Ilya stared balefully at the man sitting at the desk across the aisle. Or rather, the man sleeping at the desk across the aisle. He added a couple notes to the report he was working on and placed it neatly in a folder. He stood up and, as an afterthought, grabbed the pencil he had been using and tossed it at his snoring coworker. Then he beat a quick retreat, dodging various office supplies launched by the man he had disturbed.
Out in the hallway, he assumed an expression of disinterested competence. It was inadvisable to show much enthusiasm for the job, lest you be accused of overcompensating and purged for being a traitor. On the other hand, a complete lack of ability was equally as dangerous. A successful Party member walked the very thin line between those two states of being. And Ilya was a very successful Party member. His immediate superior had informed him that his name was in the running for a promotion. This would have been fantastic news if Ilya was your average Communist. However, even given hisâ€¦unusual situation, he was looking forward to becoming more valuable to the Cause.
Ilya sighed as his thoughts returned to his lazy coworker. That was the inherent problem with the communist system; there was no incentive to put in extra effort. It was only a matter of time before such a system collapsed -- and took Mother Russia with it. Fortunately, there was at least one person on the Central Committee who foresaw this problem. Ilya unconsciously clutched the folder tighter to his chest as he considered the risk he was running. But any risk was worth taking if it helped to ensure the future prosperity of the Motherland.
He arrived at his destination, and knocked on the door. A deep baritone responded, â€œCome in.â€ Ilya opened the door and stepped into the office. â€œI have the report you asked for,â€ he said, and placed it gently upon the desk. The man he was addressing brushed a strand of dark chocolate hair out of his eye and reached for the folder. He scanned the contents, and even Ilya, who was watching for it, barely noticed the small slip of paper slide deftly into the manâ€™s left hand. The brown-haired man glanced quickly at it, then rolled it into a tiny ball between his fingers. While still appearing to study the report Ilya had brought, he reached up to stroke his chin, and adroitly deposited the small ball of paper into his mouth. He swallowed unobtrusively, and then smiled. â€œThis is very good news, Ilya. Thank you.â€ He nodded and gestured to the door. Ilya allowed himself a quick grin, and exited the room, closing the door quietly behind him.
The man closed the folder and filed it in his desk drawer. Then he stood and moved to the window. It had taken several years, but finally he knew. They were out there. Other Committee members like himself, disgusted with the corruption and oppression of the communist regime. His most recent intelligence confirmed that they had already established a small group, working together to bring Mother Russia out of the terrible shadow of the Communist Party.
Of course, discovering their existence was the easy part. Actually finding them was sure to be much harder. Still, the brown-haired man thought to himself, there was time. There was always time.
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