I guess I should start at the beginning. The name’s Lydia, Lydia Kreznof. I’m half Russian, half British. How did that happen? Well I was born in Russia, but I was raised mostly in England. I was born in 1972 in Czechoslovakia. I know Czechoslovakia isn’t in Russia, but my family was taking refuge there, and Russia was a second language taught to me growing up, so it counts. I was born to my mother, Elizabeth Beckett- Kreznof and my father, Viktor Kreznof. The first face I remember seeing though when I opened my eyes for the first time was not my mother or father, but that of my brother. Nikolai was four years older than me; born in 1968 he seemed to live during simpler times. What I mean is when you look around now-a-days you see only Russians together which I guess is pretty normal behavior, but they are not free to choose who they want to marry. Why do I bring this up? Huh, well around the time I was born a law was issued by our Russian government, it stated that no Russian man or woman could be seen with/or married to any English man or woman. It was passed because at the time Europe and Asia were having a “feud,” I use that word lightly. This of course became a problem for my family in particular. You see my mother was from London and my father was from Moscow, they met rather accidently and my father couldn’t leave without her, a love story for the ages really. My parents were currently breaking the law and of course my father had to work for the Russian government, so he came up with the idea that my mother take me to live in England with her parents and he would take Nikolai with him to Moscow. Now at the time we were taking refuge in Czechoslovakia, before I was born, trying to stay hidden from the Russians. So of course this move would only be temporary until the law went away, and besides how long could it really last.
Five years later (1977) the Russian government decided that the mass breakout of Russians and English getting together was far too many; they made their decision, it was time to do something.
Six years (1983) had gone by, and I was growing up fast. My mother and I were of course still in England, the law hadn’t ended, it had gone on longer than anyone had expected and grew in strength. My father telephoned my mother one day though and told her to come back to Czechoslovakia, he thought it safe enough to return and of course they would keep their love hidden. She was weary at first but agreed we were on the first flight back home. When we arrived home my father stood in the doorway waiting to greet us. I ran to him and he picked me up and kissed me on the cheek, “My you are getting so big!” He smiled as he sat me down to kiss my mother while I ran off to find Nikolai in the living room. I was so excited to see Nikolai and he the same. Our parents sat down beside us, happy with the decision they had made and discussed events happening in the newspaper, we were finally a happy family once again. Just when all seemed well and the day was coming to an end a knock came at our front door, I still remember it like it was yesterday. The events that followed next would stay with me forever. My father almost knew what was going on, he told Nikolai, “quickly take your sister and go to the safe spot.” Nikolai hesitant at first did what he was told; as we ran away we heard a sound that is unforgettable to any child. We hear the screams of our mother as a gunshot goes off, and shortly after another one. We knew our mother and father were gone, torn away from us, all because of some daft law. They were never told that their actions were wrong instead they learned the hard way and were shot down in cold blood. Nikolai was only 15 while I was only 11, still very young; we had no other choice but to become orphans on the street. (*Filler, skip if you want too, just describing some features.*I still remember the last day of our first week; Nikolai had gotten this crazy idea to get “street ink,” or tattoos, so we could blend in with the people who lived on the street. I remember getting an arm band below the elbow and Nikolai got a shoulder tattoo. I also decided to get an ear cuff too and let me tell you dumbest idea ever, it hurt like hell.) We knew if we were ever caught for any reason we would be thrown into an orphanage and put up for adoption and we both definitely didn’t want that, so we kept a low profile and tried not to cause any trouble. Growing up on the street I admit was different from the life I was used to, but Nikolai being my makeshift parent now was the only family I had left so I pretty much learned everything I now know from him. He taught me my manners and how to be courteous and polite to people, but at the same time the irony came when we had to steal from the local vendors for dinner.
Nine years (1992) had gone past and life on the street had become easy really. Nikolai was now 24 and I had finally reached 20, an adult. The conflict between Europe and Asia had calmed down dramatically, but the law still existed. Nikolai decided that we had lived on the street for far too long, he was always talking about moving on to bigger and better things. One day he started to tell me about a poster he had seen for new recruits in the Russian Loyalists, basically a fancy group hired by the Russian government, stationed in the British SAS. He found out that they were recruiting for helicopter pilots and he told me that was what he wanted to do. My first question though was,
“Well what could there possibly be for me in a place like that?”
“You could become a soldier, fighting on the front lines.”
He exclaimed excitedly, I gave him a blank stare,
“I don’t know how to shoot.”
“Well, then, you could become a co-pilot with me.”
He looked at me hoping I would say yes, and after a long pause I finally agreed, knowing that we had nothing else to do. The next day we stated to pack up what little we had and headed out for the nearest recruitment station, we were certainly on our way to bigger and better things.