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December 19th, 2016
Warning: This is definitely the most graphically violent one-shot I've written so far. Continue to read at your own risk.
Korra felt like she could barely breathe. All around her were bodies, and she was fairly certain she was about to be the next one to die. A Nazi patrol was coming her way, she could hear the tanks rumbling. She couldn't see them coming though, they were just on the other side of a low wall. Korra was about to raise her head, when another woman caught her eye. She was covered in so much blood Korra thought she was dead as well, but instead, she brought a finger to her lips, and gestured to lie still with her head down.
It almost felt pointless. Korra knew she was going to die here, thousands of miles from home, here in the ruins of the city of Stalingrad. She had been lucky to survive the first charge, because she wasn't the one in four soldiers who had managed to lay their hands on a rifle. It was an almost certainty that the oncoming Nazi's were going to finish the job, both her and the woman to her right.
The tanks came rolling by, their sound was unmistakable. Not that it's very hard to miss a twenty five-ton steel monster rolling by not three feet away, but it wasn't exactly comforting. Two soldiers jumped over the wall, looking around for comrades that were still breathing. Korra held her breath and kept her body limp, trying to fool those two that she was dead.
When one of them kicked her foot, she thought she was done for, but luckily, he fell for it. One of the others wasn't so lucky; when he twitched unnaturally, the Nazi drew his sidearm and shot him through the head, definitively killing him.
After what felt like an eternity, the soldiers walked on, and the unrelenting rumble of the tanks finally died down.
Korra looked over to the other woman, who had a better view of what was coming due to her position of being propped up against a plinth of some statue that had probably been destroyed weeks ago.
She held up two fingers and pointed over her shoulder. Very gently, not to spook them, Korra turned her head, seeing that the two soldiers who had just executed the last remaining Soviets had stopped for a smoke. One of them was half obscured by the statue, the other was in full view, but they were both standing with their backs to the women.
The other woman made a few gestures, and even though Korra had trouble interpreting them, they did sink in: they were going to kill those two Nazis.
Korra didn't have any weapons; she didn't get to pick one up, and her comrades had run out of ammo making their last stand to defend this square. Bare hands it is. She saw the other woman draw a knife out of her boot, and she snuck around the remains of the statue, so Korra decided to take the one on the right.
Sneaking up to him very slowly, keeping her head down, she looked left, seeing the other woman give her a single nod, and this was her cue: Korra wrapped her arm around his neck, falling on her back in an effort to choke him. He was strong, but so was Korra, and this struggle would have lasted some considerable time, had it not been for the other woman coming out of nowhere, ramming the knife right in his chest. Korra held him for a short while longer, but it quickly became apparent that he was dead. "Thanks," she said.
-"Don't mention it," was the dry reply. "You're Korra Volonova, right?"
"Yeah, who's asking?"
-"Sergeant Asami Sato. Now take your pick: rifle or machine pistol," she said, gesturing to the dead Nazis.
Korra looked down, seeing that one of them was armed with an MP-40, the other with a scoped Kar98k. "I'll take the rifle, I'm a pretty good shot at a distance." It was heavier than she was expecting, but nothing unmanageable. She went through the soldier's pockets, taking his ammo, his sidearm, and joy of joys, found a nearly full pack of cigarettes in his chest pocket.
After helping themselves to the German weapons, Asami spoke up. "Let's go, we have a war to win."
Korra's eyes grew wide. "You're joking, right? There are half a million Nazis out there, how the hell are the two of us supposed to bring them down?"
-"You have any better suggestions?"
"Regroup with the armies on the east bank, mount a counter-offensive from there, it's our best..." Korra wasn't allowed to finish, because Asami roughly shoved her against a wall.
"You listen to me, soldier," she spat. "I outrank you, and right now, we are the best chance the motherland has against these fascist pigs. We do the only thing we can do to slow them down: bite the head off the snake. Comrade Stalin doesn't take kindly to desertion, and if we go back to the east bank, we'll be executed. So we either go west, and we'll likely die as heroes, or we go east, and we'll certainly die as traitors."
Korra didn't know what to say, as she realized that the sergeant was most likely right. "Okay," she softly agreed and pulled the bolt of her rifle halfway back, doing a brass-check. It was loaded. "Whereto, sergeant?"
She thought for a moment. "There's an SS colonel called Maximillian Schwartz, he's the one who orchestrated the massacre. I've been pushing for weeks to go after him with a small team, but no one would listen to me. And now I'm the one calling the shots, so we are going to do it, both for our comrades and for Mother Russia."
"Certainty of death, small chance of success..." Korra sighed, and a slight smile appeared on her face. "What are we waiting for?" Together, they started making their way to the center of the city, where most buildings were still standing. The women were quiet, as there was the chance of being spotted by Nazi patrols at every turn, but they made it to their first target without running into any trouble: a communications post.
They chose their position, which was a building on the opposite side of the street. From here, Korra and Asami had a good view of the post and were able to pick their targets. They were lying behind a pile of rubble, something that probably once was the roof but had come crashing down onto the floor below. "What do you think?" Korra asked.
-"Well, no way we can take out all the guards. I count 12 on the ground, an MG42 in the window on the second floor, and a sniper on the roof. But as soon as we fire the first shot, those numbers will triple within the minute." Asami thought, trying to come up with something clever. "Can you disable the transmission towers from here?"
Korra looked through her scope, seeing two wooden poles on the roof of the building, a couple of wires stretching between them. If she would shoot the point where they all attached, it would disable their ability to communicate long-range. "It's a small target, but it should be doable. Say about those fascist pigs what you want, they do make good weapons. Two things though: when I fire, we should be out of here immediately, and it's only going to knock it out briefly. They can probably fix it in an hour or two."
Asami's reply was a non-committal shrug. "So be it, if we can't get Schwartz within that time, it's going to be over anyway." She took the stick hand grenade from her belt, unscrewing the end cap and putting her finger through the loop. "Okay, take aim. I'm going to toss this grenade to cover for the sound of your shot. Once I pull the cord, you have five seconds. Ready?"
It wasn't a bad plan, to create a diversion. Korra aimed at one of the poles, steadying her breath and setting the scope to what she roughly thought the distance to be, at about 100 meters. "Ready," she said.
-"Fire in 5..." Asami pulled the cord, setting the timer in motion, "4, 3, 2, 1, now!"
Korra pulled the trigger, and at exactly the same time, she heard the grenade go off somewhere on the other side of the street. All German soldiers looked in their direction, including the sniper, which was the one she was really worried about. They ducked back behind their pile of rubble, invisible from the street. "Keep your head down, and follow me," the sergeant said, and she crawled away, making sure to stay out of the line of sight.
Korra followed suit, knowing that they'd be dead otherwise. They made their way over to the far side of the building, where there were stairs that were still intact.
The two women quietly made their way down to the street, where Korra knew it would be half an hour before they could make the German command post in the center of the city. Even though it was their land, and not the Nazis', they held this side of the river occupied, and so Korra and her sergeant were in enemy territory by all possible measures.
This also gave Korra the room she needed to take a look at the sheer destruction done to the city. Almost every building was destroyed to some extent, some completely, some just riddled with bullet holes.
After a while, Asami ushered them inside one that was still relatively intact when she spotted a patrol a little way up the road. "Do you see them? Four man-patrol, one dog."
"I see them," Korra muttered. Truth be told, she'd want nothing more than to just kill them right now, but that would be suicide. The only advantage they had was the element of surprise. "Do we sneak past them?"
-"Risky with the dog. You take that and work your way from left to right. I'll work the other way."
Korra took aim, knowing that she should feel bad for killing an animal like this, but it was either that or get killed herself. Neither option was pleasant, but this was the one where she got to live. "Target in my sight."
-"Fire when ready."
With a deep breath, she pulled the trigger, and the dog fell down dead before it could even move. Asami started shooting too, and by the time Korra had loaded another bullet into her rifle, all four of the Germans were down. They held their position for a few more moments to see if more Germans would come out, but none came.
They came out of their hiding place, and Korra poked one of the Nazis with her rifle, to which he let out a gurgle. He definitely wasn't dead. With a bitter look on her face, Asami nodded. "Do it."
Korra knelt down and took the knife from his belt. Blut und Ehre the inscription read. "How fitting," she chuckled. Slowly, she pushed the knife through his ribs and into his heart, where she felt the warmth of his blood spilling over her hand. When he did stop moving, she wiped her hand on his uniform and tucked the knife in her own belt. "You never know when it might come in handy," she commented.
-"True," Asami agreed. "Feel better now?"
"Well, we gave these four pigs what they deserved, but they aren't what we're here for. Where's the command post?"
-"Right this way."
The sergeant led them into a building, up two flights of stairs, and to a room overlooking a large square. There were at least four halftracks and one heavy tank on the square, not to mention plenty of soldiers. Going through would be suicide. On the far side, this heavy defense was obvious: one old building was adorned with red Nazi banners with swastikas in them. It was still mostly intact, and a fortress itself. "How do we get Schwartz out here?" Korra asked.
-"Patience. He'll come out, because he goes on an inspection of the troops every day at noon. He never misses a day, and that's when we take him out. When we do, all guns will be on us, so we'll have to make a run for it immediately."
It really was a waiting game, and a very tense one at that. If they were spotted before they could take the shot, it would be over. They also needed him to come out before the communication post was fully repaired, because that was hindering them.
And their patience was rewarded. The black uniform and big hat was a dead giveaway, and Korra smiled. He might as well have painted a target on his back. "Distance?"
Korra made some final adjustments on her rifle, knowing that she had only one shot. Every fiber of her being was against pulling the trigger, because it would likely be the death of her, but she had to do it. And when he was out in the open for a moment, she squeezed.
The shot was loud, and the bullet hung in the air longer than she wanted, but it was a hit. Straight to the chest, and Schwartz went down immediately.
Asami started laughing out loud. "Great shot!" She wanted to celebrate further, but was cut off when the machine guns opened fire at their position. "Fuck! Let's go!"
They got very lucky as they were running towards the back of the building: there was a canal there. It wasn't wide, and it probably wasn't even deep, but it was their best chance right now. Without hesitation, they both jumped, landing in the slow moving water. It was the softest landing they could hope for, which was good enough for now.
They swam for a while, until Asami gestured for them to drag themselves ashore. Korra laid there in the sand for a moment and laughed. "We did it, Asami. We fucking did it."
-"Korra," the sergeant said, only her voice wasn't as happy as Korra had expected, so she looked up. Asami was clutching her stomach, and when she opened her hand, revealed that it was red with her own blood.
"Fuck," Korra swore and moved to help her. Neither of them had any medical supplies, so instead, Korra ripped the hem of her shirt, pressing it against the wound. She'd been hit by the machine guns, even if it was only once. That was a big problem, though. "Come on, we need to get you off this bank." Korra hoisted the sergeant half on her shoulder so she wouldn't have to walk entirely under her own power and got them out of there.
They made their way to an apartment building that still looked intact from the outside. "This one looks pretty good." Korra poked her rifle around the corner, seeing that it was clear. It was a simple apartment, though it had been burned from the inside. There wasn't any furniture in it, but that just meant that no one would think to look for them in there. Gently, Korra sat Asami down in the corner and tried taking a look at the wound, but she waved this off.
-"It's too late, Korra," she said, though clearly with some difficulty. "I've done my job, and now I'm giving you another one..."
"No! You can't die here!"
Asami smiled, and for the first time, Korra realized how beautiful she truly was. "I'm going to. Nothing you can do is going to stop that." She reached behind her own neck and pulled a small necklace from it, with a small half cog as a pendant. "This was my mother's, given to her by my father. They're both dead now, and I'm the only one left of my family. Take this. Take this to Berlin, so that when you win the war, you can tell those fascist pigs that they lost the war right here in Stalingrad. That you are there to avenge our comrades."
Korra felt her eyes tear up. How could it be that the sergeant, who was so rock-hard, who pushed her to do the impossible, and then did it, was now dying in her arms?
But she also knew that Asami was right. Her medical knowledge and supplies were far too limited to do something about this now. With shaking hands, she reached out, taking the necklace from her. "I promise," she said.
-"Win the war, Korra," she said with increasing strain on her broken body. "That is... my last..." But before she could finish the sentence, she stopped, falling back against the wall she was leaning up to.
A tear rolled down Korra's cheek, and she clenched her fist around the pendant. "I will." She closed Asami's eyes, taking one last look into the beautiful deep greens, before moving away. She made a promise, and no way in hell was she breaking it.
Three years and 2000 miles later, now Captain Korra was standing on top of the Reichstag, next to the Red Banner. She took out the necklace from her uniform, having worn it all throughout the war. It had kept her safe, and knowing that her brief encounter with the driven, beautiful, and amazing sergeant had changed her life forever was amazing. "This one was for you, Asami."
Aww, I know you wouldn't want it to end like this, but not every story can have a happy ending. Bummer.
Quick few historical notes: yes, women were allowed in the Red Army during WWII, it just wasn't very common. Yes, there was a desperate shortage of weapons in the early stages of the war for that same Red Army, leading to Stalin saying that the soldiers should just share their weapons. Naturally, this made them cannon fodder. The people I mention here are all fictional, nothing like this happened, I've taken most of it from Call of Duty: World at War, the mission "Vendetta", which is far and away the best one and the one I named this short story after. Lastly, yes of course I know they're supposed to speak Russian, but I don't speak Russian, which makes that difficult for me to write.
Lastly: Happy Korrasamiversary, everyone!
|Korra's Recovery • The Road to Nowhere Special • Soldier's Eyes - Part 1 • Inked • Smokin' • For Those About To Rock • Soldier's Eyes - Part 2 • Bath Time • Gym Buddies • The New TA • Moving Out, Moving On • Earning Her Spurs • Swimming in the Rain • A Drink For Free • Insider • How I Got to Memphis • What Happens In Vegas... • Vendetta • The Snow Storm • Stays in Vegas... • Saturday • Public Transport • The Big Day • The Fighter • Lights, Camera, Action • What Happens In College... • Small-Block V8 • ... Or Maybe Not • Spur of the Moment • The Suit Makes the Woman|
|Tickets • As Tough As You Are • The Compound • Was It Worth It? • Coffee to Go • Best Hangover Ever • Best Hangover Ever 2|
|My Other Works|
|The Divided Republic • Team Player • All Are Equal • The Callgirl • Who We Are • She's a Pirate • Where Do We Start?|
For the collective works of the author, go here.