Jul. 29th, 2008 08:08 pm
[identity profile]
Kassian opened his eyes.

He lay in the bunk next to Isaev, shoulder to chest, warmed by the shelter of blanket and skin. Andrei's arm, solid and weighty with reassuring muscle, curled around his waist.

It was dark in their barracks, though not dark outside.

He could see light outlining the edges of the window opposite, around the shades that he never opened. It was past sunrise, then. They had slept in.

He supposed it was all right, given they had no official duties as Ocelots today. Isaev was under technical house arrest, though he could go anywhere he wanted on base, provided he had an escort.

That job was Kassian's.

Kassian settled back, feeling Andrei's arm tighten reflexively against him.

Good work if you could get it.

There was a knock at the barracks door.

Kassian frowned.

That was unusual. If they were needed in some official capacity, CODEC was the easiest way to reach them. There was no need to waste time with a personal visit when a call would suffice. It was also the wrong time of day for social visits, invitations to poker or drinking. Not that Kassian received a lot of those.

Gently, he pulled away from Isaev's grasp and sat on the edge of the bed to pull on his jodhpurs. He reached out to brush his hand across Isaev's brow.

"Andrei. Someone's here," he murmured, getting up to answer the door.
[identity profile]
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."
[identity profile]
Aryol looked down.

He sat cross-legged, hunched over slightly, arms crossed over his thighs. His stomach hurt. Maybe he'd eaten too quickly, or too much, or maybe the dough had been too rich. He didn't know.

The major had called him sick, he remembered. It had been the night before, after he'd confessed about who Kasya was to him.

Aryol tugged idly at one of his bootlaces.

"How does something like that happen?" he asked.

It was a moment before he looked up.

He hesitated, then met the major's eyes.

"Was he born sick? Or did something bad happen to him? Or did no one ever tell him that it's wrong to kill people, and he just doesn't know it?"

Aryol looked down again. He gave his bootlace a sudden yank, and pulled the knot free.

"I mean, that would be pretty messed up, because normal people know that. Would you be able to tell it was him, if you met him, just by the way he acted? Or would he seem normal at first? Or could you look him in the eye - "

He glanced up.

"...and tell something was wrong?"
[identity profile]
They said a new day was a clean slate.

It might even be true, if you could move all the other ones piled on top to see.

As luck would have it, it was Captain Irinarhov watchfully trailing Rakitin through the courtyard to the lab this morning. Rain was falling, making visibility poor, and he was sticking close. He hadn't said a word.

Not that that was unusual. It was one of the characteristics that, in any other situation, would have tempted Polya to keep a close watch for raindrops to pass through him.

He had to accept that Irinarhov was a solid and living man, whatever might suggest otherwise.

However much easier it might have been, otherwise.

Entering the outbuilding was the sudden cessation of the pressure of rain, and the withdrawal of its noise to the distance of roof and walls. Rakitin remained by the door, shaking droplets from his hat, until it closed and dampened the rest of the sussurrus.

"Captain," Rakitin said, as the newborn silence was drawing breath. "May I have a word with you?"
[identity profile]
Andrei sat back in his chair, and regarded Lieutenant Rakitin.

Rakitin's oddly dark eyes were plaintive and accusatory- not in a hostile way, but more a quiet disbelief, informed by an awareness he probably didn't even apprehend at this point.

Isaev admired that on some level, but on another level, it irked him. He hadn't killed anyone, not this time, and this frosty little prick looked at him like he was a man-eating tiger that citizens had allowed to roam free, blithely strolling the sidewalks.

"I think we are all aware," he began, slowly, "of the kind of ethics Captain Irinarhov espouses. Most, myself included, would even count them excessive."

He let his chin tilt up, snorting slightly.

"This is a man who insists upon verbally correcting his own documented kill-count, any time the matter comes up, because he maintains that the accurate tally is actual one less than the official."

Isaev laughed, shaking his head.

"This is a man who has suffered for his morality and integrity, as I'm sure Major Liadov could attest. Out of deference and respect for that unique conscience, I omitted him from our plans concerning Borishnakov, and have no qualms about having done so. I did this, because he is a true friend, in the most classical sense- like Orestes was to Pylades."

He paused.

"He is also my superior."

Isaev's grey eyes passed over Liadov briefly, noting the studied and downcast impassivity of his face, before fixing on Rakitin once more.

"And he is telling the truth. Moreover, I do not believe that he would lie. So by conjecture, I must agree. We played cards, we drank a little, we traded stories and we bunked for the night. As is our friendly custom."

Andrei leaned forward, letting his voice go quiet, directing it at Rakitin particularly.

"You know, comrade Lieutenant, there are other reasons a man may be loath to give an alibi, despite its veracity. One of them might be trepidation of being misunderstood- that admitting to a harmless social liaison with a comrade might result in unwarranted accusations of criminal affection. One might reasonably want to shield a beloved comrade from such...tarring. Especially in the face of an MVD inquest."


Dec. 11th, 2007 10:10 pm
[identity profile]
Liadov stood at the head of a long table, in a room crowded with crimson and black, low with murmurs and rustles of wool, the clink of kalashes and AKs against buckles and buttons.

The Ocelots, en masse, assembled. And Ocelot himself, arms crossed and leaning negligently against the wall of the conference room to one side.

He didn't looked worried, but he did look guarded.

Rakitin was sitting, slightly beneath and to his right- the only one sitting, actually, with a stack of notes and a couple of illustratory vials at hand.

Liadov cleared his throat and surged right in, without preamble.

"Lieutenant Vladislaus Yamirich Borishnakov was found this morning at approximately 11 AM, or thereabouts. He was deceased."

Liadov paused. Silence answered him, uneasy.

"...There were some very interesting details present. It has come to our attention that Ocelot squad activity was responsible for some aspects of the state Lt. Borishnakov was discovered in- namely, a hazing ritual in which an Ocelot officer is 'de-initiated' upon turning in a repeatedly unsatisfactory performance."

Nika turned his head and looked squarely at Ocelot.

"Major, is that true?"

Ocelot narrowed his eyes.

"It's true," he answered, flatly, without apology.

Liadov nodded.

"What we would like to know is what was done, how the ritual proceeded, and how far it went before you called it a night, men."

His eye roamed the crowd, and fixed on the brooding face of Kolyin first. Kolyin was looking straight ahead. He stood by a taller blonder man with unusually wide-set eyes, who averted them.

Nika hadn't spotted Irinarhov yet, nor Isaev, though he hadn't looked yet, and he had a feeling they would be standing to the back of the room, as was Kasya's preference.

No matter.

He had all the time in the world.

"Would you care to elaborate on how things progressed last night, Lieutenant Kolyin?" Liadov asked, crossing his arms.
[identity profile]
Kassian stood in the alley between buildings, in sniper-mode, still and silent, waiting.

The patrol finally came in the south gate. Quieter than usual, Kassian thought. More subdued. Though he allowed that his own mood could have caused him to read into it.

Three Ocelots with Kalashnikovs in hand approached his position, angling to cross the Grad and head back to the Ocelot barracks. Though they were all balaclavaed, he knew Isaev anywhere, both from his muscular build and the eerily graceful way he moved. Semeyonev was tall, but not as tall as Isaev. Not as broad-shouldered. And while Semeyonev even had the same stealth training from the same instructor, Kassian could tell the difference between the two, even with a casual glance.

He had spent a lot of time watching Isaev, soaking in the fine details.

Kassian liked to think he knew him.

Isaev walked at the back of the formation. Kassian didn't know who the other two were. Not that it mattered.

Kassian didn't move, and he could tell they didn't see him, shadowed as he was. He waited until they passed.

Scooping up a small chunk of gravel, he weighed it against his palm, then stepped out from his hiding place and hurled the rock at the back of Isaev's head.

His aim was true.

It hit with a solid thunk he could actually hear and Isaev spun around.

Kassian let Isaev see him for a moment, then faded back into the alley.

It was more secure than CODEC, and more subtle than shooting the beret off his head.
[identity profile]
"Another without marks," Rakitin murmured. "I'll bet you anything there's enough sedative in his blood to bring down a timberwolf."

He drew back to the active center of the room like a reluctant iron filing to an inconsistent magnet. Whatever it was that Liadov and Irinarhov needed to discuss, it looked like it would wait.

Ever since the other night...both other nights...Rakitin had done his best to keep out of the way. Nika hadn't talked much to him since, any more than necessary, and he'd followed the cue and backed off.

In fact, it was the young Black Ops man, Aryol, who had approached him, with an open smile and disarming gregariousness.

At the first second Polya had frozen, the alarm of reflex in his head blaring, Nika told him. He told him, and they laughed. But logic had manned the override. He knew perfectly well that that was ridiculous, and all the reasons.

"Either our killer is well trusted, or he's got a skill for sleight of hand."

Nothing they didn't know already, but it helped to follow the old tracks, to look for the divergences that stood out.

Such as....

"This is the first time it's directly involved Major Ocelot and Major Raikov," he hazarded. "Does that mean something?"
[identity profile]
Kassian stood in the corridor of guest hall of the Main Wing, just outside Liadov's quarters.


He'd looked for Liadov in the lab outbuilding, but it had been curiously empty. No sign of him in the mess hall, either. Kassian had decided that Liadov's quarters were the last place he'd look before he gave up and just tried CODEC, though he doubted Liadov would be here. It was almost 1200 hours, and even though Liadov had had a lot to drink the night before, he couldn't still be sleeping, Kassian thought. Still, he wasn't sure.

Part of him almost hoped that Liadov wouldn't be inside, but then again, this was important.

Outwardly, Kassian looked as calm and composed as always, he knew, but inwardly, he felt off-balance, shifted from his center like a broken scope. If he lifted his rifle, his hands would be steady, but the late-morning remnants of a hangover pulled at his brow. Earlier in the morning, his headache had almost faded, but now it was back, pounding sullenly behind his eyes.

Better that than jangled nerves, though.

Kassian frowned, and knocked on the door, a little more forcefully than he intended.

He thought he heard a noise from within, but there was no immediate answer.

Kassian knocked again.

"Liadov? You in there? I need to talk to you."
[identity profile]
The storm that blew in off the mountain in the black of night left a thick blanket of snow in the yard. On the buildings, it clung to eaves and window ledges, softened the edges of the Grad and made the East Wing look like a Lebkuchen Haus.

From the window of his office, Johann watched the soldiers in ribbon candy uniforms and licorice jackboots diligently work to uncover the spice drop trucks from the powdered sugar snow. He smiled grimly, sipped the last of his cognac, and turned from the window.

Those licorice boots, he thought ruefully to himself, were best for licking.

When news of an attempt on Volgin’s life reached him, the very first thing he did was descend the stairs into the dank catacombs under Groznyj, disable the alarms, and touch the door of the vault, just to be sure it was still there. Lacking the codes and combinations and keys, it was the best he could do, sliding his mangled hand across the dial of the combination lock as gentle as a lover’s touch. The micro film slumbered peacefully in the darkness, secured by three feet of solid steel from every side, and the best security system in all of Russia.

Then, he breathed a sigh of relief.

The journey. He went out in the snow storm just to be sure. Poison. He got the distinct impression that he was not supposed to know, but it was his job to know things.

His expression softened as his eyes lingered over the cat that slept on the corner of his desk, the only thing that remained for him that was truly his own. Lethargically, he trailed his fingers through her silken fur, and she rumbled at being disturbed.

“Motte,” he mumbled, “du hast werden fett.”

It would have been a good day, he told himself. Could have. It had potential. The storm had purged the moisture from the air, and his bad hip was feeling alright. Slowly, the pain in his heart receded as well, gradually. The memory of Molokov was sweet and golden and distant. It shimmered like dewdrops caught in a spider web in the wee hours of dawn.

Something else nagged at his psyche though, and ruined his day vicariously. He checked every pocket of very pair of jodhpurs. He checked his bedside table, and found nothing in the carved mahogany drawer. The pockets of his coats turned up nothing, neither wool greatcoat nor white wolfskin.

The keys to his 9-11 Porsche, his pride and joy, imported straight from the heart of the Vatterland had vanished into thin air.

Motte had not batted them under the liquor cabinet. They weren’t in his desk drawer, or the filing cabinet, or on the reading desk in his private quarters, or even in the refrigerator.

They were simply gone, as though stolen right out from under his nose and the red rocket sat in the steel shipping container, cold and still.

As he stepped into the hallway and closed the office door behind him, he tried to recall everywhere he had been on the last day he had them. First, the mess hall, but the cooks said they had found nothing. Then, it was the office of Lydia Solovyeva in the administrative building, to clear up some questions regarding personnel files. Back to his office to phone in the month’s supply request list from the Cobra Unit.

That, he remembered clearly. Someone had thought it would be funny to scribble, ‘a horse’ at the very bottom of the paper.

The hornet keeper had turned up not soon after that, with the news of a potential witness, and Krauss immediately went to fetch the investigators. Perhaps he dropped his keys in their laboratory, or worse yet, in the hangar that housed giant hornets.

Worse still, maybe they were in the Fury’s laboratory. He found the cosmonaut aloof and friendly that day, contrary to what the Pain had suggested.

Following a rather pleasant conversation with the pyromaniac, he went to a private dinner with a certain Lieutenant Anton Deviatov and after the slivovic everything got all fuzzy. He distinctly remembered that someone had been in a leather skirt and stockings, but couldn’t quite grasp whether it had been him or Antosha. Either way, the sex was good.

No matter though, he told himself as he rounded the corner and pushed open the outside door. He would simply retrace every step he took that day, until he found his missing keys.

[identity profile]
They stepped out of the pathologist's outbuilding and into the crisp and cold afternoon air, which held the weighted promise of snow.

Leshovik liked that. It felt cleansing.

He glanced at Aryol, who was looking at him with an expression Leshovik hadn't seen in a long time, like the way he used to look at him when they first met, back when Aryol thought he was the greatest guy in the world.

That was before Aryol had gotten to know him.

Then Leshovik hadn't seen that expression anymore.

But the way Aryol looked at him now was like that, the way he'd caught Aryol looking at Lynx a couple of times. Aryol had a lightness to his features, bright soft eyes and a sunny smile that was all for him.

Aryol stepped close, and slipped an arm around Leshovik's waist, nuzzling his face against Leshovik's temple before pulling away. The contact was as brief as it was tender and impulsive, and it made Leshovik feel ridiculously warm.

"You made him happy," Aryol told him, still smiling. "That was nice."

Leshovik reached out, and tousled Aryol's hair fondly. "Yeah, well, don't tell anyone. I don't want to ruin my reputation for being a dickhole."

Aryol laughed.

Leshovik still had no fucking idea what was going on with Lynx, but it didn't matter as much now, not when the man had looked him in the eye and tacitly admitted that yes, there was something. Something personal, important enough to make him torture a man with sharp, ruthless efficiency. Something greater than a mere assignment.

Before that, the lie had been sitting hard and cold between them, like bringing a rifle to bed.

Leshovik looked around, and spotted Niotkuda, who leaned casually against the side of the building, smiling, but not at them, looking like he'd been laughing to himself. Codec, maybe. Leshovik hailed him, and they walked over.

Niotkuda pushed himself away from the wall with the lazy grace of a natural athlete. Leshovik admired the smooth, indolent motion briefly, finding that it really did remind him of the way Lynx moved.

He blinked, and thought that there was something sort of fucked up about all of this, though he couldn't quite put his finger on it.

"Sorry about that," Leshovik said, gesturing back at the outbuilding apologetically. "Took longer than I thought."
[identity profile]
It wasn't entirely unusual to be at the range without Ocelot in charge, but it had been quiet. It figured, really, with Irinarhov in charge.

Usually, when Ilya was left in charge, it was a good chance to relax, laugh and fire off a few rounds without Ocelot calling out a variety of motivational insults every time someone missed a shot. It had been an odd morning, with everyone strangely focussed on what they were doing.

Even Ilya, as he mulled over his dilemma a few more times, each turn cementing his decision a little further.

And so after practice, he dragged behind, letting Andrei wander past with a smile. Matvei dashed off as quickly as he'd arrived.

He leaned up against the wall, waiting, with all the patience he could spare.

Finally, almost everyone was gone, he stepped forward, and walked over to Irinarhov.

The sniper looked up coolly, apparantly expecting no more than talking business. Those were the only times they spoke to each other, outside of cordial nods of acknowledgement when passing each other.

No backing down, now.

"Can I have a word?" Ilya asked, seriously.
[identity profile]
Air kissed the back of Leshovik's neck, as cold as a lover.

They emerged from behind an escarpment and took a jagged scar down to the footpath below, managing to scatter a minimum of dust and debris in their wake. Even he and Aryol were sweating from the cross-country trek carrying their rifles and over thirty kilos of gear over rugged terrain; they hadn't wanted to chance the path that led to Groznyj Grad until the last possible minute, just in case they ran into a patrol.

Lemsky lagged behind. Leshovik hadn't particularly wanted to leave the little fucker at his back, but Lemsky obviously didn't have the physical training or endurance they did, and had struggled to keep up.

Vindictively, Leshovik pushed a hard pace, stopping every so often to glare at Lemsky, goading him on with a bluesteel gaze, sparing him the lambasting only because of the need for stealth.

In some ways, Leshovik missed the cave already. It had been simple, there.

Aryol shot him looks every so often, his gaze pointed and piercing. There were times when it felt like his spotter could see right through him. He had in the cave, Leshovik knew. Aryol had known something was wrong, though at the same time, hadn't understood.

It had been all Leshovik could do to hold it together, then, to keep packing like there wasn't an icy lump in his chest threatening to spread into a burn. A couple of times, he'd caught his hands trembling and had nearly lost it, but the thought of showing weakness in front of either Aryol or Lemsky had pulled him back from the edge.

The forced march had been good, though. Focusing. He'd had to expend so much energy walking that he hadn't had the concentration to get worked up about Lynx.

It had taken on a surreal quality in his mind now, almost like a nightmare, the kind where familiar people became the apotheoses of their own exaggerated traits. Lynx as destroyer, god of a vengeance so detached it was inhuman.

The wound still ran deep, even though his mind shied away from it, now.

He signaled Aryol to stop so they could wait for Lemsky to catch up. They weren't far from the Grad. Just around the switchback path, and they'd be in sight of the main gates.

And the men who guarded them.

Part of Leshovik still thought this was crazy, masquerading as assassin-killers rather than the assassins they were, but trust Lynx to come up with a plan that defied ordinary expectations.

Trust Lynx, he thought, a bitter slash of a smile ghosting his lips.

Problem was, he did.

He brushed his hand across his right ear, slotting Lynx's in-between CODEC frequency.

"Longshot to Lynx. We're outside the gates."
[identity profile]
The narrow strip of skin visible through The Pain's mask was uneven, covered in welts long since solidified, like lava flows turned to basalt. Earlier curiosity had prompted Rakitin to take a closer look, but better sense had assured him staring would have been unforgiveably rude. However, now that consideration had been rendered moot. He noted with interest the thin zone of clarity encircling the Cobra's eyes, keeping visibility unobstructed. The damage must have been inflicted by his own companions. The Pain's place at the center of the hive had not come easily.

"I see," Rakitin said grimly.

He thought of the Ocelot boy who had taken Gurlukovich's death so badly. Had he been his lover? Either way, it was obvious he would lash out at anyone who became a convenient target, an outward direction for his pain. No doubt he wasn't alone.

Rakitin let the warning about The Fury pass him by. Warnings about the cosmonaut's madness were thick as flies on the ground. It was none of Rakitin's concern.

They called me mad, I called them mad, and damn them, they outvoted me.

He took the file, and frowned down at it. Dubious legibility was not enhanced by the dim light.

"Would you prefer, er, privacy?" Rakitin said, with a surreptitious glance at Krauss.
[identity profile]
Kassian paused, and turned to look at Ocelot for a moment, brow creasing lightly.

The Major had apologized for misjudging him, though Kassian hadn't been aware of any bias. Ocelot had treated him equitably enough in the weeks he'd been here, and hadn't singled him out overly, at least not any more than he would expect, as new blood.

But apparently Ocelot felt like an apology was necessary.

Kassian nodded in silent acknowledgment.

He was not the sort of man who threw gestures back in someone's face, regardless if he thought they were warranted.

Kassian turned back to the ruined cartridge then. "You're right, Major. Which is why I thought it was a matter of ego. He did this on purpose, to demoralize. He must not have known the Colonel had a decoy. The Colonel could go into hiding, and pretend the attempt was successful, if he wanted, while someone tried to find out who did this."

The answer to that question was clearly none of Kassian's concern. He supposed a man like Volgin could have any number of enemies in the government, but Kassian never paid attention to things like that.

He adjusted the strap of the Mosin-Nagant he carried on his back. "Major, I'd like to request to be released from bodyguard detail, at least for a few days. If the sniper is still around, either to take down secondary targets or to finish the job if he realizes it wasn't Volgin, you'll need me up there."

Kassian tilted his chin in the direction of the the window, toward the rooftops outside.
[identity profile]
Senior Lieutenant Arkady Sergeyevich Kolyin was having a bad day. Most of the problem stemmed from the fact that his “day” had extended beyond a mere twenty-four hours, and had become two.

He’d had night duty with his usual partner and rankmate, Semeyonev, last night, when Sergei had died, but the next morning, he’d had an additional shift playing at babysitter for the MENTs, partnered with none other than the squad’s sullen sniper, Irinarhov.

When he’d finished the guard detail, he’d barely had time for a meal and shower before it was back on night duty with Semeyonev, who, as usual, had a quick grin and smile. Kolyin didn’t know how Savva could do it given everything that had happened, but at least he was better to patrol with than Irinarhov.

“And I swear, they’re fucking,” Savva was saying, filling him in on the latest gossip.

Arkady sighed. “I don’t care. Good for them.”

“You’re a beam of sunshine tonight.”

“You try spending all day with Irinarhov. I swear, that guy never says anything. No personality.”

Savva shrugged. “Snipers are like that,” he said, as if he had some special knowledge. “He’s just quiet. Anyway, Isaev seems to like him well enough.”

Kolyin rolled his eyes. “Yeah, I’ve noticed.”

Actually, the relationship between Andrei and the sniper had been fodder for unit gossip lately. No one fucked regularly without everyone else knowing, and the fact that Andrei was rarely in his bunk in the mornings when Kolyin and Semeyonev got off duty hadn’t gone unnoticed.

Semeyonev laughed. “He’s not a bad looking guy. I’d do him.”

“Well, that’s not saying mu – ”

A shout broke the evening’s relative silence, followed by a call for help. Kolyin’s chest started pounding, and his gut twisted in the silent fear that it was another Serhyoza, that another Ocelot had died.

He and Semeyonev met gazes briefly, then ran forward to the sound of the disturbance.

One of the regular GRU stumbled out of the main wing, pointing a shaking hand behind him. “He’s dead!” the soldier barely managed to get out before he bent over and vomited.

“Who’s dead?” Kolyin shouted, but Savva was already running toward the building.

Arkady gripped his AK-47 tightly as he rushed after his rankmate.

There was already a stir inside – more GRU, running around uselessly, bumping into things like headless rabbits.

One had the presence of mind to run up to them and signal them forward frantically. Kolyin and Semeyonev followed the soldier down the hall, to a half-opened door.

“In there,” the soldier said, stopping in his tracks, showing no sign of accompanying them the last few steps forward.

Savva looked at Arkady again, and reached out to touch his shoulder briefly. Kolyin understood what it meant. Whatever it was – whoever it was – they’d face the horrible truth together.

Side by side, they walked down to the open door and peered in.

The room beyond was simple but spacious, and featured little more than a table and desk and wardrobe, and a giant, oversized bed. And there, near the bed, was the body of a tall and muscular man with a near-Herculean build, clad in a forest green greatcoat.

…and rubberized boots, Kolyin realized, after a moment, but his mind balked even then.

Together, he and Semeyonev edged forward, and saw that the body had only a gaping, bloody ruin where the top of his head should have been, and the floor around the body was decorated liberally with pink brain tissue.

It looked like bubblegum, Kolyin thought, vaguely.

“God,” Savva said, “It’s Volgin.”

“Oh God,” Kolyin said. “We have to tell someone. Major Raikov.”

Semeyonev shot him a look. No, not Major Raikov, he though in faint horror. Never mind his patented ball-crushing maneuver; someone would get castrated.

“Ocelot. We have to tell Ocelot. You call him, Savva. He likes you.”

Everyone knew that Savva got called for Special Duty more often than anyone else.

“You call him! No sense in having him pissed at the both of us. This way, if he gets pissed at you, I can calm him down.”

Semeyonev had a point, Kolyin thought, though he felt reluctant to concede it.

Suddenly, Savva grabbed his arm. “Fuck, bratan, do you see that? There’s a hole in the window. A sniper did this. We need to get back.”

They retreated into the hallway, and Kolyin let out a pained sigh. “All right, I’ll call him, but you’d better have my back on this.”

Raising a hand to his ear, Kolyin slotted Major Ocelot’s frequency and prayed for the best.
[identity profile]

As soon as he heard the news, Krauss grabbed his coat and ushanka and departed his office without so much as a nod to Motte.

It wasn't much, but it was good news. Very, very good news, as far as he was concerned, even if the source was a bit sketchy. He wanted to believe it was all true, wanted to believe that someone had caught a glimpse of the murderer leading his second victim to his death in the caves. And as crazy as the whole story seemed, he found himself believing it, because he could find no reason not to. The source had always been reliable and honest before.

So he searched high and low, near and far for Liadov and Rakitin. A man on a fruitless mission; they were nowhere to be found. The mess hall was full of all the wrong people, the war room was deserted, and the only thing he found in Volgin’s office was Volgin, who glowered at the disturbance.

Half way back to his office, he glanced at his watch, and sighed. Slowly, realization trickled into his stream of thought: their laboratory.

He stopped dead in his tracks, turned, and nearly ran into a GRU lieutenant with his arms full of paperwork. Krauss didn’t even spare the time to mumble an apology.

By the time he reached the little building on the outskirts of the Grad, his bad hip was bothering him much more than he cared to admit to himself. He hurried up to the door though, knocking once, then again when he didn’t get the prompt reply he hoped for.

“Liadov! Ippolit!” He called, leaning against the frame of the door for support. “Are you there? Open the door, it’s Major Krauss.”

[identity profile]
[Continued from "Meanwhile, back at Groznyj Grad..."]

Kassian didn't think he should be the one to say it, but with Imanov still reeling from the shock of their discovery, it fell to him.

"There was another killing tonight," he said to Isaev over CODEC. "Aside from the mechanic."

He paused again.

"It was one of us, an Ocelot."

Kassian realized he was feeding Isaev information piecemeal, the way he'd learned it, trying to lessen the blow. But there was little that could be done to mitigate what he had to say next.

"It was Gurlukovich," he said. "Sergei."

Kassian closed his eyes briefly. "He's dead."

There was more to say, but he fell silent, to let his words sink in.
[identity profile]
Raikov's boots struck the floor hard and fast, as he paced furiously around the central building.

He was not pleased. Not pleased at all.

Being thrown off of Ocelot was not the greatest moment, but he could grudgingly admit that Ocelot was needed elsewhere.

So, of course, as soon as they had all left, it had been just him and the Colonel, and a shared wicked grin.

And they'd just settled into the mood when Raikov had been turfed out, again.

He was too annoyed at the whole situation to say much to the Colonel, although he was not personally angry with him. Jesus motherfucking bastard christ, he couldn't concentrate on a thing.

And the worse part was he couldn't go back to his quarters to deal with it himself, not when he was supposed to be keeping tabs on absolutely everyone on-base.

Anyone who came near him right now would live to regret it.
[identity profile]
They were still for a moment, in the wake of Major Liadov's query.

Then everyone looked at Imanov.

Isaev had told Kassian that Imanov had gone to a university and studied psychology. That made him the obvious choice in Kassian's book. Kassian hadn't even completed his secondary education before he'd have to leave in order to work at the factory.

Kassian wondered if there was anything in Imanov's psychology books that talked about this, murders committed out of some deep-seated need, fueled by this cycle of escalation that Liadov had talked about.

Probably. It sounded like it happened often enough that experts had coined terms for it, after all, some deeper explanation than merely knowing the difference between having to kill, and wanting to kill.


groznyj_grad: (Default)
The Groznyj Grad Living Novel

December 2010

192021 22232425


RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 26th, 2017 02:28 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios