HAMMER, SICKLE, AND SWORD
Ivan Stanislav walks down yet another hallway with Alexei Ruslan at his side. The Bear is clearly looking for someone as they occasionally peer into doorways here and there, opening up various doors and peeking in.
Ivan Stanislav: He has got to be here somewhere, eh?
Ruslan nods his head and looks up at his larger friend.
Alexei Ruslan: There is not much more left to this building. I do not think he would be in the boiler room, do you?
They move further down the hallway as Ruslan peers along the open slit of one door and stops. He speaks in a hurried whisper.
Alexei Ruslan: Ivan, he is in there! Here, the gift!
Ruslan produces a book and hands it to Ivan, who nods down at his smaller friend.
Alexei Ruslan: Shall I go in with you?
Ivan Stanislav: Nyet, it is quite all right, Alexei. I have quite the rapport with younger generation.
He smiles knowingly, and Alexei steps off to the side and nods. Stanislav, with the book tucked in his paw of a hand, opens the door more and squeezes himself through the doorway, calling out to the individual he’s been looking for.
Ivan Stanislav: FLAMBERGE, you are in here?
FLAMBERGE is indeed “here”, though he wasn’t planning on being found. The Frenchman has clearly cleaned up and suited up after his match with Avalon, and before Stanislav’s intrusion, he was buried in the news of the day emanating from his phone.
The Russian Bear grins as he fills the room. He spreads his arms wide, still holding the book, and speaks as pleasantly as a seven foot Russian can.
Ivan Stanislav: Bonjour! You are difficult fellow to find, FLAMBERGE.
Ivan clears his throat and straightens his back more as he looks down at the smaller, much younger Frenchman.
Ivan Stanislav: In case you are unaware of who I am, I am Ivan Stanislav, The Russian Bear!
Stanislav’s voice booms, but he looks anything but threatening at this moment, which is a rare sight. His smile pierces his haphazard beard and he still holds the book in his hand, but makes no attempt to show it.
FLAMBERGE: I am aware of the Stanislav, oui. Truly “killing it” here so far, non?
The Frenchman’s voice is definitely an attempt at baritone that can’t quite match the booming depths of the Russian in front of him, though Ivan makes no point of embarrassing FLAMBO about it. Stanislav lets out a laugh in response to the question. The ceiling tiles tremble.
Ivan Stanislav: DYAAHAAHAA!! Yes I am killing it indeed!
The juxtaposition between these two men cannot be any more stark. The pale Stanislav stands over a foot taller than FLAMBO, he is double his weight, and triple his age. The Bear tugs on one of his suspenders.
Ivan Stanislav: And I am sure you are wondering just why I would come hunting for you, eh? The answer is quite simple and straightforward. Tell me, FLAMBERGE, what are your opinions on Marxism-Leninism, hm?
One may think this is a joke, but Stanislav is as serious as a heart attack as he lifts one bushy brow and tilts his head to the side, his full attention trained on the young wrestler.
FLAMBERGE may have just as well been asked about his opinion on Bolivian war tactics with how out of his depth he is. Education was a serious component of the Lavigne Family Upbringing, but hell if this kid knew square one about Mark Leninsmo or whatever Ivan asked.
FLAMBERGE: My opinions? They’re…well…actually, what are YOUR opinions?
The response catches Stanislav off guard. FLAMBERGE may very well be the first person to actually ask for Ivan’s opinion on such things, rather than the Bear simply bombarding others with said opinions. For a moment, Ivan is actually stunned. He puffs out his cheeks thoughtfully as he becomes thoughtful. He leans backwards slightly against the door behind him, causing it to creak.
Ivan Stanislav: Ah… my opinions on Marxism-Leninism? It is… the foundation of good social upbringing, it is… the finest outlook on life.
Stanislav becomes lost in his thoughts.
Ivan Stanislav: Workers controlling the means of production, the world revolution, destruction of capitalist state and freedom for all. Utopia. The idea of an agrarian society leaping forward beyond the capitalist stage of Marxism and hurtling towards true communism and becoming industrial superpower. World revolution, the destruction of imperialism…
Ivan trails off thoughtfully before he snaps out of his dream-like state, stands straight again, and looks at FLAMBO.
Ivan Stanislav: I could go on for hours, FLAMBERGE, but you know precisely what I mean, eh? It fills you with a kind of uncontrollable pride, does it not? Can you not just imagine it?
Once again, the words crash over FLAMBO’s face like a wave and not much seems to be sticking, though at the words “destruction of the capitalist state”, he seemed to nervously fiddle with the keys to his beloved FLAMBOrghini. He takes a breath to start saying something, but loses his thought completely as a look of confused apprehension washes over him. Stanislav is as bullish outside of the ring as he is in it, and he simply continues to speak, inadvertently saving FLAMBERGE. He finally produces the book, officially.
Ivan Stanislav: I come to you, FLAMBERGE, with a gift and proposition. You know, we both share an international heritage, both being Europeans and all of this. And while the French and Russians may be on opposite sides of Europe itself, we still share so much more in common than most individuals here in PRIME. First, the gift!
Ivan’s voice reverberates off the walls. He speaks with energy and momentum as he offers the book to FLAMBERGE.
Ivan Stanislav: This book is collected works of Jacques Duclos. While I am sure you are aware of this great writer, just in case you need memory jogged, he was one of most influential communist minds in France and he was stalwart Stalinist. The man truly was hero. A veteran of wars, fighter for the working class, and truly one of, if not the, most celebrated French figure in history.
He offers the book to FLAMBERGE and points down at it with a finger.
Ivan Stanislav: I took liberty of noting important passages in his writing, so that you may fill your young mind with proper proletarian knowledge!
FLAMBERGE looks down at the cover of the book. It reads “Собрание сочинений Жака Дюкло”. The confusion only deepens in his brow – something about seeing the completely-unreadable-to-him Cyrillic brings out Maximum Frenchman.
FLAMBERGE: Vous vous attendiez vraiment à ce que je lise ce livre écrit par un Français et vous n’avez pas pensé à m’en donner un exemplaire en français, voire en anglais?
Stanislav pauses as FLAMBERGE speaks to him in French. The Bear blinks his eyes as the foreign words actually put a hitch in his momentum. He speaks haltingly.
Ivan Stanislav: Er.. yes of course, certainly, FLAMBERGE, my eh, assessment as well…
Ivan clears his throat loudly, and resumes his talking points with a gruff grunt. His jovial and energetic demeanor melts as he becomes more serious and almost somber. His voice drops lower and he adjusts the waist of his pants, hefting it up higher along his stomach. He rolls his shoulders and releases the slack the movement created in his suspenders.
Ivan Stanislav: As for the proposition: Where Ivan Stanislav goes, he brings The Red Army with him. I am sure you are keenly aware of The Red Army, arguably one of most celebrated and influential groups of wrestlers to exist in this arena. The Red Army represents international brotherhood of like minded wrestlers, who soundly reject the oppression and foolishness of American born competitors. It is my belief that Lindsay Troy manipulates the roster of PRIME for her own ill gains. When you or I voice our concerns, we are soundly rejected and belittled, eh? And yet expletive laden rants by individuals like Brandon Youngblood and foolishness from those like Anglo Luchador are met with cheers. This is not right, eh?
After shaking off the shock of the Cyrillic on the cover of the book, FLAMBERGE looks upwards into the eyes of the hulking Russian. He DOES have a point, doesn’t he…Youngblood. It’s a hook in his guts that isn’t going away. And something about his delivery about seeing potential in the young man sounded like something another wrestler shared with him months ago…wherever he is now. Stanislav looks down into his eyes, his face turning into a thoughtful, though not necessarily unhappy, frown.
Ivan Stanislav: I need not have response now, FLAMBERGE, but be aware The Red Army is always looking for rising stars, particularly young ones, and you have gathered my attention. Unlike some others, I see the potential you have, and if you ever need a fellow European to offer and assist, you need look no further than Mother Russia, eh?
Stanislav offers his huge hand to FLAMBERGE. He isn’t smiling, and his eyes are intense as he offers his hand to the young wrestler and looms over him. His next words hang in the air.
Ivan Stanislav: You think about what Ivan has offered, hm? It is not consideration I give lightly.
FLAMBERGE looks down at the giant bear paw that’s been extended to him, and after a beat, he decides to return the handshake. Predictably, Stanislav’s grip is WAY stronger than FLAMBO’s, but the kid does his best to avoid flinching.
FLAMBERGE: …au revoir pour le moment, Mssr. Stanislav. And thank you for the offer.
FLAMBO frees himself from the handshake, tucks the book under his arm, and leaves. Stanislav smiles wide as FLAMBO shakes his hand, and he turns to watch him leave. The smile continues until The Frenchman’s back is to him, and it disintegrates into a more customary Russian frown. Ivan’s eyes intently watch him go and he does not blink.
Not a moment later, Alexei Ruslan pops his hat in, and then slides into the room. He stares at Ivan curiously.
Alexei Ruslan: Well? How did it go?
Stanislav exhales carefully, still frowning as he considers the entire exchange. He speaks quietly, and thoughtfully… in fluent French while tapping the side of his head.
Ivan Stanislav: Ne sous-estimez jamais la diplomatie russe, Alexandre.
Ruslan blinks slowly as he tries to gauge Ivan’s mood, before Stanislav laughs loudly.
Ivan Stanislav: DYAAHAAHAA!!
Immediately, Ruslan smiles and the two Russians laugh as one.