Soviet Superwoman – Spectres of the Past

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Several hours after relating the tale of Sajmište to her spouse and lover, Olga went to her room and changed into her symbolic costume. It was almost time to go on patrol and make sure the city was safe. Her music box was open nearby, one of the few relics of the past she had to remind her of a distant time. It played “The Dance of the Little Swans” from the famous ballet by P. Chaikovsky “Swan Lake”. She stood several minutes in front of the mirror looking at herself as she pulled on her black gloves, clenching her fingers into fists. How much she had changed. She was larger and more muscular as her body adapted to the threats and trials of this new modern world. To her eyes she also looked older. A few white hairs had begun to creep into her temples. Gone was the naive farm-girl from so many years and a distant place. It made her think of her old friend Osipenko and what he said to her the first time she had donned the now familiar garb.

“You are a symbol,” he had whispered in her ear, “A symbol that will restore our nation and save it’s people from foreign oppression. A symbol that will strike fear in the hearts of the invaders and fill our soldiers with pride and our villagers and citizens with joy. You are hope Olga Yezhov.”

The memory of her old friend, coupled with the events of the past few days was all too much for her. She collapsed as if her powerful knees were made of clay and fell trembling to the floor. Tears streaked down her cheeks as she saw Osipenko again in her mind’s eye and heard his words as if he was only a few feet away.

Claire had placed the same faith in her. So had the people of her Soviet Union. The allies. Her village. The people of Angel Falls. Maia.

All this time she had spent doubting herself and her actions and she had forgotten all of people that did not doubt her for a moment. Their faith in her had never wavered.

Whatever Stalin had or had not done it did not shake the fact that deep down she was the same young farm-girl from the Black Earth Region of Mother Russia. A little more weathered and worn around the edges but still true to the values she learned growing up on the kolkhoz. The Voyevoda had tried to use the mental image of her friend and father figure against her. Whether or not he was the same monster there as he was here no longer mattered to her. It was time to stop doubting herself and live in the present. Here and now. There would be those who would still hate her and despise what she stood for. There was nothing she could do about that. The USSR and Stalin of this world were not the same. She knew it in her heart and that was all that mattered. All she could do was to try to show these people that her Soviet Union created her and that she was a symbol of hope and an instrument of justice. No “evil empire” would have empowered her to do all the things she had done.

It was time to put away her doubts about Sajmište as well.

She had killed an innocent man in anger and made a solemn vow to never kill again once the war was over. She had held true to her convictions and kept her promise. Even Ilsa Hauppman and Ultrawoman, for all of their despicable hatred and the rage she held towards both of them, had not managed to sway her resolve. Some of the people and criminals of Angel Falls would continue to see this as a weakness, something to exploit. It is much easier to kill an enemy and make certain that they are gone forever and unable to cause any more grief or sorrow. Punishment however is not hers to dole out. Punishment belongs with the courts of law. If it was the other way around what is to stop the police who have a murderer, a man or woman deserving of death, shackled in the back of their car from just killing him outright? No citizen, be they super-powered or otherwise has the right to become judge, jury and executioner. She is supposed to be a hero. No matter what anyone said, she knew in her heart she was right. She would never be like American Hero or the Black Widow.

She hoped the man she killed at Sajmište understood. She hoped he forgave her.

Angel Falls was her home now. The future was her home.

There was no going back to the world she once knew and it had taken her this long and much hardship to reach that conclusion. She couldn’t force it be anything it wasn’t, as her foolish actions in Russia over a year ago had proven. As she wiped the tears away from her eyes, she was no longer even sure if she would go back even if she could.

Angel Falls was a place that needed her. A place that needed a symbol and needed hope. She would set an example for the children here that she was not a Communist despot from another dimension hell-bent on forcing a rebirth of the Soviet Empire. Not an agent from an enemy nation scheming among them. She was a friend and someone they could count on the next time a prowler broke into their homes or a thief tried to steal their car. Someone to put a stop to the hordes of super-villains that converged on this one American city with their evil plans and desires. Olga couldn’t let any more doubts about herself, her mission or her past hold her back any longer.

No longer would she run to the safety of the vodka bottle to drown them away. Another vow she planned on keeping in the months and years ahead.

She stood back up to her full height and found herself weeping still, but they were tears of joy. Once she had wondered if her papa would have been shamed by her lifestyle and by her decisions. In her heart she knew that no matter what he would have supported her and loved her. Silently she gave a prayer for him and the rest of her family. For Osipenko as well. Olga had only known him a brief time but the impact had lasted her life. She wanted to touch the lives of others like this one brave man had touched hers, if only for a moment.

It was as if a great stone had been rolled from her shoulders. Olga, smiling and freed from the demons of her past made her way to the roof. As she walked out onto the rooftop, she took in a deep breath of the afternoon air. The sun was shining and a light breeze was blowing. The sky was azure blue and beautiful. Her black boots crunched on the gravel and asphalt as she made her way to the edge. Maia would be coming back from her patrol soon and then it would be her turn to take over. Some people would point and wave at her as she streaked past overhead. Others would jeer and make rude gestures. She would now take it all in stride. It was not a popularity contest and she was not ashamed of her allegiance or her past any longer. It was her duty. Something she had to do because of the great powers and abilities she had been gifted with.

Walkiria was right on time, coming in with the yellow sun blazing behind her. Olga Yezhov, the Soviet Superwoman smiled wide and took to the skies once more.

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