Category Archives: The Red Menace

The Red Menace – Part 7

The red menaceCandace Dare heard the knock on the outer office and knew that Warrant Officer Will Hutton would deal with it. When the two knocks sounded at her door, she was a bit surprised.

“Come,” she said in her practiced military voice. A voice she used only when their were “guests” in her office. General Fitzhugh always preached precise military etiquette when an unknown visitor arrived. One never knew who they reported to.

Hutton opened the door, stopped precisely three feet from the desk, saluted and announced,” Agent Ralph Watkins from the Federal Bureau of Investigation here to see you, ma’am.”

“By all means, Warrant Officer, send him in,” Dare replied. She did not like Agent Watkins at all. Their last meeting was particularly stressful. He wondered if he was going to be a pain again.

The agent entered carrying a file.

“Colonel Dare, nice to see you again,” he said with a smile extending his hand. Dare stood and shook his hand.

“Agent Watkins, what brings you to the Pentagon?” she asked, pointing to a seat.

He sat down. “Colonel Dare, I’m sorry our last meeting was not pleasant. I have been informed that perhaps I was a little too extreme in my conversation you. I hope we can work professionally in the future.”

“Is that why you are here, Agent Watkins?”

“No ma’am. I’m here to bring you this file.”

“File? What so important about that file?”

“Well, actually it’s a passport application.”

“Why should I care about a passport application?”

“The applicant has been flagged, Colonel.”

“Flagged? By whom?” Dare was curious.

“By you, Colonel.”

“What? Who have I flagged?”

“The applicant is Rogers, Emily Rogers, Colonel.”

Dare held out her hand to view the file. Watkins handed her the folder.

“Before you read this, I should give you some other information.”

“Such as?” Dare asked.

“We suspect a Soviet agent is working some sort of process in the Boston area.”


“It seems she is matchmaking students of MIT with low-level Soviet ‘sleeper’ agents.”

“How is this possible?” Dare asked.

“Easy, I’m afraid, Colonel. It seems you take a geeky guy and have a beautiful Russian girl that pays a little attention to him, and it’s ‘love.’”

“And what does that accomplish, Agent Watkins?”

“There is a possibility that one of these MIT graduates will find a high level government job. Then the young Russian wife merely relays the information to a collection agency.”

“And you suspect Emily is mixed up in this somehow?”

“Every since we have been alerted to this application, we have been tracking Emily. We also looked into the background of a Svetlana Grobrotsky. She owns the restaurant where this matchmaking takes place. More than likely it with the employees of this bar that the students fall in love with. Emily has been seen frequenting the bar. Here is a photo we took.” Watkins pulled out another file, took a photo and slid it across the desk to Dare.

She looked at the photo. Emily was in the photo talking to a young man.

“What is with the man’s skin?” she said pointing to Emily’s companion.

“We believe the Soviet’s painted him green. We think they are trying to lure her to Europe where they can kidnap her and run tests.”

Dare leaned into her hands and sighed. She sat silent for several moments. “I guess I have no choice but to bring her home. I’d hate to ruin her life over this.” Dare reached for the phone.

Watkins stood and held up his hand. “Wait, Colonel, I have a plan.”

“What kind of plan?”

Watkins put the folder on a the desk. “I know we had our problems in the past, Colonel. But we need your help in this. The bureau needs to pull in some spies, especially after the Rosenberg thing.”

“You are not going to use Emily as bait!”

“Hear me out, Colonel Dare. Please. We have it all worked out. We are pretty sure they want to leave via a cargo ship. We have some Russian type fellows making arrangements. It seems it will all happen during spring break.”

“Why can’t you break up this ring now?”

“All we have is speculation and rumors. Yes, a lot of Russian girls have married a lot of MIT graduates over the last five years. Yes, some of these scientists have found government jobs, mostly low-level at this point. Yes, the wives have sent numerous letters home. The letters that we intercepted have been mostly to the same address in Belgium.”


“The Soviets are using their resources well, Colonel. These letters go to the same groups spying on NATO.”

“I will not let you send Emily to Belgium!”

“Nor would I want you to, Colonel. I do not know the nature of Emily’s er, ‘condition,’ but there is no way we can take the chance on her leaving the country.”

“At least we are on the same page, Agent Watkins,” Dare admitted. “Who is this, ‘Svetlana?’”

“I have no clue. We assume a field grade officer of the GRU, or that new agency, the KGB,” Watkins pulled out a picture. “This is the only photo we have.”

Dare examined the photo closely. “Might I keep this? I still have contacts with the CIA. I started out in the OSS, you know.”

“Any help would be appreciated, Colonel.”

“What is in this for you, Agent Watkins.”

It was Watkins’ turn to sigh. Dare could see he was struggling to tell the truth or not. It seemed he would. “The way I see this, Colonel, is if we can pull this off, I could pull in a spy ring that would help the bureau’s image. You should be able to keep your girl at MIT. It will be a win-win for us both.”

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The Red Menace – Part 6

The red menaceEmily worked hard during her first few months at MIT. She rarely ventured from campus, she was just too busy. She liked working with Clifford in the lab. He always talked about his girlfriend, Nadia. Emily knew she would have to find a contact soon, to help Clifford find a ring.

She decided that she would not go home for Thanksgiving. By the time she arrived home, she would have to turn around again. She had no idea what she was going to do. She was sure something would come up.

She left the lab, the Monday before Thanksgiving. She was bundled up in a warm coat with plenty of mufflers. The icy wind just whipped off the Charles River all over the campus. It was threatening to snow any minute.

She climbed the stairs to her “ivory Tower” dorm room, well away from the boys. She and another girl shared the room. Both swore to protect the secrecy of the room. She turned the last corner and saw someone standing in front of her door.

She froze. It was Svetlana.

“Good evening, Emily,” Svetlana said.

Emily was upset. She was afraid and then mad. Clifford must have told her how to get here.

“Good evening, Miss Svetlana,” Emily answered.

Svetlana laughed. “My dear young lady, I am Svetlana, just Svetlana. None of that ‘Miss’ stuff, please.”

Emily waited and broke the awkward silence, “What can I do for you, Svetlana.”

“It is what I can do for you, is why I am here.”

“Then, what can you do for me?”

Svetlana smiled. “I understand that you will not being go home for the Thanksgiving Holiday. Is that correct?”

Emily fumed more; she certainly knew not to tell Clifford anything again. “That is true. I have several projects that I need to catch up on.”

“You, catch up? Clifford tells me that if did not do another thing that you would still get strong grades.”

Damn that Clifford!

“But I have the Friday afterwards off,” Svetlana continued. “I thought you and I could take a trip.”

“A trip? Where?”

“I have family in the jewelry business in New York City. Clifford said you would help find a diamond.”

Double damn Clifford!

“You shouldn’t have to waste your whole day finding a diamond. I can call around,” Emily suggested.

“Nonsense!” Svetlana said. “I have family we can get something nice for Nadia at wholesale. Clifford doesn’t have very much money, you understand.”

“Yes, I understand. But that will take you out of your way.”

“I always travel to New York after Thanksgiving. It is so festive! So many people shop around. We can get a diamond and have lunch at a nice place.”

“I’m not sure I have enough money for lunch in New York,” Emily protested.

“Don’t worry, Emily. Clifford will pay for it. Have you ever been to New York?”

“No, but…”

“Be at my shop and 9am. Wear something warm and comfortable shoes – but no too comfortable,” Svetlana said with a wink. She waved and hurried down the stairs.


A large black limousine was parked in front of Svetlana’s. White smoke poured from the exhaust. As Emily approached, Svetlana emerged from her place.

“Ah, there you are!” Svetlana shouted from the curb with a smile. Svetlana was dressed to the nines.

Emily arrived at the limo; Svetlana waved her in. “Come, come, we will ride.”

Emily climbed in the back, Svetlana sat next to her, and closed the door. Svetlana pointed to the driver. “He is my cousin, Leonid. We do this every year.”

“What is this, our fifteenth year?” Leonid asked.

“Please you are dating me!” Svetlana laughed. So did Leonid.

The family bantering put Emily at ease.

Leonid turned around. “I like going to New York to buy the children Christmas presents. Svetlana started coming with me. It is now part of our tradition. Thank you for coming with us, Miss Emily”

“Emily, just Emily.”

Svetlana smiled.

The trip was uneventful and would have been boring if Svetlana had not told her whole life story.

It seemed her father was a young minister in the Tsar’s government. When things were going bad in Russia, he escaped with the thought of finding a way to get Nicholas out. He failed. Having no money or job, he came to America.

He eventually started a restaurant in New York. He began to attract other Russian refugees. After he became successful he was married to a young Ukrainian emigrant, and started a family. Svetlana was his second child.

“I grew up in the restaurant business. I was working there at three,” she told Emily. “This is where we will have lunch.”

“Does you father still run it?” Emily asked.

Svetlana shook his head. “My father passed a few years ago. My sister, Natalia runs it now. She is my older sister.”

Svetlana talked about how she started her company. Her father loaned her the money and expected her to pay it back. She did, in half the time she had. “My father was very severe that way. But he was so proud when I gave him the last payment. He knew I was going to make it.”

Making it, Svetlana found out, was not all that there was to life. She explained that after World War Two, many Russian women were trying to escape. Most of the eligible men were killed in the war. They had no future. Of course the Soviet government tried to stop this.

Svetlana explained how women that escaped were hired by her. She helped find them husbands, like Nadia and Clifford. She helped hopeless women find a new life. That is why she is glad to help find a ring for Clifford.

Emily understood. She felt less nervous about Svetlana now and was glad she didn’t bother Colonel Dare with her “childish” fears.

Arriving in New York, Leonid took them to the restaurant. It was a good time to have lunch. Natalia and Svetlana had a joyous reunion, hugging and kissing each other. Leonid left them there to start his own errands. They were to meet at 5pm at 5th and 47th streets, the Diamond District.

The lunch was magnificent. Emily tried things she never would before. Svetlana had several glasses of vodka, and allowed Emily to take a sip. Natalia and Svetlana laughed at her reaction.

The left the restaurant and walked to the Diamond District. Svetlana stopped frequently and looked in the windows of the stores lining the streets.

Emily was stunned by the Diamond District. The stores with windows and windows of huge diamonds overwhelmed her, with all the bright lights and intense sparkle. She just followed Svetlana as she led.

They finally stopped at one place. Svetlana walked into the place and asked for Victor. The man at the counter tilted his head to the back of the room. Svetlana went to a door and buzzed.

The door was opened by a big burly man. He nodded to Svetlana and Emily, his eyes opening at her green color. Svetlana walked down the hallway and found the small door with Victor’s name on it. She knocked.

“Come,” was the terse reply.

Svetlana walked in with Emily following.

“Svetlana!” Victor jumped from his desk. He hugged and kissed both cheeks. He shook Emily’s hand.

“This is Emily,” Svetlana said. “She is here to help me find an engagement ring for her friend.

“Is this for you?” Victor asked Emily.

“No!” Emily said. “He helped me get settled in college. I know his girlfriend.”

Victor laughed. “It is best to keep the men out of buying diamonds, they never know. I assume you know just what to get.”

“I do,” Emily said. “She wants a pear shaped. Maybe with a baguette on each side. In platinum.”

Victor smiled. “Then all that’s left is to pick out the diamond. I’ll be right back.”

He returned with several small pouches. He put a desk blotter on the desk and poured them out. The top of the desk was filled with dozens of diamonds. “Which one would you like?”

Emily stared at all the diamonds. Victor handed her a pair of tweezers. Emily picked one up. She stared at it.

Amazingly, she could she all the little things inside. She asked Victor what they were.

Surprised he picked up a loupe and examined the stone. He looked carefully at the diamond. “You could see this, Emily? With just your eyes?”

Emily nodded.

“These are just little imperfections. Some call them flaws. I call them the diamonds fingerprint.”

Emily looked over the diamonds. Svetlana and Victor talked quietly, mostly in Russian. Emily held out a diamond to Victor. “What about this one?”

Victor took it and examined it. “This is clearly the finest one in this size I have. What is the young man’s budget?” he asked Svetlana.

“Around one thousand dollars,” Svetlana answered.

“Hmm,” Victor mumbled. “This diamond is twelve hundred, the setting and labor would make it over fourteen hundred.”

“Is that the best we can do, Victor?” Svetlana haggled.

The negotiation went on for several minutes. At last they settled on a price, which was closer to what Svetlana wanted to pay. Victor took the diamond and left to have to set. Svetlana had a ring that Nadia “misplaced” to get the size.

As Victor put the stones away he asked Emily, “Did you like the cut of that diamond?”

“Yes, it was much brighter than all the rest.”

“Would you like to meet the cutter? He works right in this building.”

“Sure, that would be neat.”

Victor picked up the phone and called out. He quietly said something in Russian. He winked at Svetlana. “This will be a surprise for you both.”

A knock a few minutes later altered the three that the cutter was here. “Come,” Victor said in his gruff voice.

The man walked in as Victor announced, “Ladies, This is Gregor.”

Emily stood and turned to face him. She nearly fainted when she saw him and had to grab the chair back to steady herself.

Gregor was green.

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The Red Menace – Part 5

The red menaceEmily left Svetlana’s. The cold night air did not distract her as her mind replayed the conversation. Svetlana definitely spent the conversation fishing for information. Emily tried to give minimal answers.

She thought about calling Candace Dare. Probably not, she reasoned. There was nothing to say. Emily felt that maybe she was a little freaked out about Svetlana being Russian. Of course, Svetlana explained that her family escaped the revolution and found their way to America.

Svetlana told Emily how she hated the communists and how they ruined Russia, not that she was there to see it firsthand. The revolution was before Svetlana was born.

Emily thought it best to stay away for Svetlana’s for a while.


Svetlana watched Emily leave. Foolish child, she thought. I will soon find about your secret.

She sent a message marked “Top Priority” to her commander, Colonel Andrei Segoyan, head of her section of the GRU. Svetlana, whose real name was Major Iliana Skorchital, requested all the resources available to deal with this mystery.

Major Skorchital explained that this child may hold the key of the United States’ modifying of a human. Research was needed to make sure that a whole new breed of Americans did not have a greater capacity that that of the average Soviet citizen.


Emily spent the next couple of weeks with her work and helping out at the lab with Clifford. Emily must have helped their relationship, since Clifford always tried to leave earlier to be with Nadia. Once Clifford brought up the subject of finding a ring for Nadia, Emily knew she would have to find a “connection” in the diamond business. She felt she could put that off until after Christmas, maybe before spring break, she could find a source by then. Her schedule was intense, she hoped it would settle down soon.


The coffee shop was closed when the three men banged on the door. They were admitted by Svetlana’s staff. They headed directly to the office in the back, nobody dared stop them.

Svetlana looked up at the sound of the knock. Before she could respond the door opened and the three men walked in. she recognized the older one. She jumped to her feet.

“Comrade Colonel Segoyan, it is a great honor,” Svetlana stammered. The Colonel rarely made trips to the US. He mostly worked out of Canada, with occasional “diplomatic” trips to the United Nations.

“Major Skorchital, I assure you, the honor is all mine,” Andrei Segoyan said taking Svetlana’s hand.

“What can I do for you, Comrade Colonel?”

The Colonel nodded. One of the men went outside and closed the door, the other stood with the door at his back. The Colonel indicated that Svetlana should sit. She did so, he joined her.

“You have stumble across something that possible may be more important than the nuclear bomb, dear Iliana. This ‘Green Girl’ has some amazing possibilities.”

“Really, she seemed so sweet. I can’t imagine she would more important than the bomb.”

“What little we found, and the Americans are very tight on this one, is that she was affected by an accident.”

“Yes, that is possible,” Svetlana agreed. “How is this important?”

“This process that the little girl underwent was meant for a full division of special fighters.”

“A whole division? How can that be?”

“The Americans were working on a substance that would create a ‘Super Soldier’ and we think she was infected with the whole sample.”

“How did you find this out?”

“It is not a very good practice for the American Army to send disobedient soldiers to the Aleutian Islands. We have ways of finding out why.”

Svetlana nodded, knowing full well about the “ways.”

The Colonel continued, “We have a mission for you, Major Skorchital. A very important mission indeed.”

“And that is…”

“Our scientists will need to examine her, in our laboratories. It is possible that with blood and tissue samples we can determine what makes this young woman special. We can also assess things that she might do. If the Americans can make an army of Super Soldiers, we have to have our own, ready to protect the Motherland.”

“You want me to deliver her to Moscow?”

“No, perhaps elsewhere in Europe. Young women often see romance in Paris. Perhaps Austria, Venice is nice in the summer. We can take in from there.”

“Will that not raise suspicion? Is there not someone from the government watching over her?”

‘Yes. Thank you for reminding me,” the Colonel said. He looked to the soldier by the door and nodded. The young man reached into his coat and pulled out a file. The Colonel took it.

“The woman’s name is Lieutenant Colonel Candace Dare. She has just been assigned to a secret weapons planning department. Here is hat we have on her. Burn this file when you have it memorized,”
Segoyan said.

Svetlana took the file. “How do you suppose I can trick her in going to Europe?”

The Colonel smiled, “Do what you do best, Major.”

The Colonel stood to leave. Svetlana stood with him. An idea hit her.

She looked to the young man by the door. “What is your name, Comrade?”

The Colonel chuckled, “I told you, Gregov. I told you she would snatch you up.”

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The Red Menace – Part Four

The red menaceEmily began to settle into the college routine. The first few days were the worst. The work was not too hard for her. In fact, she was one of the few that actually worked ahead.

Her roommate, Barbara, was glad that Emily had a brain. She told Emily that most people were lost the first week and after that things settled down.

Professor Mortenson assigned Emily as an assistant to Clifford Lane. Clifford Lane was Professor Mortenson’s Teacher’s Assistant for the last three years. Emily would replace him after he graduated at the end of the year.

Emily sensed that Clifford was a little perturbed. She wondered if it was because a) she was a girl or b) she was his replacement.

Every Tuesday evening, they worked in the lab. Clifford had to compile notes and results for the week’s work. Emily, of, course had to help.

“What is it, Clifford, a or b?” Emily asked.

“Huh?” Clifford looked up from his work.

“A or b?” Emily repeated.

“A or b what?”

“A, are you mad that I’m a girl or B, are you mad that I’m your replacement?”

Clifford thought about it for a moment. “C,” he answered.


“Yes, C. ‘All of the above’”

“Are you going the be angry all year?” Emily asked.

“Well,” Clifford hesitated.

“Well, what Clifford? We’ll have to work it out eventually. Might as well work it out now.”

Clifford nodded. “It’s just that my girlfriend, Nadia, doesn’t like me working here with you alone. She is worried about, you know.”

Emily smiled. “That’s what I mean, Clifford. That’s an easy fix. I’ll just have to meet her and she’ll know that she’ll have nothing to worry about.”

“How do you know that?”

“Really? I’m green Clifford. Most women will feel sorry for me. She’ll know with one look that I won’t steal you away.”

“I am going to see her tonight. Why don’t you come with me? I’ll introduce you and you can leave or hang out. Whatever you’d like.”


“Nadia works at ‘Svetlana’s” on Athenaeum Street.”

“Sounds like a bar. I’m a little young to drink, not that I would want too, anyway.”

“Yes you can drink tea there. Svetlana also has different teas from a round the world. It’s a great place to study in the afternoon before it gets busy. That’s how I met Nadia.”

“Maybe I will go for a few minutes.”

“That will be great, Emily!”

When the two were finished, they walked to Svetlana’s. Emily felt the chill in the air. She shivered.

“It gets cold fast here in Boston,” Clifford said. We may have snow before Halloween.”

“I’m glad I wore my sweater, I’ll have to get my heavier jacket soon,” Emily replied.

The walk seemed forever. The bar was located on the far side of the campus from Professor Mortenson’s lab. Emily peeked at the “Ivory Tower” and hoped her roommate was spying on her. The room was dark, which meant Barbara was away. She was very involved in campus life.

The flashing neon light brought Emily’s attention back to reality. The sign said “Svetlana’s” in bright red letters. The place looked nice enough, but Emily knew her mother wouldn’t approve. It’s all for a good cause, Mom, Emily thought.

Clifford pulled the door open for Emily. The room felt comfortably warm. The layer of smoke hung just above Emily’s eye level. The light was muted.

All conversation stopped when Emily walked in.

The silence annoyed and embarrassed Clifford. He looked around at the staring faces. “This is Emily,” he announced and directed her to a booth.

“Sorry about that, Emily,” he told her after she sat.

“Don’t worry, I’m used to it.”

Clifford decided to find Nadia.

Emily sat in the booth. She looked around and would occasionally find someone staring at her. She smiled back, and sometimes waved. The other person would quickly turn a way. Emily thought it was funny.

Clifford came back with a tall woman dressed as a waitress. Her long black hair was tied in a bun. Her eyes at first were very defensive and then turned to surprise.

Emily stood and offered her hand, “You must be Nadia. I’m Emily.”

Nadia stood looking a little dazed. Her hand slowly came out and shook Emily’s.

“Clifford told me how beautiful you are and I see he wasn’t exaggerating.”

“Thank you,” Nadia answered with a thick Russian accent. “He forgot to mention some things about you.”

“Men are not the most observant people, you know.”

“I know,” Nadia replied.

“Anyway, nice meeting you,” Emily said holding out her hand.

Nadia returned the handshake. Emily held her hand and turned it. Nadia looked confused.

Emily looked at Clifford and nodded. “I think a pear shape would work best for her hand. She has long thin fingers.”

Nadia pulled her hand away. “What are you talking about?”

Emily smiled. “I have an uncle in the diamond business. That’s why Clifford thought I should meet you.”

Nadia looked surprised and turned to Clifford who was bright red. She smiled and turned back to Emily. “Just make sure it’s big.”

Emily watched Nadia drag Clifford away. Where am I going to find an uncle in the diamond business? She wondered. She stood to leave.

“Emily Rogers, I believe?” A heavily Russian accented voice asked.

Emily turned and was face to face with a tall 30ish woman with long blond hair. She held in one hand a long silver cigarette holder with a long smoking cigarette. “Yes,” Emily said feeling off-balanced.

“I am Svetlana Dvernich,” the woman said.

“This is your place? It is very nice.”

“Thank you, Emily. Would you like some tea?”

“No, thank you. I was just getting ready to leave.”

“Please, let me give you some tea. I always like to chat with the new students.”

Emily felt Svetlana gently push her in the booth. Svetlana sat opposite her. Svetlana snapped her fingers and a waiter brought a pot with two fine porcelain cups.

Svetlana leaned over the table and poured the tea. It was a strong black tea, Emily noted.

“Now, Emily. Tell me about yourself.” Svetlana asked with a sickening sweet smile.

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The Red Menace – Part Three

The red menaceEmily reported to Dr. James Mortenson, the man who accepted her into the school after her bizarre interview with the board. He was happy to see her.

“Miss Rogers, I’m glad that you are here. Classes will begin in just a couple of days. How were your tests?” Dr. Mortenson asked.

“They were much more extensive than the ones I underwent in Aberdeen, Dr. Mortenson.”

“Of course they were, Miss Rogers. Scientists who make bombs cannot be expected to be able to understand the human body. Let alone a female one.”

“Did you get any results?” Emily asked.

“Not yet, Miss Rogers. They will take a few weeks. I will certainly go over them with you and your army friend,” he said. “But first, I need to introduce you to someone.”

He had Emily follow him to his office. There were several students getting things in order. “Mr. Lane?”

One of the students, the best dressed one, stood. “Yes, Dr. M?”

“This is Miss Emily Rogers. She will be joining the Physics department, first as a student and to learn your role as a Teachers Assistant to replace you when you graduate.”

“When did you decide that, sir?”

“Did you not get the memo I left you, Mr. Lane?”

“Oh, THAT memo. I’m sorry, I did not read all the way through. I assumed that it was just the regular beginning of the year stuff.”

“Don’t assume, Mr Lane. You know what becomes of that.”

“Yes, sir,” Lane said sheepishly.

“Anyway, Miss Emily Rogers, this is Mr. Clifford Lane. He is my teacher’s assistant. He is presently working on his master’s and will be one step closer when he files all his paperwork.”

“Sorry Dr. M. But…”

“We can discuss the matter later, Mr. Lane. For right now, I need to to escort Miss Rogers to her dorm room.”

“Sir? She’s, well, a girl and where…”

“Mr. Lane, you will really need to address your memo reading skills. Thankfully, you have been here long enough that I know how to deal with the issue. Here is another copy.” He handed a paper to Clifford.

Clifford read quickly, the light of understanding slowly revealed itself. “Ah, thank you, sir. I shall make sure Miss Rogers finds her way there.”

“No, Mr. Lane. You are to take her there yourself. She hasn’t had time to find her way around. Is there a problem?”

“No, sir. I’ll walk her to her dorm.”

“Thank you, Mr. Lane. Miss Rogers, your effects have already been delivered. Your schedule will be posted on your personal bulletin board.” Dr. Mortenson extended his hand and shook Emily’s.

Clifford Lane did not say a word as he directed Emily to her room. By the third set of turns, Emily was already lost. They at last reached a building near the edge of the campus. Entering, the found the staircase and climbed several levels of stairs. Afters the stairs were several twists and turns down richly paneled hallways.

The finally stopped at a door, marked with the number, “467.” Lane knocked.

“Come in,” a feminine voice called.

Lane opened the door for Emily. “See you later, Miss Rogers.”

Emily walked into the room.

In one corner lay two swords and a bow – not a play one. Otherwise the room was neat as a pin. A young woman bounded in the room from a tiny hallway.

“You must be Emily,” she said with a wide smile. “Welcome to the Ivory Tower.”

“The Ivory Tower?” Emily asked.

The young woman giggled. “That at least is what I call it. They hadn’t planned on having women attend this particular college. So they throw us in the tallest structure they could find. Reminds me of Rapunzel.” The young woman was rather animated Emily thought.

“But, forgive me, I am getting quite ahead of myself. My name is Barbara Jewell. This is my sophomore year here. I’m quite glad that I am no longer the only woman.”

“I’m Emily Rogers,” Emily replied.

“I know, I know,” Barbara interrupted. “I received the memo last week. Before I welcome you here I have a few questions.”

“Please,” Emily replied.

“OK, here goes. Is it true that a secret government experiment turned you green?”


“Has it affected you otherwise?”

“Yes, but I don’t know everything. I was at Harvard for tests.”

“Are you here to find an eligible husband?”

“No!” Emily answered annoyed.

Barbara stopped and stared at the strength of Emily’s response. She smiled.

“Are you sure?”

“Yes! I am here to get my Doctorate in Physics!”

Barbara’s smile broadened. “Excellent! Then welcome Emily Rogers to the Ivory Tower. I have several rules with which we need to agree on forthwith.”

Emily nodded for Barbara to continue.

“First and foremost: This is our sanctuary. No boys allowed. By the way, the men here are clueless anyway. Second: We share the fridge. No this shelf is mine this is your. We will get our groceries together and we’ll just have to agree.”

“That sounds fair.”


Clifford Lane hiked from the campus to his favorite place on Athenaeum Street. The neon sign blazed “Svetlana’s” in bright red letters. His girlfriend Nadia worked there and would be off in a couple of hours.

He entered the bar. Looking around he couldn’t see Nadia through the drifted cloud of smoke. He was glad he never took up the habit, but wasn’t particularly bothered by it either. He saw the owner, Svetlana, sitting at the end of the bar. He walked over to say Hello.

“Miss Svetlana, how are you tonight?” He asked.

“Hello, Clifford. Nadia has been waiting for you to show up, she was getting a little anxious,” Svetlana replied in her thick Russian accent. She once told Clifford of how her family escaped the communists and worked their way across Europe. They finally made it to America.

“I’ll have to apologize to her. I had to show my replacement around.”

“Your replacement? Well, you will be graduating soon, no? I shall miss you Clifford Lane, and maybe my Nadia if you take her from me.”

“I’ll have to see what kind of job I can find.”

“With your brains you should work for your government. Then you will never have to worry about your next paycheck.”

“Well sometimes things happen, Miss Svetlana. Then there is a mess to clean up.”

“What do you mean, Clifford?” Svetlana’s ear perked up.

“Take my replacement, Emily Rogers. She was just a normal girl growing up in her normal neighborhood. Then Wham! She gets hit with a secret experiment and it turns her life around. They’re making her go to MIT to figure it out.”

“’They’re?’ Who is ‘they’re?’” Svetlana asked.

“Why the government, that’s who. Poor little girl. She’s all green and everything. She’ll probably never find a boyfriend, much less a husband. She looks like the Wicked Witch of the West, she does.”

“Tell you what, Clifford, bring her by. I will she what her personality is like. I have cousins in New York that might be interested.”

“That’s very nice of you, Miss Svetlana. I will do that.”

At that point, Clifford saw Nadia. “There she is. Talk to you later, Miss Svetlana.”

Svetlana nodded. When Clifford turned to Nadia, Svetlana wrote Emily Rogers on a napkin. She walked to the storeroom. One of her men was moving cases of beer.

“Here,” she said in Russian. “Find out whatever you can about this girl. She seems to be a victim of some secret experiment. I will try to talk her.”

“Da, Comrade Major,” the man replied.

Channel 37 would like to thank the many entrants to our “We’re Stuck” Contest. We hope you had as much fun as we did. The winners were as you can see: Mr. Clifford Lane and Ms. Barbara Jackson Jewell. They will both receive an e-book of this story when it’s completed. Watch for more contests in the future!

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We’re Stuck!

The red menaceThis week’s episode is all scripted, planning and blocked for action. We at Channel 37 are stuck with one small element.

We can’t think of names for two of our characters.

Now one would think that an organization like Channel 37, with a parent company like Greyrock Publishing would have no problem think of character names.

One WOULD think.

But, nonetheless, we are stuck.

So, we have thought long and hard about a solution (although with the level of energy put into this, one would think we could come up with a name). Here it is.

This year at Balticon, we are looking for people who want to be a “Character” in this story. We will take applications, talk to potential characters. We will have a form that can be filled out and placed in our little “Channel 37 box. On Tuesday, May 28th the names of the new characters will appear in Part 3 of “The Red Menace.”

One of the characters is female and a new friend of Emily Rogers. This does not mean that only college ages students should apply. Remember, the story takes place in the 50’s (not that you have to be in your 80’s to apply). We are a fiction company.

The other character is a male Teacher’s Assistant (TA). This character ultimately introduces Emily to The Red Menace.

If you will not be at Balticon this year. Feel free to send your entry to

Hope to see you all at Balticon!

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The Red Menace – Part 2

The red menaceIn our last episode, Candace Dare and Emily Rogers (The Green Girl) with Emily’s parents arrive at MIT. They are there to meet with the Admissions Board in hopes of attending. Emily wanted to demonstrate her “special abilities: and had Candace Dare shoot her.

The admissions board stared in horror at the demonstration. The board erupted as one.

“How dare you…” the Dean tried to say.

“Horace, wait!” the old curmudgeon James interrupted.

“James, please, I know you are incensed, but…” the Dean tried to speak.

“No, I am not incensed, but I am intrigued.”

“What are you saying?”

“Give me a moment, Horace.” James turned to Emily.

“Miss Rogers, how did this happen?”

Candace Dare interrupted. “I’m sorry, Professor, the exact nature of Miss Rogers’ condition cannot be disclosed. Suffice it to say, this was caused by an accident.”

“Colonel Dare, I appreciate the sensitivity of the military’s errors. But if we are to admit a victim of the army’s callousness, we would like to know any other foreseeable problems.”

Dare remained silent to the old professor’s accusations.

The Professor turned again to Emily. He smiled. “Miss Rogers, I should no want you to be uncomfortable, but is there ant way I could examine the impact point?”

Emily did not ask Dare for permission. She modestly pulled her blouse out of her skirt. The professor examined the spot.

Her skin tone was a darker green at the impact point, with a spidery image around the impact point.

“Fascinating,” the old man whispered. He paused.

He looked thoughtful. “Rogers, Rogers, is this the work of Andrew Rogers?”

“Yes, he’s my uncle,” Emily said before Dare could stop her.

The professor turned to Colonel Dare. “How much testing did you do?”

Dare hesitated before answering. “We sent her to Aberdeen.”

The Professor snorted. “You sent her to Aberdeen Proving Grounds? She is a young woman, not a weapons system. Typical bureaucratic inefficiency!”

Before Dare could answer, the old professor turned to Horace. “We will take her, but only on two conditions.”

“And they are?” Horace asked.

“First, we will test her.”

“Professor, she has been tested,” Dare said.

“She has been tested as a weapon, not as an extraordinary achievement in physics.”

“Physics?” Horace scoffed. “Don’t mean biomedical sciences, Professor?”

“That’s what I first thought, Horace. Did you not see the impact point? Those spider webs designs. Her body built some structure to absorb the impact. It did so in less than a hundredth of a second. A force that could deflect such a powerful force can only be met with physical sciences.”

“You would share these findings with the Army?” Dare asked.

“I would not,” the old professor snapped. “Which brings me to my second condition.”

“Which is?” The Dean asked.

“Her tuition will come from the physics department. We will pay for her education, her room and board.”

“But the Army is willing to pay,” Horace objected.

“If they pay, dear Horace, then they will be entitled to our findings.”

“What have you against the government, Professor?”

The old man glared at Dare.

“I will tell you, Colonel, and then we will never speak of this again. I was trained in the finest universities in Europe. I attended colleges in Berlin and in Paris. That was before the Nazis came. Then I was hunted like a dog, and forced to leave my home. Most of my family was slain. I was able to find a position here in America.

“Meanwhile, the United States Government denied what was going on in Europe. They did not help people to escape. They did not help my family, and I will not help them now.”

“I understand,” Candace Dare replied.

“How can you possibly understand?”

Candace Dare took a deep breath. “After I graduated from nursing school, I was given a month before I had to report to the Army. I visited my grandmother in Paris. Two week later, the Nazis invaded. My grandmother was killed. I was taken by the Nazis and forced to work in a hospital with wounded German soldiers. I was locked in a small room every night to rest.

“They brought in a prisoner one day. He was from the French underground. I was assigned to him. He had some high importance to the organization. The Underground staged a daring raid and I was rescued. I worked for the Underground, destroying nazi bases, saving who I could and killing German officers. We fought the Germans until my group was destroyed, killing my fiancée.

“When the Americans saved me, they had me marked as Absent Without Leave and were going to try me as a deserter. General DeGaulle intervened. He thought that trying one of his ‘Killer Angels’ would be bad for French-American relationships. I was re-assigned to an intelligence unit and recently promoted to DARPA.”

The old man approached Dare and held out his hand. “You really do understand, Colonel. Very well, I can work with you.”

“Does that mean we will accept the army’s money?” Horace asked.

“No!” Dare and the professor answered in unison.

Emily laughed, wiping the tears from her eyes after hearing Candace’s story.

The professor approached the Rogers family. “Emily is report here by August first. I will have some tests conducted at the Harvard Medical School. She will have a quick orientation. Her schedule will be quite full for the next seven years. We will allow short vacations to visit family, and possibly the Colonel.”

“Seven year?” Emily gasped.

“Quite so, Miss Rogers. You will not leave here until you earned your Doctorate. Are you sure you are up to the task?

“I am, Professor. How can I ever thank you?” Emily stammered.

“Getting your doctoral robes will be all the thanks I need,” the old man answered. “Then perhaps I can retire.”

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The Red Menace – Part 1

The red menaceThe plane touched down on the damp runway. The four turboprops kicked a fog of vapor. The plane, a dull olive drab bearing military markings tuned to the taxi lane.

As the plane came to a stop near a hangar, a matching olive drab limousine, complete with a bright white star and stenciled serial numbers squeaked to a stop. The car waited until the engines quieted and a rolling stairway was pushed to the door of the aircraft.

The driver of the vehicle stepped out of the car and immediately went to the passenger door. He opened the door and saluted.

A spiked high heel, followed by a smartly dressed, uniformed woman rose from the car. She wore a dark raincoat covering any identification. The symbol on her hat marked her as a lieutenant colonel. She watched as the door to the plane opened.

A man dressed in a business suit stepped from the door of the plane. He paused and helped another woman, his wife. Arm in arm, they carefully climbed down the metallic steps. A young woman, dressed in a light yellow raincoat followed the couple. Her green skin contrasted sharply with the drabness of the plane and the day.

The colonel walked to the plane.

“Mr. and Mrs. Rodgers, I trust you had a good flight?” she asked the couple.

“It was a little rough at the end, Colonel Dare. But it was fine nonetheless,” Mr. Rogers replied.

The young woman came to the colonel and gave her a hug.

“How are you Emily?”

“I am a little nervous, Colonel Dare,” Emily answered.

“I told you long ago to call me Candace. Don’t go formal on me now.”

Emily turned and glared at her parents giving an unspoken “I told you so.”

Soldiers from the plane loaded the Rogers luggage into the car’s trunk. The spring drizzle continued to fall.

“Come, let’s get in the car where it’s dry,” Colonel Dare suggested.

The car was equipped with double seats. The Rogers sat opposite Colonel Dare, who sat next the Emily.

“After they load the car we’ll go the hospitality room where you call can freshen up before out meeting,” Colonel Dare explained.

“Don’t we need to check into our hotel first?” Mr. Rogers asked.

“Sergeant Samuels, our driver, will get you checked in and will deliver your luggage while we meet with the Dean of Admittance.”

“What do you really think of our chances, Colonel Dare?” Mrs. Rogers asked.

“I think very good, Mrs. Rogers. Emily has great grades, she is very technical, and has proven her ability to work well with scientific theory. As you know, the United States Government is picking up the tab, so finances are not the issue.”

“The issue,” Mr. Rogers interjected, “is whether they will take a female, is it not?”

Candace Dare nodded. “Yes it is. They have in the past, Mr. Rogers. They have a proven history of that, not that they haven’t rejected many females. We’ll just have to convince them that Emily is not just here to shop for a husband.”

“I hate that!” Emily fumed.

“And so do I, Emily,” Dare reassured her. “We will just have to point out Emily’s special qualities and her value to the college and well as to the country.”

“If it gets down to it, Candace, just shoot me,” Emily suggested.

“I am not going to shoot you Emily.”

After the brief rest stop, the car head to the campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The car stopped in front of the main administration building. The driver opened the door.

“Thank you Sergeant,” Colonel Dare said after they were all out. “Please take the Rogers luggage to the hotel and meet us back here.”

“A pleasure, ma’am,” the sergeant said with a snappy salute.

They entered the building. Candace’s Dare footsteps resounded throughout the marbled halls. A receptionist appeared, obviously startled by the noise.

“My I help you?” she asked.

“We have a meeting with the Dean of Admissions,” Dare answered.

“The name of the student?”

“Rogers, Emily Rogers.”

“Wait here. I will announce you.”

When the receptionist left, Dare looked to Emily.

“Don’t act like you’re nervous,” she whispered.

“But I am,” Emily whispered back.

“Take a deep breath and be calm. You have been in many situations worse than this.”

Emily’s parents stared at all the trophies in cases, most for scientific achievements. Numerous portraits hung in the hallway. The wait seemed long.

“What’s taking so long?” Emily asked.

“Part of the game,” Dare answered. “They want you to realize that you have to wait for them. You are in their power now and they call all the shots.”

“I think that’s a horrible way to treat people.”

“If you become Dean here, Emily, you can change it.”

The receptionist finally reappeared. “Please follow me,” she said without any emotion.

The group followed through the twists and turns of the building. Each hallway was constructed much like the previous one. The portraits, although different, had the same dour looks from unsmiling former instructors, presidents, or notable students.

They stopped.

The receptionist knocked three times on the nondescript door. A muted “Come” was issued from within the room. The receptionist opened the door and motioned the part inside.

The room was spacious. This floor was wood, very high polished. The walls were lined with books and more portraits, mostly of ancient scientists. The front of the room was a long wooden polished table. The table was slightly raised. Behind the table sat five people. None seemed pleased to be in attendance.

The person in the center indicated for small wooden chairs that the party should occupy. When the party was settled, the five opened folders, almost in unison. It was then that the five actually looked at Emily. They appeared to be startled.

“Are you attempting to make a statement, Miss Rogers?” the Dean asked.

“A statement? What do you mean, sir?”

“Your green coloring, Miss Rogers. It seems a bit silly for someone applying for such an opportunity to have applied a green coloring.”

“No sir, there is no statement. This happened as a result of an accident.”

“What type of accident, Miss Rogers?” the man pressed.

“Excuse me,” Colonel Dare interrupted. “The exact nature of this accident cannot be revealed. It was a testing mistake of the United States Government. This is why we will be financing Miss Rogers tuition and room and board.”

The man’s eyes narrowed on Colonel Dare. “And you are?”

“I am Lieutenant Colonel Candace Dare of the Inspector General’s office of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Administration.”

“See Horace, this is what I warned you all about several years ago. You start taking the government grant money and they’ll force you to take students to get rid of them.”

“James, we’ve been over this a thousand times. This is not the time to start this. We are not being forced, we can choose to vote ‘no’ anytime.”

“Perhaps we should do so,” James grumbled.

“This shouldn’t be about the government,” Dare interjected. “This should be about the merits of Miss Rogers.”

“Agreed,” the man now known as Horace said. He turned to Emily. “What are your goals, Miss Rogers?”

“I hope to be a physicist, Sir.”

“They are not many women physicists, Miss Rogers. I daresay there are no green ones. Your difference may cause you problems.”

“How so, sir?”

“This is a unique institution, Miss Rogers. We expect our graduates to be leaders in their fields. Your, er, difference may prove a distraction to yourself as well as others.”

“Would not a true leader be able to focus past and type of distraction?” Emily replied adding “Sir” after a small pause.

“True enough, Miss Rogers. Keep in mind that Boston is the big city. There are all types of temptations and distractions around. One could get hurt if one is not careful.”

“I appreciated your concern, sir. This ‘accident’ has left me with some unique abilities and would help me to avoid such injuries.”

The members of the board huddled and whispered to one another. There were many smiles. It seemed they were mocking Emily.

“Perhaps, Miss Rogers, you could give the board a small demonstration of how you can use your ‘abilities’ to stay safe?”

“What would the board like?”

“Something small, perhaps. Something that would ease the board’s concern for your safety.”

Mr. Rogers spoke for the first time. “Colonel Dare, perhaps you should do as Emily suggested earlier.”

“I hardly think that would be appropriate, Mr. Rogers,” Dare answered.

“Would it prove her ability to stay safe?” Horace asked.

“Yes, but…” Dare tried to respond.

“Would it be a long demonstration?”

“Less than ten seconds,” Emily answered.

“By all means, please proceed.”

Emily rose from her seat and walked in front on the Dean. She turned and faced right. “Whenever you are ready, Colonel.”

Dare rose reluctantly from her chair. She walked to the opposing side of the room and sighed.

Emily dropped her arms to her sides, smiled and said, “I’m ready.”

Dare hesitated. She looked at the board and saw nothing but complacency. She knew Emily was right. This would shake them up.

She unbuttoned her holster, raised her luger and fired at Emily. Emily yelped at the impact.

The faces of the board members registered shock. Dare wanted to smile.

All eyes went to Emily. She fumbled with the impact site, pulled out the bullet and placed it in front of the dean.

The smell of cordite hung in the room.

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