| 13:35:44 10 May 2006
You want a what now?
On forum: 08/01/2005
Message edited by:
Today the millions of Ukrainian and foreign people that walked the streets of Kiev were happy people. They were cheerful and contented, despite the fact that in 1986 their beautiful city had been showered with radiation from the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. They had suffered, sure, but they had survived. They could live with Chernobyl’s radiation all around them, as long as they could breathe the air and talk to people, and laugh and smile and love and be happy.
Of the millions of men, women and children in Kiev, did any of them know that their beautiful city was about to be struck by a tragedy even more devastating than the Chernobyl disaster?
Today there were ten operators in the control room of the disused Reactor No. 3 inside the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Boris Mandar was standing at the controls, watching the hundred heat sensors on the control panel in front of him. He thought back to the time that the heat sensors glowed yellow like the sun, back when the uranium rods were fissioning and the plant was generating electricity.
Those days were long gone. He sighed mournfully.
He had been proud of Chernobyl. He started working there in 1995. It was a strange feeling, a mixture of fear and determination, working and running a nuclear reactor when less than a hundred metres away was the concrete sarcophagus, the site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster.
But in time he began to love Chernobyl. Him and every one of his workmates were proud of all the hard work that they had put into the plant. Then those bloody Westerners shut down their beautiful plant. And there had not been another catastrophe or serious accident at Chernobyl. Even the radiation around the plant was decreasing swiftly. Yet those environmentalist bastards weren’t satisfied, and they had the plant shut down forever.
He sighed again and continued to monitor the silent reactor core. Eventually his thoughts wandered to his holidays in a few weeks. He was looking forward to going back to his native Kiev again.
He didn’t know that he would never see Kiev again.
Today there was a man walking down the wide streets of Kiev. Hundreds of city folk swarmed the streets around him, all bustling and busy. Some children were out playing today, kicking a football around nearby.
It was a warm, sunny day so no one thought it suspicious that he was wearing a pair of sunglasses. They thought it strange, though, that he should wear a black trench coat on such a nice day. But it wasn’t anyone’s concern; if he wanted to do it, then let him do it.
He moved slowly, as if every step had been carefully planned. In truth, he was just savouring every step as if it was his last.
He knew what was going to happen.
Today a man was standing around the side of a building, smoking a cigarette, near the rubbish bins filled with vodka bottles. It was around three o’clock but he was tired. He had already spent the past few hours speaking to some lawyers from THQ, who were suing his company for millions of American dollars. No matter how much he tried to reason with them they wouldn’t listen. They were like sharks.
And then there was this business with his girlfriend. Well, not really his girlfriend. Just some woman that he had met in a bar one night and was talking to. He gave her his number (he was so drunk that night, he couldn’t remember if she had even asked for it or not) and then she disappeared, never to be seen again. It was like that with many women; he would say hello, then they would disappear off the face of the earth.
Life is full of disappointments he mused. He puffed out a plume of smoke, dropped the burning cigarette butt onto the ground, and then reached into his pocket to pull out another one.
That’s when he saw the strange man walking towards him. With his trench coat and sunglasses, and with a ponytail, he almost looked like someone out of Night Watch.
“Hey,” the trench coat called.
“Hey,” he replied.
“How are you?”
“Not too bad.”
There was something in the trench coat’s voice that was familiar. An accent that he could not place exactly. What could it be?
“What’s your name?” the trench coat asked.
“Oleg,” he replied. “Yours?”
There is was again. The strange accent in Ciaran’s voice. The little hint that Oleg should know something.
“Want a cigarette?” Oleg offered.
“No, I don’t smoke,” Ciaran replied.
There was a horrible feeling starting to grow in Oleg’s stomach, and it wasn’t from the lawyers or the vodka. It felt like something was wrong: that he had done something wrong. It was strange and mysterious, like he had committed thoughtcrime and didn’t remember it. ‘Course, most of his nights were like that, especially the ones with a bottle and a woman.
“You don’t look too happy,” Ciaran said sympathetically.
“I’m not,” Oleg said. Then he couldn’t help it but tell him about everything. The endless discussions with THQ lawyers, the fact that had been single for so long, the problems that his company was facing...
“Life is full of disappointments,” Oleg said wistfully.
“I know how you feel,” Ciaran said sorrowfully, and he began to describe one of the disappointments in his life. He had been waiting for something for so long, and he had been promised it many times too. But every time it was promised, every time he felt like he could reach out and touch it, it was pulled further back from him again. In the end it was destroyed and he never got to touch it.
All this time the anxiety was bubbling like a nuclear reactor in Oleg’s stomach. It was stronger now, but he still didn’t know what it was that made him so afraid.
“But what was it?” Oleg asked. “What were you promised that you never got?”
“It was a computer game called STALKER.”
Alarm bells rang inside Oleg’s head. He had been head of the STALKER project, until he decided to pull the plug on it once and for all. The day after the announcement was made there was chaos in Moscow. Red Square was set on fire and there was rioting in the streets. New Zealand was still recovering from the civil war that flared up days after the announcement. A nuclear arms factory in Ireland was suddenly discovered, and the Irish Taoiseach admitted that they had secretly made over 10,000 nuclear weapons. The UN voted in favour of invading Ireland, but so far no country had.
Oleg was, frankly, unconcerned with this international affairs. He was more worried about THQ. They were still hounding him with their pack of rabid lawyers to get their investment back.
But now this stranger Ciaran was talking to him about STALKER. It frightened him, but he kept cool. Maybe he doesn’t know about me and STALKER Oleg thought. If I’m careful...
Oleg threw the cigarette butt to the ground. For some reason his hands opened the cigarette packet yet again, even though he knew that he should leave as quickly as possible. He was surprised at how still his hands were.
“I’ll have one,” Ciaran said and reached out to Oleg.
“I thought you didn’t smoke,” Oleg frowned, puzzled.
And then Ciaran moved so fast that Oleg didn’t have time to react. Ciaran’s leg came up with swift motion and his rock-hard knee connected with Oleg’s testicles, mashing them together into one mass.
Oleg was suddenly bent over, knees knocking together, his face looking like he had been shocked up the arse with a cattle prod. He would have been useless to a girl now.
Suddenly the trench coat said something to Oleg, and only then did he recognise who he was.
“Someone should’ve told ya Oleg. Never give an Irishman good cause for revenge.”
Oleg knew what was coming next. But all he could do was stare up at him, helplessly incapacitated and in severe pain. The sky above had turned dark, and it began to rain.
“For Siro and Amoki and Don Reba! SAINT PATRICKU AKBAR!” Odaisé Gaelach yelled at the top of his voice. He reached inside his trench coat and detonated the atomic bomb hidden inside.
The ground shook, the air cracked, the sky broke apart. The city of Kiev was flooded with a blinding white light. People flung themselves to the ground to escape from the blowout. Buildings were shattered, streets were torn from the ground and flung into the air by the shockwave of the blast. People threw themselves to the ground, not knowing what had happened. Nearly the whole city had been destroyed by the atomic bomb.
A few seconds later everything at the epicentre of the bomb, which was just outside GSC headquarters, was reduced to burning ash.
Boris Mandar sat inside the control room, hands resting on the panels, carefully monitoring the motionless, sleeping Chernobyl reactor.