MIdnight in MOSCVA

From the Story Arc: K MOCKBY

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

Next Story in the Arc: Giving Notice by Ursa Minor (Tuesday, August 24, 2004)

(posted Friday, August 20, 2004)

Viktor has mapped out the route for me in a few minutes… must be near one o' his old haunts. I’m speedin' through part of Moscow that could be Kings Row if not for the lack of gangs on the street at any one time. I'm there in almost the amount of time it took him to draw the thing up. I take a quick look around the outside… make sure we ain't walkin' into a trap here. A few cameras… no trip wires… no motion sensors… pretty low-key set-up for a base… maybe Vik and Jad were right. It might be nothing more than a front or a storehouse… not a base at all.


I duck inside and give it a quick run-through. Internal security is practically non-existent. Nothing to indicate this is anything but a recently abandoned office. Even the rats haven’t had a chance to move in yet.  I find the file storage room and radio Vik to pop in and get to translatin'.


There’s a hiss and then Vik steps out of a dark corner in the office. He doesn't say a thing… just starts runnin' through file after file… every now and then tosses one on the desk. I’m grabbin’ digitals of every one of 'em. Doin' our best to not leave a trace. Then the bottom falls out…


It doesn’t matter if it's low-rent industrial in Moscow or a jeweler in the Canyon, alarms all sound the same. It's the loudest damn sound you’ll ever hear if you’re on a job. Both of us freeze for just a second… just enough time for a single shot to go off. I fly over the desk, grabbin' the files. And Vik? Vik is lightnin'. Before I even leave the ground a metal file cabinet is flyin' right at the single rent-a-cop in the doorway. No idea if he survived or not…


...I’m callin' for evac by the time I hit the ground…


-----


"JESUS CHRIST, KOS! Do you ever know what ‘all clear’ means?!?"… Bear's on me as soon a she hears what happened. "We're supposed to be in and out without a trace!... do alarms and gunshots sound any-goddamn-where close to 'without a trace'?!? Why don't you just start throwin'…"


"That is enough, Ursa. He was careless, but you know he would never…"


"He is fine, if any of you are concerned. There was no serious damage from the…" as Jadwiga finished checking the wound Vik had taken.


"Of course he's FINE! Viktor hasn’t had to worry about a pistol since they invented the damn things!"


"Ursa, That’s not…"


"I KNOW, Vik! That's NOT the point! What if it had been one of WC's goons there? What if it was a trap and not some cheap night-cop who had a twitchy bladder?!?"


"That will be quite enough, Ursa. Each of you has a great deal of latitude in how you perform your duties… each of you. We have all made mistakes before and we must…" whatever Vik said next was drowned out by the door slammin' as Bear stormed out of the hotel room.


"Kostyak"


"I know Boss…"


-----


"Viktor, I have him on tranquilizers in the next room… he will be out for a few hours but sleep is not the problem..."


"I know Soviette. There are deeper issues than…"


"He will listen to you, Viktor… they all will."


"I am aware of the problem, Soviette. He is a grown man and must walk his own path. I cannot travel this path for him - else it becomes mine. When, or if, he falls we will be there."


"What if…<sigh>… fine, Viktor… it is your choice. Hand me those files… with Kostyak out and Ursa anywhere else, this will be one of the few times that I can study them uninterrupted."



"Do you know what has happened to them? Do the files say what was being done to them?"


"Viktor, there are literally years of experiments and tests in these files. I have not even gotten to the hypothesis and conjecture portion on either of them. There are weeks of study involved here, minimum. I am not looking for a cure or a cause here… I am searching for a trail. My skill as a researcher is much more valuable right now than my talent for the scientific fields."


"And have those skills served you well at this time?"


"No Viktor, dear. Scientific prodigies are chosen merely for how they look in mini-skirts. Actually, I think I have found a great deal… the most recent files mention a medical facility in Switzerland. It does not give a specific location and I have grave doubts that it would be found on any map we might turn up…"


"But, someone who has known Vany... Workers' Champion for over a century might know where to begin…"


"Exactly. There is also a name that appears with alarming frequency… "M. Petrenko". Is the name familiar to you?"


"Nyet.  It is not."


"I was afraid of that. Viktor, there is a lot of money required for these experiments… A great deal. I was working on my thesis at a government facility around the time some of this work took place. We were understaffed, of course, so it was fairly standard for the students to handle some of the clerical work. I saw many invoices and even the average students could have made a good guess as to how much funding was finding its way to our mid-sized facility. Our annual budget would not have covered more than a single experiment of this type. There are dozens here, Viktor. Dozens. There is something very large behind this."


"I will retrieve Ursa."


"Good, she can 'juice' Kostyak right into his breakdown. That should keep us right on track."


"Your sarcasm is not necessary, Soviette. We must get to Switzerland with all due haste.  You do agree?"


"… of course, Viktor."