[identity profile] hajimenoippolit.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] groznyj_grad
When it came to some questions, no answer was the clearest you could get.

It had been a misunderstanding on a basic level. Projection, that sorriest of states. Rakitin had been hearing what he wanted to hear.

Facing reality promised to make things much simpler.

It would probably break it, but, well, there you were.

At the same time as it evoked a pang of sympathy, Leshovik's affront was almost funny. Maybe you had to be used to Liadov saying those sorts of things.

"Speaking of," Rakitin said, shrugging back into his role like an old jacket, "That could exonerate Isaev in another way. Odds are low that he'd fit this bill. The blood type of the semen collected from the body is A B negative."
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Date: 2008-03-03 09:57 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nikanor-liadov.livejournal.com
"Just being flip, comrade," sighed Liadov, in vague apology. "Don't mind me. I tend toward black humor."

He shook his head.

"I was referring to any evidence that might place Isaev with you, at the scene."

Date: 2008-03-03 05:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] leshovik.livejournal.com
"At what scene?"

Leshovik stared at Liadov for a few moments, frowning.

Comprehension slowly filtered through his gaze, thin and slatted like sunrise through blinds.

"At the scene of the murder?"

Leshovik paused, taken back. He couldn't comprehend how it could this could have gotten turned around so quickly, when all he'd done was try to help out Isaev.

"Why...would I do that? And if I'd done it, why would I even say anything? I'm assuming that before this, I was completely off-scope as far as either of you were concerned. Why would I draw attention to myself?"

He looked between them.

"This isn't about me. It's about Isaev, and where he was that night, but if you want to make this about me..."

Leshovik reached under his jumpsuit and pulled out his dog tags, twisting them off and over his head.

They were not like the usual tags that most soldiers wore, the kind that were laquered and colorful, with military branch and unit logo on one side.

That side was blank, the metal dull grey, matte and non-reflective.

Black Ops, men who belonged nowhere.

On the other side, not even his code name was stamped into the metal.

Instead, his essence was enumerated in far more basic terms, as if the totality of his existence had been broken down to a mere physical description, the shell of the man. A nameless soldier marked only by gender, hair color, eye color, height, weight, blood type.

Leshovik tossed to the tags to Liadov with a slow overhand arc, easily catchable.

Stamped on the metal was his only official identity, written in military shorthand as if it were the code to his soul.

Male, blond, blue, 175cm, 70kg, O+.

Date: 2008-03-04 07:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nikanor-liadov.livejournal.com
"Not the scene of the murder," Liadov remonstrated, shaking his head, wearily. "Apparently I'm not making myself understood particularly well today."

He held the tags respectfully in his hand a moment before offering them back with a polite hand.

"I meant, it would be great if there were physical evidence that could place Isaev with you, at the scene you described- that is, Kassian Irinarhov's quarters."

Date: 2008-03-04 05:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] leshovik.livejournal.com
"Oh."

Leshovik looped his dog tags around his neck and slipped them under his jumpsuit again, clearing his throat, sheepish.

"Physical evidence," he started, wondering how he'd managed to misconstrue what the MVD man said. Did it make him look defensive, guilty? Or did it just make him look like more of a dick, ready to fight any battle, regardless if it was his or not?

He glanced at Rakitin. The pathologist's expression was neutral, non-committal. The face of professional detachment. Leshovik understood that. Rakitin probably wanted to avoid the impression of any bias.

Viktor adjusted the lay of his rifle absently, quiet for a while, thinking.

"Well...unless they've cleaned it up in the past couple days, you can probably find my cigarette butts there. Neither of them smoke, so that'll place me at the scene, at least."

Leshovik tapped his breast pocket and pulled out one the last remaining cigarettes that Lynx had given him.

"Here. It's Lynx's brand, different than what they have here on the base."

He passed the cigarette to Liadov.

"I want that back," he added. Christ, he should probably just quit.

Leshovk frowned, thinking of something.

"And..."

He hesitated, wondering if he was about to make things better or worse, but he guessed there was nothing for it.

"At one point, Isaev punched the wall. Shattered the plaster, split his knuckles and bled like a shot to the carotid. I don't know if you can tell how old the blood is, but that would place him there."

Date: 2008-03-05 04:10 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nikanor-liadov.livejournal.com
Liadov shook his head, hands open.

"I don't have his file."

He'd never requisitioned it, so if Polya hadn't, then they didn't have it.

"Did you look under your comic books?"

In truth, he hadn't requested Isaev's file because he'd never seriously intended to keep him as a suspect.

Nika hesitated, but his investigative nature refused to let the question lie.

"Isaev punched the wall? Was it cheerful bravado? Or was he angry? At you? Did you have words?"

Date: 2008-03-05 06:31 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nikanor-liadov.livejournal.com
"It pains me to break your heart, but I'm not sure you're man enough for my mother," murmured Liadov blithely. "She likes a few CCs in her ride."

Nika frowned.

"Haul him in if you want him. I'm sure he'll give it up for you."

He paused.

"Easier than my mother would, anyway."

Date: 2008-03-05 10:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] leshovik.livejournal.com
Leshovik smirked as he listened to the investigators' banter.

He understood that kind of humor, friendly insults traded between comrades. There was probably less actual tension underpinning their interactions than he'd thought.

Viktor looked at Liadov, hesitating a moment.

"He was angry, but it was Isaev and Irinarhov that were having words."

He shrugged, keeping his manner casual. Granted, those words were over him, but Viktor really didn't want to go into detail. Knowing Liadov's particular predilections was bad enough.

"They worked it out, though," he added.

Date: 2008-03-07 07:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] leshovik.livejournal.com
"No, not at all," Leshovik said, shaking his head vehemently.

He looked at Rakitin with an indignant gaze.

There were times when he expected things would go easy, like problems could be solved with a single bullet. Aryol was fond to telling him that snipers were patient, but sometimes Leshovik didn't feel like it.

"Come on, Lieutenant. I'm telling you the truth. They weren't fighting over killing - "

Viktor gestured at the corpse.

"Their argument was...personal. But it had nothing to do with any killing."

He paused and looked between Liadov and Rakitin.

"Get Isaev in here immediately, as in right this minute? Don't you have any other suspects?"

Date: 2008-03-07 08:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nikanor-liadov.livejournal.com
Liadov shrugged, raising his hands, conciliatory.

"The sooner we get him in, the sooner he'll be exonerated through type."

He crossed his arms, shaking his head.

"What's the reported incidence of that blood group, anyway?" he said, glancing at Rakitin, snorting and flipping his hair out of his eyes. "Two percent in the general population? What are the odds?"

He paused, suddenly, and in the next moment his fingers raised involuntarily to rest on his breast pocket where Ilarion Isaev's old MVD identification card sat quietly, distilling the essence of a man down to fundamentals and text.

Sat damningly.

A strange sense of foreboding came over him. Memory, slightly mistrusted.

Lasha's blood type was on that card. And if he remembered correctly-

But that didn't necessarily mean-

Date: 2008-03-07 04:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] leshovik.livejournal.com
"All right, all right," Leshovik said, mollified.

He shifted, adjusting his rifle, glancing toward the door but making no move to leave yet.

"Mind if I stick around?"

Viktor looked at Liadov. He guessed it was the major's call, as the ranking officer.

"I'll keep my mouth shut, stay out of the way."

Date: 2008-03-07 05:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nikanor-liadov.livejournal.com
Liadov flashed back to reality, casually reaching into his pocket and pulling out the familiar square of hard laminate. His own ID badge, and behind it, Ilarion's outdated one.

"Not at all, Specialist," Nika said, in a tone that was slightly overmild. "Make yourself at home. I'm sure Isaev will appreciate seeing a friendly face."

He separated the two with deft fingers, turning the second card over and glancing at it, swiftly and carelessly, as if it were an unrelated sub-thought, and he was checking to be sure he had all his credentials on him, or if he'd chanced to feel the objects at random, and had forgotten what he'd left in his pocket.

His face remained impassive, but grimness fought hard for purchase on his lips.

He slid the cards back into place in their slim leather housing and slipped them back into his breast pocket, buttoning the flap.

A smile broke over his features, far too whimsical.

"Well," he said. "Polya, it's your game here, and I'm hardly an impartial party-"

As if impartiality had ever mattered to the MVD, apart from keeping up appearances.

"So why don't you CODEC him and ask him to dance. I'm sure Irinarhov has his coordinates."

Let's not involve Ocelot for the moment.

Date: 2008-03-07 10:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] capt-kasya.livejournal.com
"123.77," Kassian said, without having to think. He knew it as well as he knew his own.

He paused.

"And...that's good."

Kassian knew that his testimony regarding Isaev's whereabouts had given them only a temporary reprieve. His story was too thin, too easily perforated, too vulnerable to being disproven. Even if he had been telling the truth, it was too easy to call his motives into question.

He nodded to Rakitin, solemn, and grateful.

"Thank you, Lieutenant. I appreciate knowing that."

Date: 2008-03-07 11:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] capt-kasya.livejournal.com
"I see," Kassian said, after a moment.

His expression shaded to neutrality.

He debated briefly about asking, pressing for details, but he could easily guess what had happened. Vitya. He hadn't asked Vitya what he wanted to speak to the MENTs about, and now, it was obvious.

Instinct told him to commit to nothing, though showing no reaction could be just as damning. Rakitin wasn't quite looking him in the eye.

He weighed his words a moment, wondering how much or little it was safe to say.

"And if it doesn't go well?" he asked, quietly.

Date: 2008-03-08 09:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] capt-kasya.livejournal.com
Kassian was silent for a few moments, then let his gaze drop away. He regarded the ground stoically, eyes sweeping the pattern of the tile as if searching for something.

There wasn't much he could say about the fact he'd lied, and the fact that Vitya must have just marched in there and told the truth, and now the two stories didn't match up.

Kassian noticed that Rakitin wasn't confronting him directly about it, though the pathologist could have. He wondered what that meant.

"Lieutenant," Kassian said, finally.

He looked up.

"I don't know if this will make sense to you, but...sometimes, when you're lining up a shot, time seems to slow, and you know - "

Kassian hesitated, reflexively adjusting his rifle, as if to reassure himself it was still there.

"You know what's going to happen. More than just that you'll hit the target, but how. Where the bullet hits. How the blood sprays. How the body falls. Like you've already seen it."

He pressed his lips together, and looked down again.

"Like there's a connection that exists out of time, gives you insight you couldn't have otherwise."

Kassian looked up again, meeting Rakitin's gaze, and his regard was zeroed as steady as a rifle.

"I don't know if that sounds crazy, but the point is...sometimes there are things you know with absolute certainty, but are facts only to you."

He paused.

"He didn't do it, Lieutenant."

Date: 2008-03-09 06:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] capt-kasya.livejournal.com
"No," Kassian said, quietly. "I'm the one who's lucky."

It was something he knew instinctively, but rarely felt so keenly.

He regarded Lieutenant Rakitin for a few moments.

"I know you'll be fair, and keep an open mind."

Kassian had not known the pathologist long, but from what he'd seen, Rakitin acted from the heart, taking what he saw at face value, trusting because it was his nature. Kassian remembered the time they had gone to the Cobra hangar, and how Rakitin had simply walked up to the door and opened it, then stuck his head inside, without hesitation.

That was the kind of man who didn't let small and nameless fears prejudice his thinking.

Kassian nodded to Rakitin, his gaze kind, and solemn.

"Thank you, Lieutenant."
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