Into Russia

From the Story Arc: K MOCKBY

Previous Story in the Arc: Puddle Jumping by Ursa Minor (Wednesday, August 18, 2004)

Next Story in the Arc: Nightmare At 30,000 Feet by Soviette (Thursday, August 19, 2004)

(posted Wednesday, August 18, 2004)

We were headed to a private airstrip ‘bout an hour outside of Moscow. Least I hope it is… Viktor set all this up after I told him how I wanted to do it. Jadwiga wanted to fly on her own to Boston and I was hopin’ that splittin’ us up starts to stretch WC’s resources thin enough so that Vik can do what he needs to before we get there. Don’t know if it’s gonna work but when he and I talked it out it seemed like our best shot. Eventually, we decided to buy multiple reservations and hired actors to travel as some of us. Whatever we can do, y’know.


 


It’s just me and Bear on the little puddle jumper once we land in France… she’s kinda pissed about the whole thing, yellin’ at me about how ever since she saw a WWII documentary on it, she wanted to fly in one “… EXACTLY LIKE THIS!” it was all I could do to keep from grinnin’. It was like back home before all this happened and probably the only time I’ve smiled since… well… since she lit a fire under us to set out on this thing. We start getting airborne. I hadn’t said a thing to her about this, it’s kinda stupid but… this is my first time flyin’. Vik said it wouldn’t be bad… but he’s a goddamned teleporter! Course it not bad for him!


 


Anyway, we’re in the air over France (I think) and it really starts to hit me… What am I takin’ Bear into? Pack might’ve died on accounta the fact that I wanted to make sure all of us got there safe… Jadwiga? Don’t really know why she’s on this thing… It damn sure ain’t because I asked her… just sorta set her jaw and told me she was comin’… still. What’s worse is Bear has stopped complainin’… talkin’ entirely… just pretty much shut up and I’m sittin’ over here goin’ through every damn thing that can and has gone wrong so far. It just sits like a pit cuz I figure Vik and I are… no… not Vik… this ain’t his fault, just me. I’m takin’ her to her death. She breaks out a bottle o’ Jack and starts goadin’ me to have a few with her… she gives me that kinda cockeyed smirk o’ hers and pretty much decide to stop thinkin’ with my brain. Turns out this was yet another mistake. The more I started downin’, the more I kept focusin’ on how guilty I felt ‘bout the whole thing… shouldn’t have let Pack go here in the first place… should’ve pushed Vik to hospitalize her so we could figure out what was wrong… Bear throws out a couple of words I can’t even remember hearin’ in the Skulls ‘bout Saviour and that pretty much sets me off again… don’t remember much after that… pretty sure I made an ass outta myself. Still hadn’t told her I quit… hope she didn’t find out last night.


 


I wake up with the worst hangover I can remember and Bear’s voice cuts like ice… she ain’t the least bit happy. Best thing for me is if she got just as ripped as I did, but that look on her face says that didn’t happen. It’s good to know I’ve managed to really screw that up. We grab a ride into Moscow. We still got a few hours to kill and she tells me in no uncertain terms that I will wash that damn uniform or that hangover will be the least of my worries… had no idea I hadn’t changed already. Anyway, trashed the damn thing. Think it mighta been the first time any of ‘em have seen me without the mask on. We sit around for a bit and wait for Jadwiga. Not really talkin’.


 


When Jadwiga gets there she has this look on her face that says she’s about 2 seconds away from giving me this lecture on drinking on the mission but then decides that since I was havin’ such a great time with the drums in my head, she’d just leave me to that. She looks like somethin’ is buggin’ her. I figure it’s just the mission so I leave her alone with it. She just seems to be watchin’ Bear and I… she’s not grim or anything. I don’t know… I barely notice the fact that either of ‘em are in the room cuz I’m so wrapped up in my own crap right now, much less what’s goin’ on with her.


 


I start to ask her about my reports on Moj… y’know, was I even in the ballpark, that kinda thing, when Viktor gets there. He looks every bit of a couple of centuries old. Jadwiga starts right in on him in Russian. Musta been a load of questions since he kept throwin’ his two cents in. Damn gruntin’ language sounds like a row of out-a-tune diesel engines crankin’ next door and it sounds even odder when you’re hearin’ it through the echo chamber in my head. Bear juices me again and that turns it into a scream… should work it’s way through my system a little faster this way… GOD, I hope it does. Anyway, it seems to take a lot out of Vik to keep up with the questions and he finally puts a stop to it.


 


Vik then tells Bear and I about the last thing we ever thought we’d hear… WC is dead.


 


Hit’s like a ton o bricks. Neither of us can say a thing… I’m tryin’ to figure out what happens next when Vik starts tellin’ us how it happened. A series of explosions took him out. My first thought is Missile actually did it… he kept talking about how “10 kilos of plutonium solves a lot of problems” with that crazy kinda tone that college kids get when they find out they can get back at the guys who used ta beat ‘em up. This was when he and Vik and I were talking the night this all started. Luckily, it wasn’t a Nuke and Missile wouldn’t take the chance on WC surviving ‘gainst anything less. I start pressin’ Vik for details on Pack… was she there? Is she okay? He starts in on how he hasn’t found out… that his old contacts weren’t able to dig anything up more than a few fronts that WC had set up. He starts showin’ us what he has and we start tyin’ it together.  This was really more Viktor and Jadwiga’s bit… he ran through this stuff for years when he was in the original group and she probably has a first-hand knowledge of how this Russian maze works. Me and Bear? Ex-cons and former biker chicks tend to solve things a little differently. Besides… they tended to do this sort of thing in Russian. Bear and I just kinda sat there for a while til we decided to take a walk… let ‘em do their thing.



 


When we get back, they’ve gone about as far as they can go with what he has from his friends. A couple of solid leads point us to some sort of home for old Soviet hardasses. We start to go over our plan. I recon the place to make sure we don’t get the same treatment that WC did. When I give it the all-clear, Vik pops in… we grab whatever he picks out and Bear handles extraction back to the base. Jad stays ready… well, Jad does what she always does… she stays ready in case on of us gets into more than we can handle. Nobody really feels like waiting anymore so I get going….