The Paragons: Deus Ex Astra, Book 2, Prologue: Mythological Menaces

by CSyphrett and Doc Quantum

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Continued from The Paragons: Deus Ex Astra, Book 1: Visitations

In Romania, the Soviet atomic-powered hero known as Redstar flew over the skies of the capital city. A herd of twenty-foot-tall yellow deer, looking like the Golden Stag from a Romanian fairy tale, had been rampaging through downtown Bucharest, and the longtime communist president Nicolae Ceausescu had appealed for help from the USSR. Redstar sprang into action, traversing the distance from the Soviet Union to the Balkans in mere minutes. The reports had been true. The Golden Stags were destroying things everywhere they ran.

The slender-faced former cosmonaut with the easy smile shook his head and grinned at the sheer mess the creatures had left in their wake as he flew down toward the metallic deer. This was exactly the type of strange situation that Igor Kriss lived for.

The Soviet action-hero began blasting short bursts of energy to keep the group together before they could break away and escape separately, which would make his job much more difficult. He made several more calculated blasts in the next few moments, some meant to keep the herd together and the rest to knock the Golden Stags unconscious, one at a time. In seconds, the whole herd was out cold. In another few seconds, they had all lost their great stature and golden sheen. The local authorities would be by soon to pick up the now-ordinary deer and transport them back to the forest they had come from, though he suspected that at least one or two would be studied and perhaps even dissected. He had no idea what had transformed them, but he had heard of similar mythological transformations occurring throughout Europe and guessed they would now be harmless.

As he flew over the crowds of poverty-stricken citizens, noting that very few of those citizens cheered for him, the Russian hero muttered under his breath, “I hope the Romanians appreciate what I’ve done for their country.” He doubted it, since the Russians were not well-loved by the Eastern Europeans, but he hardly cared.

As far as Kriss was concerned, protecting people was his job. He knew appreciation was rare and fleeting for anyone in the hero business. That was also the way he liked it. After all, Redstar’s very existence had been kept classified by the Kremlin for the first fifteen years of his heroic career, and he had gone without any recognition for all that time, even from his superiors. He was simply satisfied by a job well done.

But this was only one incident amongst several throughout Europe. Kriss knew that other mythological menaces had run rampant in nations on both sides of the Iron Curtain. If he was free to act as he wanted to, he would provide his assistance to Western Europe just as he did to Eastern Europe. But until Comrade Zastrow gave the word, Redstar’s hands were effectively tied.

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