Chapter 41

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A Toast to Mr. Pollard

The chapter begins with Cayce Pollard getting ready for dinner with Volkov, Parkaboy, Bigend, Boone and others. When they got to the place, Volkov had to say goodbye and three of his security people stayed. They tell Cayce that they have been keeping track of her and her father ever since she made that post in F:F:F regarding the maker being connected to the Russian Mafia. Volkov’s people explain to her that they have followed Win Pollard on his last day on earth and that they have records of him. At the end of the dinner, Wiktor proposes a toast for Win Pollard, saying:

"Men like Wingrove Pollard, my friends, through their long and determined defense of freedom, enabled men like Andrei Volkov to come at last to the fore, in free competition with other free men. Without men like Wingrove Pollard, Andrei Volkov might languish today in some prison of the Soviet state. To Wingrove Pollard."

At the beginning of the chapter, Cayce and Parkaboy were still speculating on what drug Dorotea made Cayce take. Rohypnol was Parkaboy's primary suspicion.

Rohypnol (flunitrazepam), most commonly known as a date-rape drug, continues to be abused among teenagers and young adults, usually at raves and nightclubs. The drug remains readily available, mainly through pharmaceutical operators located in Mexico, especially Tijuana.

As they enter the room where the dinner was set, Cayce describes it as "an oval, its windows set between canted concrete uprights. The ceiling vaults determinedly toward the front of the building, to reach a mural depicting the world, Eurasia front and center, bracketed by heroic wheat sheaves erupting with nose cones and Sputniks, colors faded from their original brightness, like an old globe discovered in a hot dusty room above a high school gymnasium."

Sputniks are any of a series of Soviet satellites sent into Earth orbit, especially the first, launched October 4, 1957.
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The Systema, or the Russian martial art. It is designed to be highly adaptive and practical, training using drills and sparring instead of set kata. It focuses mainly on controlling the six body levers (elbows, neck, knees, waist, ankles, and shoulders) through pressure point application, striking and weapon applications. Systema is often advertised as being a martial art employed by some Russian Spetsnaz units.

Spetsnaz or Voiska Spetsialnogo Naznachenia stands for the Russian Special Forces. Within this highly acclaimed military organization, there are a few Special Operations Units used in the highest risk missions. The soldiers that made up these units went through extremely intense training in all three levels of human capacities: the physical, the psychological, and the psychic. They became true masters of the traditional style of fighting, while continuously enhancing its elements in covert military operations and bodyguarding of top government and military personnel.

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Bigend mentions that Spetsnaz has its formal basis in Cossack dancing.
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I think that this chapter is an essential part of the novel, as here, Cayce begins to accept that Win, her father, is really gone. Although she will never see him again, the fact that Wiktor made a point to acknowledge what Win has done for others seemed enough for Cayce to accept that Win was really gone and that she can stop speculating about his death.

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