IMG]
     
      Last edited: Jul 6, 2016
      MagicallyClueless likes this.

    Share This Page