Granted so far as I've seen I haven't had that many people actually read the thing, but the ones that have seem to have liked what I'd put together. So thanks for reading. Hope I haven't disappointed.
Because it was requested: Links to all the blog posts for this story.
Intro and Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4
Part 5 Part 6 Part 7 Part 8 Part 8.2
Part 9 Part 10 Part 10.2 Part 11 Part 12 and Coda
Since the final doc will have changes here and about I'm including a Google Doc link too. Yes I'm going to go through the links and add a table of contents to each in case people want to go through.
I'm working on getting a cover put together and doing a bit of editing, cleanup, maybe a little addition here and there if I spot anything that needs it, and put it up on Smashwords. Due to this being a short story it'll either be 'pay as you like' or really stupidly cheap.
Had considered the idea on what to do if I do more of these to go through Max's highschool 'career'. Would end up putting each up for sale as they're done then have a combined version that would either be cheaper than the four parts, or cost as much as they would together but with added material (likely more written material, but might manage a few images. Doubt it but never know.)
Might just put the 'complete' version up as a 'pay as you want' just so people who have bought up til that point don't feel cheated. I mean I'd hate to feel like I was getting nickle and dimed. Ah well. So long as it's not commercial I don't care if people swap the thing around and I'm making anything I put up on Smashwords fully readable as preview.
I'm open to suggestions people.
Edit: I especially want word back from Viral on the whole 'selling stuff based on a concept he banged out' thing. If he wants a cut of any theoretical profits I'm open to talks. If not that's fine too. Mostly just want to know if there's any sort of problems he'd have and if he has any advice on getting word out beyond what I've already done.
[Note: Used with permission from the Peter (Pyotr) Vagin Memorial Library. I wish I had more than just his notes to work with but Age catches up with everyone. He probably knew I'd get around to something like this anyway since everything related was copied and marked as mine to do with as I wished.
Also I have taken some liberties when translating from Russian. The grammar doesn't exactly line up and I'm sure more than a few people will call me out for not simply giving a straight copy of the Cyrillic. With all respect due to anyone that feels this way; chill. I'm going for layperson readability. The original texts are available to on request and It would be poor of me to not include at least a few things people writing books nitpicking /my/ book to have to work with.]
Your Grandson is in trouble friend. I have exerted what influence I still have and have called in several favors. However while those that had come to aid him have been allowed to leave my handlers have ordered me in the most polite way possible that Max is to remain in our custody for the immediate future. I personally am convinced he means well and he has a good spirit. However like we were at that age he is more than a handful so you will appreciate my situation. If you could call John, or maybe exert a little pressure of your own maybe we can head this off before it becomes a media event.
I do not know if this will hurt or help your efforts but I have included my own observations of what has happened along with what I feel are pertinent segments of interviews made.
[Note: To keep confusion to a minimum I have substituted written designations 'subject 1', 'subject 2', etc with the names/handles I have used throughout this account.]
Interview Segment: Blackbird
You want me to just talk or what? I've had a real long night and you're kindof creeping me out with the whole huge russian with no sense of humor thing.
It is very important that we know what exactly happened miss. There are only a few of us and it is best if we do this as fast as possible so memory doesn't fade.
OK, but for the record it's setting bells off in my head you're not letting us call home or anything. None of us are adults so if you're going to charge that [Expletive Deleted] that kidnapped my boyfriend you're just going to waste your time, or are you just going to disappear him off to Siberia or wherever?
Allow me to, as you say, 'level with you'; we plan on putting this man to work for us. He will be well cared for and supplied so he may continue his research. He will not be allowed to roam free and those that he has stolen from will be compensated for their missing property and any undue trouble they have been put through.
[Blackbird made a disgusted face while this processed.] So long as he won't be bothering us again...
Interview Segment: Copper
Steve got us to where he thought they were keeping max. Place didn't look like it had much other than a fence on the outside, but there were dogs raising all sorts of noise when we pulled up in the van Aku borrowed from his older brother. Steve had some doctored steaks he'd thrown over that were supposed to knock the mutts out. Was a little worried he'd messed up and put too much of whatever in but we didn't have any other ideas.
While we waited Steve went over the place's layout and a few rules once we got in. Always stay in groups of three and don't just mindlessly trash things we find. In fact he came down pretty heavy on Venom for suggesting we set fire to the place even though he's kinda got it bad for her. Something about not being what we're here for and-
Interview Segment: Blackbird
-if they could say we had directly monkied with the floppies, printouts, and whatever they could throw out any proof we weren't trying to frame this guy up for kidnapping as a smoke and mirrors thing for us being here to rob the place blind.
There were only enough of us for three groups and each group leader had a walkie talkie so we could keep in touch. Silly and what you can get off the shelf for cheap isn't nearly as good as what you have to spend a few hundred per handheld on, but it's amazing what you can do to make them suck less if you know your way around electronics and a few hours of prep time; which was more or less everyone there.
Copper's group took the upstairs. My group was going to take the ground floor, and Steve was going to take the basement. We were supposed to radio in every fifteen minutes or if we spotted anything like cops showing up, or people with guns, or whatever didn't look right.
My group didn't have any luck so we made like we were supposed to be there and hung out at the front desk. There was a terminal there but I didn't know the commands for anything so til the screaming started it was pretty dull.
Interview Segment: Copper
We took the stairs up since if anyone was there we didn't want to get trapped in an elevator and it was only a two story building so not like we'd have a whole lot of stairs to go up anyway.
After we looked around and found nobody up there Venom stopped me from sitting down at one of their computers. Really I'd just sat down because I wanted a sitdown but she freaked. Started busting my case about touching things and possably screwing evrything up and then Steve was screaming on the walkie he'd found Max and we had to start running.
Interview Segment: Steve
I sorta knew what was waiting for us in the basement level when we went down. Mike didn't tell me in so many words what all the gear was supposed to be for but I'd heard snippets and since I was their troubleshooter I had free run of what files they had. Interesting stuff really, but to me it was all high concept with no real backing by reality and Mike had already convinced me he was more than a bit crazy.
We weren't supposed to be able to go down there. The button to get to the basement needed a key, but Icewind had tools and we were down there anyway. We heard Max screaming. It wasn't torture screams. It was pissed off I'm-going-to-rip-your-spine-out-through-your-nose rage screaming. I thought I heard Mike say something, he sounded worried then- I don't know what it means. [Steve says what loosely translates to 'God Please Save Me.]
Then I heard gunfire. Mike was running at us, clearly scared out of his mind. I tackled him and demanded to know what was going on.
'He'll kill me.' He screamed while trying to get away. 'I hit the wrong button now he'll kill me.'
There was a loud noise coming from the door Mike had slammed closed before running our way. It was a heavy looking door. Deadbolt, tempered glass with chicken wire in the glass. Looked like it'd take ripping it out of the frame to force open.
[Steve gave a rueful smile.] Turns out that's exactly what Max did. We didn't know what was going on but we had Mike and if we got up he'd have gotten away so we had a pretty good view of the door as it bowed towards us then fell over. When we saw Max I think we collectively [soiled] ourselves. Can't say if it was fear, or if anger adds to you but I remember him looking seven feet tall and pissed off enough to rip Mike's arms off and beat him to death with 'em.
So I let mike go. He ran for the elevator and Max ran after. There was another impact noise, guess where Max punched the elevator door, and lots of swearing.
I radioed Blackbird Mike was coming her way and Max was going to kill him.
Interview Segment: Blackbird
We had Mike tied up by the time Max got to us. He...
He shoved past us. Picked Mike up. and threw him out of the front window to the building.
There wasn't anything I could say that would make him turn around. Believe me I tried everything to get his attention but he kept kicking that poor man around screaming incoherently til the dogs attacked.
Don't know if it was him being worked up enough to move that fast, or if the dogs wre still doped up but he flung them around like they were stuffed animals. I would've been impressed if I wasn't scared out of my mind.
Then you guys showed up.
Interview Segment: Pyotr
When we came on the scene the boy was in the middle of the parking lot beating the life out of Mike. One of my subordinates had started toward the scene when I stopped him. It was clear by watching how this boy swatted the guard animals away that he would be too much for any of my men to handle, so I confronted him.
I am old yes, but where he had me in youth and potentially strength I had a lifetime of fighting experience. Even so I am told at least two of my ribs are cracked, possibly even broken.
He fought like a wild animal. Raw strength and rage with no finesse. There were other people watching on, a young girl shouted something to me. 'Max Stop. It's over. Stop. We can go home now. Please.' [Pyotre made a dismissive gesture] to him it was like so much background noise to be ignored.
As we fought he slowed down, his cries growing horse, his body tired. Then when I had him pinned to the ground he blinked and looked at me with eyes clear of whatever rage had gripped him.
'Uncle. What are you doing here?'
I must make it clear I have not told Max what it is I do for a living. He only knows that I am from the USSR and that his grandfather and I are friends of a sort. Though we are not blood relation I have watched him grow up. Seen that he would take after my friend Eugene and have, in some ways, felt he was the child my daughter never could have.
Interview Segment: Max
Mike's going to live. You've no idea how much that means to me.
Trust me nephew. I know. Always having to keep a tight lid on your temper. Always being a few steps ahead of everyone in sports. Oh yes. I know how it feels. We are, unfortunately, going to have to talk of such things another day.
Please tell me whatever happens that they're going to get to go home. What happened with me would have happened no matter what.
[Hurt sounding.] He was going to kill her. I couldn't let that happen.
I know. All will be taken care of, but it will be an interesting few weeks for you I think. Rest. I just wanted to be the one to let you know that everything will be made right. You deserve that much at least.
Everyone else got to go home later that night. I had to get a couple bullets pulled out of me I never realized were there and had to have a long heart to heart with 'Uncle' Peter and later my granddad. I'm special. OK fine Everyone is special, but me being able to outdo everyone. It's something genetic and even if I'd spent my whole life stuck in front of a tv I would've been stronger and in better shape than most people that excersize eight hours a day all week.
It didn't sink in then, not really, what that would mean for me but when I was finally allowed to go home I didn't care that I'd almost punted a guy's head off or managed to go Hulk on a reenforced steel door. Halloween was coming and Me, Copper, Steve, Blackbird, Venom, and even a few of the teachers had a theme for our costumes that year.
Finally got to wear the long coat I got before school started, and Steve made a near perfect Deckard. We had fun basically randomly acting out bits of the movie in the halls or improving stuff on the fly. Sure Steve had to use a nerf gun instead of that fancy pistol that could shoot black holes through people but we had fun. Steve was part of the gang again, and we were going to have a club meet. Bonfire, dancing, skating, all that awesome jazz.