[identity profile] krasnogorje.livejournal.com

Time was a very precious commodity. Finding himself with hours to spare, Iosef immediately gathered his violin and bow and set out for the hallway outside of Volgin’s office in the Main Wing.

Io went the first time to tempt the Colonel’s temper because he found it altogether thrilling in ways he could never hope to understand. He returned the second time for the quiet praise that the first impromptu serenade had received.

What started as an attempt to annoy and provoke had somehow switched gears in the flame solder’s mind. He felt something akin to remorse for the provocation as he stood in the deserted hallway once more.

The Blue Danube only brought secretaries to come and stare with awe and approval, and gasps of delight, and much appreciated applause. No one came forth from Volgin’s office; not for the Blue Danube, or the Gimn Sovetskovo Soyuza, or even for Eine Kleine Nachtmusik.

Io spent a good ten minutes scowling at the door from behind his respirator, as though sheer force of will alone would bring the Colonel out from hiding. There was nothing, the lights were off, and Yevgeny Volgin was certainly not home. It was foolish to think will alone could coerce him to appear on command.

So Iosef eventually retreated to the yard, disappointed with the world, and left the office workers to their dull paperwork.

It was a beautiful spring day, clear and blue. The snow had all but melted away, and the illusive promise of warmth drifted on the breeze.  The sun was pleasant and gentle on his face. 

A seemingly abandoned truck was all the invitation he needed. Climbing onto the hood with violin and flamethrower was a difficult task, but one that was overcome with ingenuity and creative wiggling.

A pair of GRU regarded the gas-masked violinist with hesitant curiosity, until he began to play for them. A sweet melody to match the kind disposition of the early spring day.

Ode to Joy seemed to match the mood set by the clear, light hearted day. It translated well to a solo piece he thought, shutting his eyes as the notes flowed from the violin, took flight, and fluttered away on orange and black butterfly wings.

It wasn’t long before he had another crowd gathered around. Among them, he recognized the German Major, but there were others who were unfamiliar to the flame patrol Lieutenant.

It struck him just fine, and he smiled.  Strangers were always welcome to listen.

[identity profile] ocelottery.livejournal.com
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] hajimenoippolit.livejournal.com
Senior Lieutenant Ippolit Zosimovitch Rakitin waited in the helicopter and tried not to think about wolves.

There was an old story they used to tell, about a wolf in the sky. The gods thought they could control it, but it grew too big and it grew too fast, and ferocious things turn on their handlers. They told it the binding was only a game, but no wolf is that stupid. For collateral, a god's right hand, bold interloper rappeling into the cavern of blood-scented breath beneath stalactite incisors. And when the deal was broken and the trap revealed, there lay the forfeit, sheared off at the wrist.

The first reason Ippolit had this job was that he remembered stories.

Outside of the thin steel shell, a man's voice called to another. Distant forms were outlined against the tarmac, as though it had come down with something that made it break out in uneven splotches of humanity. Life went on, motion and action, removed by an intangible membrane from the here and now of thought and stasis.

None of the figures seemed to be moving toward where the Kamov dozed, but the rising ripples of heat made it difficult to tell.

The second reason was that he never jumped to conclusions.

"Find the murderer," General Olavyenko had said, barely looking at him as he threw down a file whose emptiness spoke volumes. He had added, with a sort of gruff magnanimity, as though he should show gratitude for being handed a valuable secret, "And keep your nose out of what doesn't concern you."

Ippolit had spent most of the time from then until he was to report here - hardly any time at all, which he tried very hard to believe was due simply to the urgency of the mission - asking questions about this Groznyj Grad.

The closest thing he had gotten to an answer was a Captain who had done nothing but laugh.

And the third, maybe the only one that mattered, was that he stuck his hand where no one else would.

Restless, Ippolit's eyes ran a thousanth lap of the Kamov's interior. The other one should have been here by now.

There was that, at least. No matter what sort of place this was, he wouldn't be going into it alone.

Or, as far as he knew, he could be walking into a den of wolves with a tiger at his back.

Ippolit waited, and tried not to think.
[identity profile] major-ocelot-2u.livejournal.com
SRIDA, 12 FEVRAI, 1964: 18:00 hours

[OOC: Two weeks after the first body is discovered. Ocelot is in the East Wing, walking toward the Shagohod Hangar. Anyone is free to jump in, or start coexisting threads.]

The day was nearly over, and the shadows hung long in the East Wing halls.

The Grad was industrious, striking in quartz precision like the innards of a clock. Ocelot walked in counterpoint to this timekeeping, his spurs clanking with languid haste.

The victim had just been indentified dentally as GRU Captain Mikhail Stovanovich Molokov. Or Styopa, as he'd been more commonly known around the Grad. Styopa was a handsome blond man of about thirty-two, a sometime fixture, a decent enough officer to Ocerlot's mind. He was in charge of supervising the delivery of supplies and requisitions from Moscow, and came through with the helicoptors every three months, looking staunchly official and polished within an inch of his life. He was General Olavyenko's personal attaché, and though he didn't like being reminded of it, Volgin reported, loosely, to Olavyenko.

This probably went over like a lead balloon, thought Ocelot, glad he hadn't been privy to that phone call.

No, Volgin didn't need the resources of GRU or Mother Russia. But he did need Olavyenko to keep leaving him alone in his outpost at the frontier edge of the Motherland.

Ocelot's lip twisted as he crossed the East Wing Atrium, and passed the library where scientists thumbed through books with downcast eyes.

Some sick murdering fuck. That was fucking great. The one thing Groznyj Grad didn't need another one of.

Oceelot knew Volgin wanted answers yesterday. He hadn't solved their little problem, yet. He intended to.

Lieutenant Imanov had been studying criminal psychology before he got his conscription notice. The obvious thing would be to avail himself of Ilya Piotryvich's expertise and insight by picking his brain, which Ocelot had every intention of doing.

But it was that same expertise that gave him pause. Imanov knew a little too much about the subject. Imanov had been conspicuously indisposed at the time. There was no presumption of innocence. Not here.

The previous week he'd only had a few minutes to speak with his lieutenant before Khostov had wrenched him back into quarantine with a wagging finger and a baleful glare. Ocelot hadn't mentioned the murder, but he assumed Imanov must know by now. ...If he hadn't known before.

Ilya hadn't looked good, but Ocelot knew that didn't necessarily preclude his involvement. A man could be sick in a lot of ways.

If it was Imanov, he would want to find out quick, and hush the inquiry. It would require serious disciplinary restrictions and short leash, but he didn't let his men go down easily. He wasn't going to lose his second in command over some unfortunate piece of ass, General's attache or not.

And the American.

Ocelot's eyes narrowed.

Everyone knew that Capitalist dogs were the sickest fucks of all fucks so afflicted. They'd never had a problem like this before. Never this....animal sickness.

Was it just a coincidence that the Boss showed up with her hairy, grunting lap dog, and a handsome young Russian wound up sexually tortured and violated?


Oct. 4th, 2006 02:10 pm
[identity profile] elyseexpatriate.livejournal.com
The Sorrow wondered still why death was feared so terribly.

Men feared pain, oblivion, the brunt of rage, even fear itself. Often men feared their own joys, for fear they would be taken from them.

Death was, by definition, where none of them could reach.

He existed at the edge, suspended between the dead and the living and envying neither.

Killing was a sorrow. Dying was not.

Life surrounded him, here where the roads of the fortress met. A city on reduced scale, it aspired to singular purpose, a lone austere industry. But no matter the environment, the banalities of human life would endure. A complaining gate rumbled open to let through a truck loaded with crates of potatoes, and closed again. A pair of soldiers leaned in the lee of a building, sharing a cigarette. Floating a few inches from the world's surface, The Sorrow smiled.

He liked crossroads.

Admittedly, the floating was an affectation. The man beside him, though no more corporeal, stood firmly rooted to the soil.

"You wander from your body again," said The Sorrow, a shade reproachfully.

"Pah!" The End turned his head and spat, a purely symbolic action. "The old thing's not got much use left in it anyhow. Only needs to last a little while longer. Might as well keep you company in the meanwhile."

The Sorrow watched a flight of crows parallel the western horizon. Their caws reached clearly across a long distance. "You have little sentimentality for living."

"Eh." The End shrugged. "All things wither in their time. Why should I be any different? But I have one more battle to fight." An eye swiveled toward his comrade. "What of you? You've served your duty twice over by now. You've got more'n a right to--" he gestured vaguely-- "...go on ahead.

A boy exited a nearby building, walking with a purposeful stride. He was young for the uniform, let alone the Major's stars that adorned it, with a bearing that dared anyone to suggest he hadn't earned them.

"I, too, have promises to keep," said The Sorrow. "And miles to go."

"Hmph." The End's gaze roved to the fortress' main wing, built, or so evidence suggested, by an architect who put looming at a premium. "Hell of a place. 'Abandon all hope, ye who--"

"Please, old friend," The Sorrow interrupted gently. "I am so very tired of Dante."

The two spirits fell silent. Behind them, footsteps passed, the staccatto of heavy boots. A soldier shouted at another.

A bead of red gathered, unbidden, at the corner of an eye that watched, as the boy passed by them unseeing to disappear into the fortress' maw.

"'Between the essence and the descent,'" The Sorrow murmured.

"What?" said The End.



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The Groznyj Grad Living Novel

December 2010

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