'He was killed because he ceased to be relevant when he sounded his barbaric yawp. Savagery does not interest us, civilization does. We are communists, are we not? You would do well to remember who liberated the world from barbarism.’
'According to the antique economic theories of the first Soviets, meticulous centralized planning would eliminate the threat of substantial degradation of the environment. As a consequence of the rampant Soviet economic drives and the infinite fabrication of reports, the homeworld is hideously polluted: as the ice caps dwindle, the acidic oceans - contaminated with mercury, lead and copper - swallow entire coastlines whole; the endless atomic meltdowns of crude power stations blast plumes of radioactive particles into the hazy atmosphere, tormenting the population with constant thyroid and throat cancers. The output of the wheat, potato and rice, the three staples of the Soviet diet, harvests plummet as the climate rapidly worsens, plunging billions of suffering people into starvation. For all the chattering talk of civilization, packs of cannibals, driven mad by a gnawing hunger, stalk the hellish collectives. When the food ran out, the peasants found that the only thing left to eat was eachother – parents are eating their own children.Of course, the damned red tsar runs newsreels: 'Look at us! We are eating simple meals of potato, we likewise endure the famines! We understand!' They launched manned rockets to the deep depths of the solar system, but they neglected the only place that really mattered. Mark my words; Earth is breathing its last air – and all because our grandparents were drunk on Bolshevik poison.'
In the not-too-distant future...
Pawel Kaczorowski was a gaunt, grave and withdrawn man. Swollen tissue, stained a sickly purple, ringed his pale - almost ghoulish - blue eyes. He wore a loose-fitting light grey jumpsuit. He had tousled brown hair. Hunger,thirst, fatigue and loneliness had depleted Pawel - he was but the hollow shell of a man, as if the very thing that made him human had been completely quelled.
Pawel stared from the grimy suite's small window. The Moon's desolate surface was still, silent and eerie - nothing stirred. In the bright light of the sun, the countless craters cast long shadows. Atop a far lunar dune, a lone Soviet flag stood. The white mounds of lunar dust were laced with the deep footsteps of the Soviet World Republic's intrepid explorers - the SWR had conquered this realm.
The beam of thousands of incalculably distant, glimmering stars watched over Mare Nubium's sweeping white gulfs. In the distance, the translucent, pyramid-shaped lunar settlement of Zhukovgrad beamed a striking crimson. From two kilometres away, Pawel could see the black silhouettes of hurried Soviet colonists. Pawel thought that the settlers could be rushing to line for a pair of patched shoes and stale loaf of tasteless synthetic 'bread', or even to attend a lifeless holographic screening of Battleship Potemkin or The Last American.
Shrouded in white, bloated and coiled clouds, Pawel could see vast tracts of the rugged Eurasian landmass from the jagged Himalayas, to the flaring steppes of the Russian Far East. From the Moon, Pawel could sense the beautiful planet's warmth. Earth was a blur to him, but Pawel could remember faint flickers of his childhood's beautiful irregularity and blissful timelessness. Swimming naked with his faceless playmates in murky creeks; the wrinkled faces of blubbery peasant women; the chirping of little birds nestled in green canopies of spruce and pine; dusty, lice-ridden hostels cloaked in the salty mist of the Baltic Sea. Even though Pawel could barely remember the beautiful planet, he missed it solemnly - in an inexplicable way he could not possibly tie together a sentence to express.
Pawel stepped back from the lone, circular window. The sudden rumbling of ancient industrial machinery shattered the tranquility, resonating from the labyrinthine titanium foundry below. The shadowy apartment's blue light ebbed, and the room's temperature quickly plunged - a numbing chill was cast across the dwelling, jolting Pawel. The air became thinner; breaths became deeper.
The apartment was once a lavish personal suite for a scheming bureaucrat or an elite technician,but had become a filthy dwelling partitioned between three squabbling families and a rabble of silent loners. The raw, cool ugliness of the Soviet architectural orthodoxies was masked by the sour-smelling swarm of people - Cossacks, Croats, Germans, as well as a sorrowful Pole, sobbing Dane, poetic Magyar and a drunkard Finn. The stained, craggy carpet floors were lined with rows of rumpled mattresses. The little bands of untamed children fought out of boredom. Old, austere Lars Jensen - a decrepit man with a fringe of grey hair, who was once fond of boasting that he was 'maniacal in battle' - trembled and wailed uncontrollably. Last week, his wife had used a surgical scalpel and her bare hands to disembowel herself.
Pawel felt that his wretched existence was strangled by the inescapable presence of other people - there was no solace on the Red Moon. He threw himself onto his worn mattress. He was too tired to remain awake, but far too miserable to sleep. A warm tear trickled down his left cheek.
Pawel did not feel fear or remorse - he only felt depressingly empty.
The scenery of Pawel's mind was mostly ghastly. As he lay awake, his consciousness wandered to the past - peering into the twisted calculus of communist history.The last of the ancient capitalist states had melted away in the turbulent nineteen sixties. With fierce momentum, waves of stormy revolutions tore across the embattled planet. The dead nations are historically responsible for abominable records of savage oppression,monstrous pogroms, imperialist wars and broken treaties, on the same foundation as existence of the Mongol Conquests and the Napoleonic Wars.
The prophesied World Revolution was complete - socialism had won the ultimate dialectical victory. Great powers had become mere footnotes in the annals of human history, as the united Soviet World Republic –forged from the wreckage of 106 fallen nations - was left unanswerable master of the entire planet's surface. The last fires of partisan resistance to Soviet rule had been extinguished by the Red Army before the dawn of the third millennium. The human residue of the crushed insurrections retreated to the long shadows of the new world, and resorted to terror tactics and subterfuge.In historical retrospect, Soviet scholars write of the fundamental backwardness of the ideological and social complexities of the capitalist system in an almost identical sense to the ignorance and savagery of the barbarous tribes once nestled in the lairs of the Amazonian rainforest, the Congolese basin or the arid Australian wildness - each vile horde with a name and petty history that were both deservedly forgotten. It is asserted that capitalism, a system that is underlined with individualistic depravity, is the antithesis of human civilization, because of the repugnant social divisions and the selfish want it creates. Soviet intellectuals pitch the difference between the Soviet World Republic and the dead capitalist nations as the rigid historical boundary of civilization and savagery. The Soviet World Republic - along with shades of Imperial Rome and Ancient Greece, as minor anomalies - is seen as the sole 'civilizer' of a savage world.
The Red Moon’s serpentine transport network weaved above, below, within and around the nine beaming Soviet colonies. Thousands of freight trains ferrying raw materials thundered and nimble passenger capsules darted at incredible speeds. Not even the once booming industrial metropolises of the Midwest, the Ruhr, the Cape or the East Indies boasted such intricate and bustling railway networks.
The long terminal was like a morgue: a sterile, white-tiled room stretched before Pawel for three hundred metres. Towering, bronzed statues of Vladimir Lenin and Karl Marx stood at each end of the monolithic terminal, cast from the Vatican's melted-down churchbells. Columns of silk, scarlet Soviet flags dangled from the ceiling. Ranks of short red metal benches lined the terminal; a handful of scattered travellers were perched on the seats, muttering profanities and sipping oily coffee - if one could call it that -from thin plastic cups. With pattering thumps on the marble floor, Pawel briskly strode towards Bay Six. A lone, stout soldier with a drooping moustache, an empty Mongoloid face and a fawn trench coat casually patrolled. A sleek sub-machine gun was slung over his left shoulder and a synthetic fur ushanka sat on his domed, bald head. He blew out a plume of hazy cigarette smoke as Pawel passed, spluttering as he exhaled.
Three young women wearing the tight, teal uniform of the State Colonial Directorate - revealing sharp, angular physiques - handed the stream of travellers glossy, picturesque postcards of the romantic meadows of the Venus and golden savannahs of Mars. A trim woman with rosy cheeks shrieked: 'Comrades, apply for off-world relocation! The Red Army's Interplanetary Rifle Divisions are looking for recruits!Great opportunities for both skilled and unskilled workers!' Pawel shrugged her off as he walked past. Pawel had applied for transfer hundreds of times in the past, to each scattered outpost in the Soviet solar empire to escape from his nightmarish prison - never truly knowing if anything about Soviet life was even remotely different elsewhere, but because of an admittedly irrational hope. Pawel ceased submitting applications ninety days before - he now thought that 'off-world relocation' was a cruel myth.
Bay Six's automatic glass doors hissed open. Pawel stepped into the docked passenger capsule. Someone breathed on Pawel’s neck. He stood in a tight clump of about thirty hollow-cheeked commuters, each wearing identical light-grey, dishevelled fatigues - they looked as if they were condemned convicts, marching to a firing squad for political crimes. The scratchily neon-lit, cramped capsule’s metal walls were etched with countless abrasions and coated in faded crimson paint plastered with vibrant propaganda posters. The bold, lurid script rendered an almost indecipherable stream of Marxist-Leninist jargon in, as Pawel counted, seven languages.
The swarm of travellers was in total silence; no commuter dared to speak.The capsule had an excruciatingly tense atmosphere. Pawel sensed he was under the leer of the secret police. It was rumoured that one in three were civilian informants of the State Security Directorate, the scrupulous department fashioned to expunge any trace of individualism - by turning man against man with the selfish incentive of luxuries, in the very name of men. The people of the Red Moon - as if according to a primeval instinct, a primitive one that cradled man when he slept in the dirt - conform to remain in the faceless,philosophically illiterate horde; a salient, mechanical defence against being deemed a 'subversive element'.
Goading people aside with metal batons, three police officers waded through the tense and tight crowd. With dry and automated voices, they demanded to see travel permits. Each traveller, including Pawel, produced a rumpled square of red paper, which was analyzed with wide, sore eyes. The police officers each slammed a red button. The bay’s fusion coil accelerator began to emit a shrill drone as it charged. With a blast, the electromagnetic rails hurled the capsule at an incredible speed.-
Pawel once rode the capsule with his dear younger brother. As the tracks chattered, he thought back. Three months before, Pawel's brother Tomasz had suddenly vanished - disappearing in a sleepless night. In the cruel days after his disappearance, Pawel was forced to endure gruelling uncertainties - had Tomasz committed suicide? Had Tereshchenko's soldiers beaten him to death, in a maintenance tunnel or interrogation chamber? Was he decapitated by a brutish anarchist? Crushed or mangled in an industrial accident? Terrible visions of his brother's possible fates agonizingly bubbled in Pawel's relentlessly anxious mind.
Two weeks later, Pawel received a letter from the State Colonial Directorate. He remembered the unusual - almost alien - feel of the crisp, smooth paper and the document's powerful scent of rich vanilla. After 'comprehensive review', Tomasz's application for 'off-world relocation' had been approved. A shuttle had transported him to a remote firebase in the blistering Western Sahara, to serve in a seasoned Red Army counter-terror division. Tomasz was a timid furnace stoker, not a robust soldier hardened by grinding years of back-breaking service in the Red Army - he had never fired a carbine or lobbed a grenade, let alone survived the brutal training of the Soviet World Republic’s counter-terror forces.
It became a piercing fixation - a riddle Pawel could not solve. Did the Red Moon's automated systems malfunction, resulting in the accidental deployment of Tomasz? Did the State Colonial Directorate intend to remove the lingering suspicion from his disappearance, but was the ministry hampered by bureaucratic ineptitude? Despite Pawel’s pleas, Tomasz had recklessly become entangled in the shadowy, underground non-conformist circles - 'humanity is worth more than this,' as Tomasz would bitterly mumble. He must have made himself a target of the secret police! Pawel steeled himself for the worst. It taunted him that he would never truly know what had happened to his brother, because, after his father's death, Pawel's existence had become latched to an animalistic protective instinct.
-The television cast a blue glow in the apartment's gloomy darkness. Rippling shadows were all around Pawel, who stood with slumped shoulders. The autocrat Oleg Tererschenko's young and animated figure appeared on the wavy screen, with a robust and handsome face that could correlate to a Alexander the Great's. He wore a finely-tailored military uniform, with seven glittering medals pinned to his left breast. The First Comrade had brown hair, side-swept and slicked-back, unlikely to be disturbed by even the most fierce Earthly gust. Soldier or scholar - Tereschenko could have been both.
Wrapped in a harsh Russian accent, the First Comrade spoke in a tone that at once sounded both concerned and conspiratorial: 'Good morning,socialist pioneers. As ever, this is First Comrade Tereshchenko.In today's news, police forces have apprehended two terrorists in the maintenance tunnels below New Moscow. The pair was attempting to plant explosive devices on the settlement's vital structural support pillars. The counter-revolutionaries have since been diagnosed as mentally deranged savages. It was the unflinching vigilance of the security forces and ordinary citizens that prevented the detonation of the devices. Each Soviet involved has since been awarded Hero of the Soviet World Republic medals. Comrades, report any suspicious behavior to authorities. Counter-revolutionaries - terrorists - unremittingly seek to destroy the civilization we have toiled so long to build, and, on the Moon, or Earth, or Ganymede, or Titan, all of our lives are at stake.'
Soviet society is committed to war, not as an occasional heroic obligation,but chronically. However, the physical character of war had changed.The desperate, annihilating - often verging on apocalyptic -struggles of the nineteen forties and fifties evaporated long before. The contemporary war that the Soviet World Republic has found itself embroiled in is a perpetual battle to eliminate shadowy terrorists and saboteurs - a war which has proven to be a convenient, and endless, psychological bombardment on ordinary Soviet citizens. The fact that, at any random moment, anyone could die an excruciating death at the hands of terrorists was hammered into the Soviet citizens; the State's armies of propagandists - with the scrutinizing minds of psychologists - yielded tremendous success.
Pawel remembered the bombing of his little sister's school – along edifice of granite and glass draped with hammer and sickle flags, a once historic, now demolished, building constructed in the hopeful and booming days of the post-war nineteen eighties. He recalled the explosion vividly: the consuming burst of fiery bright orange; the thunderous crack of the explosion; the shudder of the stony street. Dozens of curious little girls were instantly incinerated in the blast. Dozens more were punctured or shredded by hurled glass shards; severed limbs landed at Pawel's feet, as he stood paralysed by the unfolding horror. Pawel could not even remember his little sister's name, but he did hauntingly remember her raw, bloody corpse.
Pawel recalled his late father as honourable, stern and warm. He dragged - despite Pawel's tantrum - the burgeoning Kaczorowski family to the thriving Baikonur Cosmodrome. The death of Pawel’s blossoming sister was what convinced the patriarch to heave his little clan to the promised sanctuary of the Red Moon.
‘There is no reason to live,’ whispered Pawel. He had consciously annihilated any trace of his existence’s uniqueness; he conformed to live the same bare, crushing life as everyone else. ‘What was the point, if he was not a man?’ He could never return to the beauty and He wanted to slit his throat, but lacked the necessary courage. He was agonizingly ensnared by his own cowardice – it condemned him to remain in his world, the despot Tereschenko's personal fiefdom. 'Even in the age where man breathes the air of other planets, some things will never change.'