April 26, 1986
“Aмериканский,” The guard hissed, sliding open the cell door with a loud clink! while wearing a disgusted look twisted enough to upset even the most powerful of people. “выпрямись, смотри вперед. нам нужно поговорить с вами.”
Hopper peered up at the man, wincing at the sudden burst of sunlight. Being locked in these cells was hard enough with the lack of oxygen, let alone light. Among the many things, the Russians did not particularly care about.
“по-русски?” Hopper mumbled, shielding his eyes as he did as the guard instructed, much to his dismay. “I’m afraid that won’t do, comrade. Alas, even after spending the last year in the hell hole you call ‘the motherland’ I’m not fluent enough to speak to a 6-year-old, let alone a high-ranked official. Perhaps, maybe, try 3 years from now? And perhaps send a sort of Russian-English dictionary my way, speed up the process.”
The guard snarled and lunged forward, pulling a gun from his belt before letting out another yell. A mistake on Hopper’s part, he knew, but not exactly a lie either.
“Руки в стороны!”
“Shit, fine, whatever.” Hopper cursed, standing straight and stepping away from the gun. Alas, not satisfying the guard, he also received a violent yank of the arm to outside the stall. Great way to start the morning, in his humble opinion. “Just please stop waving that thing in my face.”
The guard quickly stalked into the cell and pulled Hopper to the side, flashing out a set of handcuffs and clasping them onto his wrists. He then proceeded to walk him outside of the cell and down a large corridor.
To be honest, the place seemed even eerier than before, when he’d first been transported here. Much quieter, with the number of prisoners shrinking down with each day. One could oftentimes be heard playing out in Russian as they were dragged somewhere, followed by an even more ominous screech. No one knew where the prisoners would go until it was, well, their turn.
Hopper would never find out where the other inmates were going, though. Aside from the fact that the only human interaction he’s had for the last 10 months was between the occasional guard and on a good day, whatever hallucinations proved themselves prominent (Usually El or Joyce, though he’d be lying if he said Murray hadn’t shown up once or twice), he had heard officials shout something outside his during the selection.
“не американец.” One of them would say, opening up one of the surrounding cell doors. “Мы можем использовать его.”
God, if only showed that kind of mercy with every other situation.
“Hey, comrade, mind telling me where we’re going?” Hopper grumbled as he and the guard slipped into a less than sanitary looking elevator. “Uh.. место нахождения, где идти.”
“вопрошающий.” The guard said simply, but it made as much sense to him as whatever language they spoke in that Star Trek show El loved to watch with the party.
The memory of Dustin Henderson, likely the geekiest and weirdest of the group, showing up at the cabin with an armful of sci-fi movies, still fresh in his mind. Star Wars, E.T, Logan’s Run, they probably stayed up for 48 hours straight watching those movies.
And when Dustin excitedly offered El something made to look like Soylent Green before the ending, god, he’d never seen her run to the bathroom so quickly. (Authors note: For those who don’t know, Soylent Green turned out to be made of humans, and was seen as one of the best ways to get nutrition :) )
Shit, and how amazed she was, no matter how disturbing and sad, on how similar her story was to Firestarter. Dustin said the film did shame to the book, but that didn’t stop her, exclaiming how thrilled she was to know someone else shared similarities with herself.
Hopper smiled at the thought of El and even small-town Hawkins. For almost a second, he could pretend he was back at the cabin enjoying a steaming cup of coffee in the Lay-Z-Boy furniture as she and Mike were most definitely going against his wishes in her room. Hell, even that sounded nice right now.
But everything snapped back to reality once the guard grumbled something in Russian, instructing him to raise his hands above his head for a pat-down. Instead of being surrounded by a bunch of people who tolerated him, he was currently a prisoner of Russia whose fate was literally in the hands of a bunch of power-hungry criminals who got angry at him for gaining all their secrets at the expense of a strawberry slushie.
“Do I get a translator for all this?” Hopper questioned, wincing as another person stepped out and began to feel around his sides. Usually, he was the one administering the searches. “Перевести? Aнглийский?”
“Вы будете говорить с кем-то, кто понимает английский язык.” The guard spoke, taking out a key card and waving it in front of a scanner box.
“We will ask basic questions.” The other guard who had just pat Hopper down added in a thick, Russian accent. “If you cooperate, freedom may reach you in the future.”
The two guards proceeded to add on yet another set of shackles, this time at his feet before keying open the door. Inside lay a pull, white room with a huge (Likely two-sided) mirror with dangling fluorescent lights brighter than Hopper ever thought imaginable. In the middle lay what was essentially a medical operation table, though it was unclear on whether or not it had been used in the past.
And sitting and the table was a stern-looking man.
Broad shoulders and wearing the same puke-green uniform Hopper (and the rest of the team “Bald Eagle”, and El’s friends put it.) had been wearing when he supposedly died in the fire. The only difference was the myriad of metals and hand-embroidered patches lining his chest.
With each badge stating a different thing, the only thing Hopper can make out from the mess of Russian letters, though, was a name.
“Gospodin Borya,” Hopper said, offer a cuffed hand but receiving little more than a glare from the guards and sergeant alike.
“Am I not good enough to be your comrade? Why use such a title as ‘Gospodin’? Do you not see me as one of your American mates?” Borya spoke, instructing the guards to put Hopper into the tables other corresponding chairs. “A pity, surely. I was hoping we could go out later, grab some hamburgers and beer at the local bar and then go watch colorful explosions together, just like American mates do.”
“I take it America isn’t viewed kindly here?” Hopper gritted his teeth, annoyed at the man’s excuse of a joke.
“Hardly,” Borya laughed bitterly, though only the guards laughed along. “I mean, you and your lady friend did sabotage our multi-billion-dollar mission in Hawkins, make the leading scientist turn against us and partake in your American madness, and killed one of our most saviored men, so you can say we don’t think very highly of your nation as a whole.”
Hopper wanted more than anything to scream at this man, for waking him up at god knows what time, make unsavory jokes about him, and eventually interrogate him to pieces. Alas, though, the fact that he still was the one in control hung over him like one of the metal cinders you’d see in a cartoon. So instead, he proceeded to sit there and withstand the man’s comments.
“Why did you need me here?” Hopper mumbled, shifting uncomfortably in his chair.
Borya stopped his distasteful comments and one more looked sternly at Hopper. The clearing is throat and mumbling something in Russian, he once again proceeded to speak, only this time flatter and less light-hearted than before.
“You’re not one for jokes, I see.” Borya sneered. “Never mind then. You’re probably wondering why an American scum just as yourself would be brought here, or even kept alive for that matter.”
“That, and why I’m even here in Russia. It always seemed nice, and Diane and I almost had our honeymoon here. Granted, you also went and mucked it all up with communism among other things, but I can tell you for sure I did not bring myself here, especially-“
Hopper was suddenly cut off once an electric cattle prod was jammed into his side by one of the guards. Shutting up quickly, Hopper hastily adjusted himself and cleared his throat, giving Borya the signal to keep talking.
“Look,” Borya began, tapping his fingers against the metal table, receiving a different noise for each time. “I consider you a smart man. War combat, police chief, managed to revive a kid that wasn’t only declared dead by a mortician and embalmed but also had a funeral, and files suggest that in a past life you were a big-city homicide detective. But,”
Borya stopped drumming his fingers, moving them to his temple.
“That only scrapes the surface, I’m afraid. You took down a government laboratory, ventured deeper into the unknown than ever sought imaginable, aided in the closing of an interdimensional gateway, so clearly, you have a bit of power here.”
Borya quickly stood to his feet, throwing his chair to the side and getting closer to Hopper’s face than comfort. Reaching across the table and grabbing Hopper by the collar, Hopper couldn’t help but gasp at the sudden movement.
“Or so the media suggests.”
One of Borya’s guards ran up behind him and handed him a file with much precaution. Immediately throwing it down to the space between them, it wasn’t until Borya lunges backward and angrily pointed to the manila folder that Hopper finally felt like he could breathe.
“Do you know what this says, James? You know what this classified folder says?”
Hopper tried to resist, but words suddenly began to tumble out of his mouth before he could process anything he’d been thinking.
“Can’t say I do. I’m afraid it was Murray and Alexei who covered the Russian, sir. Me, I know little more than whatever slurs you people yell in the corridors every day, and I definitely can’t read any of it.”
Hopper hissed in protest as he once again was met with an electrifying pulse, though Borya did little more than sitting back down into his chair and lean back.
“It says ‘Американские психологические эксперименты’ or, to put it simply, ‘American Physiological Experiments’.”
Hopper stared blankly at Borya. “Do you mean MKUltra? I don’t understand, I wasn’t apart of any of those experiments, simply cleaned up what was left of it.”
Borya waved his hand in a dismissive tone and then flipped open the folder to the first page. On it, a picture of a Hawkins National Laboratory, circa 1969. “I understand you had no part in the trials, as we personally aided in the making of them.”
Hopper leaned forward to get a closer look at the file, grabbing the top sheet and turning around. Though everything was written in Russian, there were red underlines and notes strewn throughout, and on the backside a few pictures highlighting the basics of what was discussed in the paragraphs. Though many of the photographs were little more than blueprints and layouts, among them one stuck out in particular.
The photo was a picture of 4 college-aged students standing in the sickeningly familiar gowns. From right to left, each of the 4 people had a red arrow traced off of them with names, ages, and numbers.
Gloria Flowers, 23, 01
Ken Davis, 26, 02
Alice Hartwell, 22, 03
Terry Ives, 23, 04
“I don’t understand, this didn’t even take place in Hawkins. Besides, the time of these experiments, it was Vietnam, I was one of the first to get shipped off. I couldn’t have been apart of this.” Hopper said defensively, looking closer at each one of the photos.
“Oh, but that’s where you’re wrong.” Borya grinned deviously. He then proceeded to pull out another page of the file, standing up and beginning to slowly walk around the table like a predator closing in on its prey.
“Jane Ives, born in 1970, experiment 011. Daughter to Terry Ives.” He read aloud, tracing his finger on the edge of the table as he slid along. “Telekinesis opened up an interdimensional gate at age 12. Disappeared at age 12. Status: Unknown.”
Hopper shifted uncomfortably and attempted to avoid Borya’s increasing glare. “It’s just that, status unknown. I don’t know where she is and haven’t known since November ‘83. Disappeared. Brenner must have taken her back.” He lied, gritting his teeth.
Borya smirked and suddenly stopped circling. He carefully handed Hopper the file in hand and pointed and the third paragraph.
“So you didn’t adopt a 13-year-old girl in 1984? You didn’t house and feed a fugitive months prior to the adoption?” The man glinted, becoming increasingly more condescending. “Or are you lying?”
Suddenly, a girl (No older than Hopper, maybe a few years younger even) burst through the concealed room’s door in a state of dysphoria. Unlike the other guards, though, she wore a white lab coat and grease-stained scrubs, and glasses with a small chip in the frame. In addition, though, her badge was not one of any other person but instead read ‘Иностранный инженер’.
“Borya,” The girl said frantically, but possessed an American accent as opposed to a slavic one. “Что-то пошло не так в Чернобыле, и радиация распространяется. Нам нужно эвакуироваться.”
Borya turned away from Hopper and instead rushed to the attendant, grabbing the paper in hand and quickly read it over. He then shouted something to the guards, who then ran and away from the room. Soon following, Borya left Hopper and the attendant alone in the room.
“Where is he going, what’s wrong?” Hopper hissed, attempting to stand up but tumbling over due to his cuffed feet. The attend hastily walked over and helped him sit back down, careful not to get caught by any passing guards.
“There was a meltdown at Chernobyl. It could have been anything, but due to precautions were going to have to relocate the prisoners..” The girl said carefully. “Be can’t be sure.”
“So where are you taking me? And what were all those questions about Hawkin’s Lab about?”
The attendant looked as if she wanted to answer Hopper, but shoot her head instead and helped pull him to his feet. “I don’t know.,” she said, undoing the cuffs at his feet. “Just cooperate, and do as they say. I’ll see who I can reach, just stay calm.”
After undoing the lock, this girl quickly rushed out the door, but not before mumbling something about how someone will be back to collect him.
But now, instead of having any answers, Hopper was left not only to wait but with more questions than he originally started with.
Who was that girl? Why were they asking so many questions? Would someone be back to collect him?
And how come they wanted to know about El?