St. Petersburg, Russia; Praetorian Earth, end of the Hamidon Wars

Aglaya Lyednika woke with a start in the room she shared with her sister. She sat up in bed and wiped away the droplets of frozen sweat from her forehead.

“Just a dream… a nightmare.” She whispered to herself in Russian. She stretched and glanced at her sister’s bed. Empty. She frowned, threw back the covers and then scooted out of bed, touching the floor with a bare foot, her blue snowflake night gown whispering as it brushed against the floor.

She crept through the bedroom and onto the balcony and found her sister staring at the city.

“Xenia…” She called to the girl quietly, but she didn’t respond. Aglaya paused and looked at her older sister with reverence. Xenia was 17, but she looked younger, young enough to be Aglaya’s twin at 15. They were both slender and albino, with white skin and hair and brilliant pale blue eyes. In addition, they both had the same tragic mutation. They were cryokinetic, with body temperatures far below freezing. Their touch to anyone but each other was painful, it would numb the flesh in seconds, and destroy it minutes. Because of the low temperatures the air around the two girls turned to a misty fog, making them look ethereal in the cool moonlit night.

“Xenia!” She said a little louder, tapping her sister on the shoulder. Xenia came out of her reverie with a start and whirled on her sister, automatically pulling a ball of ice from the moisture in the air and launching it at the perceived threat. Aglaya ducked and the ice shattered against the white stone wall of the mansion they were staying in. Xenia blinked at Aglaya and then sighed. “You startled me, Aglaya!”

“Sorry.” Aglaya said lamely. “I tried to get your attention… what were you thinking so deeply about?”

“Math.” Xenia answered simply.

“You’re always thinking about math…” Aglaya protested.

“And you’re always thinking about intelligence scenarios… what’s your point?”

Aglaya sighed and slid up to her sister on the bench. “You don’t normally stare out at besieged cities at two in the morning thinking about fractions, Kysena.”

“It wasn’t fractions… it was statistics.”

Aglaya rolled her eyes. “And statistics are just a bunch of ratios…so I think my point still stands.”

Xenia inhaled and stared into her sister’s eyes for moments that seemed like eons before speaking again. “The intel reports… how bad are they?”

Aglaya bit her lip. “It’s… well, no worse then Moscow.”

Xenia looked away and glanced back at St. Petersburg. “Snezhok, Moscow fell after a month… and they lost almost all of Project Ezekial.”

“Yeah but Project Ezekial was about training, not breeding. They weren’t specifically made to be heroes.”

Xenia sighed, her breath turning to snow as she closed her eyes.  “Da.  And we in Solomon were bred to be the next generation of heroes for Mother Russia.  Defending it against the capitalist Americans…and the Devoured.”  A flash of light followed by a low rumble from the battle lines punctuated her next, quiet words. “And we go into battle tomorrow.  Why not?”  Xenia started to cry as she whispered the last few words.  “We are no older than the soldiers who are giving their lives to keep the civilians safe.  If safety can ever be said to exist.”

Xenia held her younger sister close, shivering with emotion.  “Perhaps Consul Marcus Cole and his Super Corps will get here in time to save us all.  If they do not….”  Xenia trailed off, and was silent.

“You said you were thinking about statistics.” Aglaya suddenly piped in after a few minutes of silence.

“Da.” Xenia said quietly as she began to braid her sister’s hair.

“Well… statistics say that the Earth shouldn’t have life on it right? There’s billions of stars with hundreds of billions planets. As far as we know Earth is the only one at just the right distance to get just enough warmth from the sun.”

Xenia tilted her head. “More then billions, but I don’t see where you’re going with this yet.”

“Well… I mean think about the odds involved with us then. Albinism manifesting, especially with blue eyes is a recessive trait, even with mom and dad both being carriers, the genetic combination is rare for one in a generation… it has to be pretty damn unique for there to be two… and that’s not even taking in account the whole cryokinetic gene.”

Xenia stopped braiding and rubbed her chin. “Right. And?”

“Well, if life on earth happened, and we happened… then statistically speaking, anything can happen… Includingbut not limited to… us in Project Solomon holding the line long enough for the “bolshoi” capitalist pigs lead by Consul Cole to save our frigid, but cute communist asses.” Aglaya turned in her sister’s lap as she said this, grinned at her, and kissed her gently on the cheek.

Xenia gave her a little smile, hugging her best friend close and returning the kiss with one on her forehead. “Da. You are right. We can do this.” Xenia relaxed and the two of them gazed at the city and the stars until they grew tired and crawled into Xenia’s bed, drifting into a dreamless sleep.


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