As the attendant gave Jeremy his ticket and the change from his thousand-ruble note, his hand brushed the cash register. A vision sprang into his head, clear as day: an employee slyly opening the till and pocketing a stack of bills.

Jeremy sighed, and pulled his glove back on. “Always something bad,” he muttered, and pushed through the turnstile into the museum proper.

Bypassing the indoor exhibits, he strolled outside, where an impressive array of armored tanks and fighting vehicles were arrayed along a semicircular path. This was Kubinka, the great tank museum of Russia and the former Soviet Union, and every vehicle here had a story to tell.

“And they’ll all be tragic, horrible, wretched things,” Jeremy muttered. Military things always were. He recalled a visit to the Smithsonian, pressing his palm against the Enola Gay and witnessing a blinding flash and ever-expanding fireball.

There was nothing for it, though. Jeremy reached into his pocket and produced a dog-eared sheaf of photocopies. An article on the top detailed the tragic fate of one Jeroen Schoenborn, accused of disabling his tank at Kursk in an act of cowardice, later tried and executed for the same. Painstaking research had led his grandson to Kubinka, where most survivors of that great battle could be found.

And he’d touch them all, regardless of the pain it’d cause, to learn the truth.

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