F_T_L

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Its a story about a Russian Immigrant who has to pay back the people who allowed him access to the American dream.

F_T_L

“Hey Stewie, come on down we need you,” Ryan said.

“Alright, see you need my lovely hands, Ryan.”

“Shut up nerd.”

“You guys seriously can’t fix a lawnmower by yourselves?”

I walked down the stairs of our two-floor house greeted by the family dog, only to walk outside to see all the knuckleheads gathered around the lawnmower, hands covered in soot and mechanical slime. There was Ryan, Travis, and Bryce with his girlfriend Joy. 

“Ayo Stu, you the mechanic, fix this fo’ us man,” Bryce said.

“Yeah, come on, please. We really really need to mow.” Joy pleaded.

“I guess the grass is a bit overgrown, don't wanna get fined by whoever manages this place,” I caved. Today was my off day, but a lawn mower wouldn’t take long. 

The next morning was a workday, every weekday for me was a workday. I’d go into the sweatshop. No A/C. No chromium. Just coworkers and old beaters of vehicles. Every once in a while we’d see an old Charger from 2022 or so, but nothing too cool. Most of the time we were just here to top off fluids of a car or replace a few brake pads. Nothing crazy like rebuilding an engine or swapping a transmission. It was a boring job, but the people made up for it. In our shop, we had cheap Chinese tools, steel walls and doors, concrete floors, and no insulation. What we did have was a nice and calm environment with a chill boss and hard-working coworkers. The summers were hot and winters were cold, it was cheaper than cheap, but somehow everything still functioned well with the skill me and my coworkers have. They made up for the 100-year-old building we got dirty in. 

“Hey Stu, we got a car coming in for an oil change, you mind taking that after you're done with that one?” Frank asked.

“Of course not bud, where do you want the old oil to go this time?”

“Eh, you can just toss it in the barrel outback, just picked up a new one from the Home Depot.”

“Dude, we have like ten of those barrels. We might as well sell it. Power will never go out with how strong our lines are now. You know, now that all power lines are all underground and coated in protection if we had an earthquake we would still have power in a broken house. It’s 2052 not 2015. ” 

He really wants an apocalypse doesn’t he...

“Before you do that, you’ve got a phone call for you,” he said

“Wait! Since when did we have a phone?!” 


 

.”

father, can you talk to me in English please, I don’t need my coworkers thinking I’m insane.”

- I mean Stewie.”

“So what does the phone call warrant, father? It’s been a while since I’ve spoken to you.”

vozvrashchaysya nevredimym.”

Come alive?

“Where are you, old man?” 

“The capital of Wisconsin, I’ll meet you there.”

“Ok, ummm. What are the circumstances?” I asked.

You help papa with something big yes?”

“Of course, I would love to father, Wisconsin is about twenty-one hours away from New Mexico. I’ll need a couple days to drive.”

A dial tone already sounded before I could finish. Me saying yes was enough for him. The command is probably not as time sensitive then. 

 

--

 

“Hey dad, what’s up?” I asked.

“You coming home, yes?” He asked

“Yeah, I’m on the highway right now, the GPS says I have about six hours left.”

“Thanks Stewie, love you syn.”


 

~


 

My dad wasn’t a lavish man. He and I grew up poor in a one-bedroom apartment during the economic collapse of Russia. Within forty years the growing oil consumption within the entire world started to eat away everyone’s resources. These resources were the source of Russia’s main income, and they were entirely exhausted. The country and the people shrank to nothing but a penny, and the infighting between political factions didn’t help. Russia began to sell itself into damnation by using the army for money. They rented the soldiers out like live body bags to anywhere and anyone who would take them. The middle-east, China, Africa. The armies were most famous for siding with ISIS and Al-Qaeda, fighting the Americans and English for the price of a Venti Cappuccino from Starbucks. Soon the military was exhausted and Russia fell into a wasteland of drug running, human trafficking, and robbery. All the while people like me and papa stole food just to get by. The only reason we got out of that hell-hole was a deal with the Russian Capitalist party.

Despite this Papa continued his frugal lifestyle even in the superpower that America is. He chose a trailer for his residence that was pieced together from a pick ‘n pull car shop. He had red, blue, and purple exterior coloring that came together like a trailer trash Frankenstein. The screen door he had originally was too big for his latest doorway, so he cut it by using an angle grinder and covered the sharp edges with slitted pool noodles so he or anyone else would hopefully not get cut while exchanging hellos and goodbyes. 

Click

I snapped a photo and sent it to my papa to let him know I was home.

“Hello papa, I am here. Lemme know when you are ready.” I typed.

, I will see you in second. Papa is slow in age.” He replied.

He opened the door for me and greeted me with a nod and wave. I walked inside and immediately saw papa’s personality plastered all over the walls in the form of posters, Russian flags, and tools. Papa was always good as a mechanic and it trickled down to the next generation.

son, how was drive?” Papa asked.

“Twenty-one hours of flat roads and trash littered highways, so I’d say about average. Wasn’t much traffic to go through thankfully.”

“Good, good. May I call you by your real name son?”

“Sure papa, just not around Americans.” 

my son. Do you want to rest or talk business? We have a huge opportunity for Russia here.”

“Business comes first papa.” I replied.

“Are you familiar with the term lightspeed? Olezka?” He asked, pausing. 

“Yes..” I replied

“Here’s brief son,” he began. “Nasa has developed an FTL drive. It can travel anywhere with onboard nuclear power, such technology is foreign to us and we want to..., uh, take from Americans for motherland. It is in NASA launchpad named Kennedy Space Center. It is in Florida, I have got you plane ticket and an unmarked vehicle for you already. Inside contact will set you up with keycard, there is multiple people that will know your face my son. It shouldn’t be too difficult. There is no guard presence besides private NASA security, so sneaking by in plain sight is best option.”

“I’ve always wanted to be an astronaut,” I laughed. “But seriously, what is the deal with this, why does Russia need this rocket.”

syn. The reason we are told in first place is because of need by Russian Capitalist. So it is absolutely necessary that you get in and take the rocket. It’s like stealing apple from in front of stoorkeeper’s eyes.”

“Yes, but why me?” I asked.

“It will take to long to get new man inside USA. It is not problem of who does it, more if time allows. So Capitalists call in favor.”

“This is what gets us out of debt to them?”

“Yes my syn.”

“I haven’t spoke to you in years, but no time to catch up now father,” I ended the conversation.

My father pulled out an old deep green cot for me to sleep on, but that wasn’t the problem that was keeping me from sleeping. I was stuck inside my mind pondering on how I am quite literally throwing away friendships. A stable job. A perfect home. A future in peace at the feet of the American dream. It is pulling at my mind, and there is no way of getting away from it. 

I really hoped that paying the Capitalist’s back would have been more subtle, but throwing away my life and liberty would be worth it for a slice of Russian pie.

 

~

 

I arrived at the headquarters and it was a gigantic office building. It was an off-white color, much like a sun damaged car. With it being seven stories tall with a flat roof and as big as an airport, the inside must have been teeming with thousands of people. The glass on the sides of the building were like a mirror with the super black tint that was placed on them. It was like staring at the sun with no sunglasses the way it shined. The pasteur was enclosed by a 10 foot brick wall with electric barbed wire running over the top, and presumably a perimeter sensor

Stop dawdling and go inside..

“Hi, excuse me ma’am I have an appointment,” I asked the receptionist.

“Who do you have an appointment with?” she asked.

“Doctor Ming,” I replied.

“Take the white hall to the left and take the first right, you’ll see his office in that hallway. All offices are marked with a nametag, good luck speaking to him,” she said with a high pitched fake voice.

“Hello--- you the Lez I’ve heard about?” He asked.

“Yes, you know what I’m here for?”

Didn’t expect a renowned specialist to be looking after me, he wrote many physics books that I’ve seen in the library. Dr. Lishka Ming.

“Yes I do, you’re going to take a spare jacket and my own personal keycard. This jacket isn’t tagged. You are basically going undercover as an intern. Did your father tell you how you were supposed to go ‘bout this?” 

“No he just said I would meet you here and that the objective is the rocket in the launchpad”

“Although he is correct there is only so far you can take that card. You can use the cover as an intern for about half the trip. Down the white hall you are going to go back to the main lobby straight into the blue hall. Follow the signs to the launchpad, and stop perspiring like you are now, it’s suspicious. You’ll come to a door that is guarded by armed guards, that is the place you are on your own. That hallway leads straight to the launchpad and it is the only way in and out. The only thing that is connected is the ventilation system, now here's a map of the vents and a set of screwdrivers. Go on and get.”

“Yes sir.”

I was walking down the hallway past people in lab coats and name tags and they didn’t pay any attention to me. I was a ghost, unimportant, and honestly that was the best thing that could happen to me, it was like I was invisible to these people. I could float by witnessing the way these brilliant minds in their most dormant state.

“Hello, are you a new intern?” A man asked.

“Uhh… yes, I am a new intern here,” I replied. 

Fuck what is the deal, why do you want to talk to me.

Do you mind if I walk and talk to you for a bit?” He asked again.

Yes I do.

“No not at all, could you show me where the printer is in here? Someone asked me to print something, I’m pretty sure it was Doctor Ming.”

“Oh well you're far away from a printer near his office but I know where one is in this hallway, want to go do that then get lunch?”

So many questions, no wonder he works here.  

“I really can’t, I am on a tight schedule,” I said trying to get rid of him.

“Ok man, let’s get those pages printed,” he replied

I walked behind him and rolled my eyes, I don’t get why another person would be so interested in a new intern, he is only a liability. This closet is a great opportunity.

I can’t afford to get caught or have any time taken from me. 

I see the back of his head as he is talking about the printer and how to get to a specific profile and as I wind up he starts to turn around. I put my fist down and played it off like I was scratching my head, or at least so I thought.

“You don’t intern here,” he said, “Ming has no pages to print, and you don’t even have a badge to access the printer.” He grabs me by the shoulder and starts tugging on it.

“Hey man I have Ming’s badge, I just got here and they haven’t had time to make me one.”

“That’s against protocol and someone as distinguished as Dr. Ming wouldn’t break said protocol, even if he did give you the badge willingly, you still need to be reprimanded for not following the protocols.”

I can’t be discovered.

 I step back and throw a knee, it hits him in the stomach and he coughs while dropping to his knees. Before I could do anything else he starts filleting my ribs as hard as he can with his fists.

Thump, crack. thump.

Blow after blow he finally gets tired and weaker to the point I can push him onto his back. I sit on his stomach, lift him by his collar and jab him in his nose repeatedly. First his mouth starts bleeding, then a tooth flies out. I break his nose and give him a black eye, but he’s still awake. 

“Fuck man, you can take a punch.”

“MMmm… ugh…” he groans.

I wound up one last hit. There was blood everywhere, it was pouring out of his nose and mouth as if he just got hit by a baseball bat.He was going to wake up with one hell of a concussion.

I think he broke a rib, hopefully just a crack.

I got up about ten minutes later, introduced to a sharp pain in my left rib cage. I took off my lab coat and draped it around my shoulders to cover my bloodied knuckles and my ribs, and then shut off the light and limped out of the room. 

I hope he wakes up.

I continued to walk back down the hallway towards the place I originally met the guy. I had to find a room right next to the guards that had a vent. I walked up to the officers themselves.

“Do you guys know where the nearest single bathroom is?” I asked.

“Go down the right hallway and take the second left you see, it’s labeled, you can’t miss it.” 

“Thank you man, appreciate it,” I smiled.

 After stepping inside I quickly lock the door and turn off the fan switch. I step on top of the toilet, pull out my set of screwdrivers and get to work taking off the grill and fan. Not much time passed before the grille, fan, and a bunch of screws were all dropped onto the tile floor.

Knock, knock.

“Hey is anyone in there?!? I really need to go!” A girl screamed.

“Sorry… uhhh.. I’m trying to unclog the toilet, I think it will need to be shut down for a while,” I replied.

 “I’ll go get maintenance then!” She yelled, she stepped so loud I could hear her about to run off.

“NO NO NO!!!! I am maintenance, just go find another bathroom please,” I yelled back.
“Are you sure you don’t want help from the others?” 

“Yes I am fine!” I said, “just go on about your day, this restroom should be open tomorrow.”

Without any further interruption I took a sticky note I found in the lab pocket along with a pen, wrote closed and stuck it on the outside of the door. After all the ruckus and the mini heart attack, I decided to finally jump in the vent. I stepped on top of the toilet seat, then the lid and I was up top. Before I got any farther I pulled out my map of the ventilation shafts. I discovered that if I were to get to the launchpad, I would have to basically crawl around the office space vents to go to a ventilation room. This room apparently was the only place that I could access the vent that led to the launchpad, had I looked at the map before I would have found that out.

“Aye yai yah man…” I sighed.

 

~

 

After crawling for what felt like hours, I reached the ventilation room. The vent I was in was above the floor and I had to wait. There were sounds of footsteps, they sounded like a person was stepping on top of a platform that roller coaster operators stood on. It was echoing closer and closer to the point I thought that sasquatch worked for NASA. The person or persons stopped suddenly and I heard a man’s voice:

“Hey do you know who’s servicing that closed bathroom in the blue hallway?”

“No, why?”

“Just curious, we got a call on the radio that there was a toilet that's clogged.”

Was it the one I was in?

“Well whoever’s taking care of it is either just sitting on their phone, or doesn’t know how to use a plunger.”

“Yeah, check it out in like an hour I guess.”

Fuck man if they find that vent, the whole place will be in lockdown.

“Alright I’ll uh… see you later brothuh.”

“You too man, have a good rest of your shift. I need to clock out.”

“Bye.”

I heard sasquatch’s steps go back the way they were coming from, but the other person stayed. After five or so minutes I heard the sound of running water and then sloshing. It was like he was drawing a bath, but before long I heard the sound of a mop hitting the floor.

Uuuugggghhhhh, they just keep wasting my time.

I took a penny out of my pocket and gently unlatched the vent without opening it. I dropped the penny straight down through the vent, and the person below didn’t even notice the high pitch ring it made after hitting the ground. After three more coins he didn’t notice, but he did continue mopping. I let the vent unlatch completely and backed up a bit so he wouldn't see me.

Man you like loud music, couldn’t ask for deafer pair of ears.

I dropped down the hatch and tackled him like I was playing a game of football. He hit the wall so hard, making him unconscious immediately, even with the music blasting still in his ears. I shut the vent behind me, hopefully he'll think he just slipped and fell into the wall. If not I’ll definitely not deal with it later. 

I took a peek at my map, and found that the main vent for the launchpad room was connected to the main shaft that had six hatches. It was a two by six mounted to the wall for easy access which is all I could have ever asked for.

After reaching the main shaft, I pulled off the cover for the bottom left vent and made my way into the vent, shutting it behind me. The vent was almost perfectly straight, it didn’t have any sharp ninety degree corners, only slight bends and before I knew it, I was in the straight hallway. I could see to the end of the shaft splitting into a fork that housed a small intake fan in between the two tunnels.

After crawling all the way down through the tunnel I was greeted at the fork. I decided that taking the right was the best option. After looking at the main layout, I saw that the right tunnel at this section was farther along than the left. In theory I think this is to go to the main control room or the launchpad itself.

Crawling to the very end of the shaft I had to somehow take off the vent cover. My only option was to kick it in with brute force, and thankfully all of “mission control” was absent doing whatever it is the hell they do when they’re not sending missiles into space.

*CRASH*

On the ground I was greeted to see the control panels all around that they use to control these missions. Apollo missions, Hades, and Athena missions were all conducted through a space like this. Walking around the area the grates beneath my feet didn’t squeak or creak, they were in perfect alignment and condition. All the touchscreen terminals and grey steel surrounding me was spotless. Every spot had a purpose and it was set like a teacher's classroom with the head man sitting the closest to the glass in a big leather chair.

Shit I don’t have a way to haul this thing out of here.

Beep.. vvvttt vvvttt

Father said.

“How am I supposed to get this out of here??? It’s on a rocket and I don’t exactly know how to disassemble an entire rocket with a pocket set of screwdrivers.” I angrily whispered.

“You don’t take rocket apart. You become one with rocket and launch rocket.”

insane dad.”

“Maybe just little, but it will be ok. You either get executed for treason, or you leave in big boy pants as a spaceman.” He said.

This is how I die.

“I wish you would have told me from the get go, if I knew I wouldn’t have done this.” 

“I know, but it must be done for Russia so, do svidaniya, leti bezopasno.” 

*Beep*

 

ATTENTION ALL STAFF, THERE HAS BEEN A BREAK IN. THEY HAVE ENTERED THE BUILDING IN DISGUISE AS AN INTERN AND WENT THROUGH THE 2AB BATHROOM VENT IN THE HALLWAY. HE IS DESCRIBED AS A CAUCASION MALE, BROWN, SHORT HAIR. HAZEL EYES AT ABOUT 170 lbs. 6’3’’. WE BELIEVE HE IS HEADING FOR THE ISOLATED LAUNCHPAD TO STEAL THE ROCKET INSIDE.

 

Well it is now time to suit up. 

 

Modern day spaceships carry their own sets of suits that are designed to fit all sizes, so hopefully this one is no exception. Walking out of mission control into the domed launch space, I met face to face with the blue and black rocket ship. It was almost as tall as an eight story apartment building. Crawling my way up the side, I reached the door. The shuttle itself was extremely high tech with HUD’s and minimal analogue controls with the same color scheme as outside. In the case of my coffin, this was the most expensive it could ever possibly be. Being sideways the shuttle was extremely hard to access, but there was no exception for convenience because the lockers were on rotors. I picked out my final suit and resting place. On the black marshmellow of a suit, it read Neil, I am no exception for a fake name, so it would have to do.

I heard the outside doors open as some sort of militia started approaching me. 

“Get out of the fucking rocket!”

“Hands where I can see them!”
“Don’t make any of us come up there!”

A shell was lobbed into the door from below, I could only assume that it was some form of tear gas or poisonous gas if I’m unlucky. I dawned the final piece of my suit, locked it into place, and all I could hear was muffled screaming. I tossed the now ignited munition outside of the shuttle, closed the hatch door and locked it with the crossbar attached.

I heard the metal clatters stop rising atop the shuttle, and instead descend. They knew that the only thing that was left for them was to either wait for me to come out of my tomb, or launch the rocket. 

I climbed my way up to the pilot’s seat using the grates that are ingrained in the metallic floor, reaching the leather chair that would release me from the gravity of this world. Powering on the ship, using the keycard that Ming gave me, I heard fuel pumps, whirring, couplers, and the AI that was built into the system.

Fuel level - 98%

Systems - Safe and Stable

Crew number - One

Ready to launch?

“...Yes,” I said, sealing my fate.

The hatch ahead of me opened to the bright light of the setting sun amongst the colors of purple, red, and yellow. The rockets deafened my ears with a sound that put a V12 Audi to shame. The force placed upon my body was like the Hulk was sitting on top of my chest.

I’m sorry to the friend I have left behind, I don’t know if I will ever see you again, but I highly appreciate what you have done for me. 

 

I awoke to what felt like days later, my chest was tight and I was extremely dizzy. I’m pretty sure that there is no way to land this thing without training, and that is definitely something I will not be able to pull off. 

“Hey F_T_L.”

“Yes Captain Ryan?”

“What and who is onboard right now?”

“As of right now. You are the only one present. There is 76% fuel. 0% water capacity. 0.03 food capacity.” 

“I really had to do this to myself. Why did I take the damn bait and pay back the capitalists! My sacrifice will be for the gains of money and nothing else!”

 

Beep… Beep… Beep…

 

The satellite phone that I was given was laying on the pearly white floor. Ringing.

“Who is this?”

How is spaceland?”
“I’m going to die up here father.”

“Remember time I went to jail after you stole entire safe? That was a sacrifice. I did that out of love for you my syn. No question your sacrifice greater than my month, but it will not go unnoticed. The whole Russian country remember your memory. I will remember you. I love to say we can gracefully retrieve you, but that not happening syn.”


 

~

The capitalists of Russia set out to retrieve the F_T_L drive that awaited them in space two months later. With Ming inside and working on the rocket himself, the day before intrusion he was able to disable all communication relays leaving the rocket invisible to NASA. The body of Olezka was found rotten inside the confines of the space suit, to the point he was almost unrecognizable. Along with body, Olezka left a voice recording of his last words. 

In memory of Olezka, the capitalists constructed a fifteen foot tall solid gold statue of him in his likeness in the center of Moscow. 

 

His final words: I feel only hatred for you, father. Die as painfully as I am now.




 





 


Submitted: May 19, 2021

© Copyright 2021 Nucl3arFission. All rights reserved.

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