Birds of a Feather - Chapter 7: Moscow to Uzbekistan on six

Dieter 2002-08-14 22:57:56
The 3-hour helicopter ride from St. Pete's to Moscow is pretty uneventful. Lt. Isakovic drones on-and-on....and on about how things were much simpler when the KGB was running things...something about the population of Russia no longer fearing the authorities.

As the helicopter lands, the team sees a military transport truck idling near the tarmac. Lt. Isakovic jokingly says,

"Ok, here is your ride to the Gulag...just kidding! (laughing) I tell you that joke never gets old. But really, the truck will take you to just outside the base security perimeter. Thank you for flyling Air Moscow."
Dieter 2002-08-20 18:03:16
Moscow, Russia: 9:04am local time

The team is greeted by a rather disgruntled non-comm soldier who barks the order to get in the back of the transport truck. He seems completely disinterested in the team, yet Jessica's presence lightens his mood ever-so slightly, helping her on to the truck with a kind smile.

At the front gate, the truck stops and the non-comm again barks an order to get out...again helping Jessica out.

Waiting just outside the gate, a man in his early 60's is smoking a cigarette and is eyeing the team. The guards open the gate and let the team out, but not before the non-comm issues a marriage proposal to Jessica.
Gatac 2002-08-20 20:33:15
Jessica smiles at the soldier, than proceeds to tell him of the uncertainty in her line of work, not having any time for a family, and how past acquintances tended to rate her cooking as deplorable.
Dieter 2002-08-21 16:46:12
The non-comm looks a bit depressed at the rejection but Jess can tell this wasn't the first (nor the last) time he's made such a proposal to complete stranger.

As the couple part ways in the cool morning fog of a waning Russian summer, a much less dramatic version of the end Casablanca is reminisced. The drama quickly subsides as the man who has been patiently waiting on the other side of the gate chimes in.

"Eh...hello? (Walking up to Artis) I'm Vasili Fyodor Nemchek, you may just call me Vasili. Who of the Agency's finest do I have the pleasure of working with this dreary morning?"
Dieter 2002-08-21 19:57:48
"I'm Goose, this is Hummingbird, Nighthawk, and Heron. What's the situation here?"
Dieter 2002-08-21 20:17:22
"Your train to Tashkent leaves in an hour. In that time, I will have to drive you to the station, take your requisitions requests, and get a new packet of cigarettes. So, there is much to do. First we get new packet of cigarettes."

Vsili walks over to one of the stoic looking guards, mumbling something to him in his ear then flashes a badge. Immediately the soldier snaps to attention, gives Vsili a salute, then a packet of cigarettes from the inside of his coat. As Vasili opens up the packet and pulls a fresh cigarette out, he rejoins the team.

"It is amazing what service you can get when you tell someone you used to be a Directorate in the KGB. I haven't had to pay for a packet of cigarettes in 10 years. Ok, off we go to the train station."
threadbare 2002-08-23 06:30:26
"I took a trip on a train, and I thought about you..." Harry warbles quietly as they move along.
Dieter 2002-08-26 17:10:01
The Volga motors the team along at frighteningly fast past to the train station. Vsili expeditiously gets out the car, unloads the team's baggage and hands out everyone's travel documents.

"There, I think everything is order. Your train should be at Track 23. I could only get a shared carriage, but it only sleeps four, so you should have some degree of privacy. Now, I must be only my way. Good luck and dosvaydanya."
threadbare 2002-09-02 07:10:33
"Okay, has everyone here seen 'From Russia With Love'?" Harry asks as they move through the station. "Because something tells me that we might run into something on the train. It's an isolated environment, so watch yourself."
Dieter 2002-09-06 17:48:55
The team shows their tickets to the conductor, a man probably in his late 70's, who (no doubt) has been doing this very same job since heydays of Stalin. He gestures to a porter, a rather gangly fellow for someone of his occupation, then clips your tickets for departure.

While the train cars appear to not have been washed in the past 10 years, the interior is a bit more welcoming. The porter opens the door to the compartment. Though spartan by Western standards, its cleanliness and sterile smell is reassuring. The porter leaves as quickly as he arrives, giving Artis the entry key. As Artis begins to ask the porter when dinner will be served, he notices the porter run (literally) into a rather large and surly looking man that could be easily mistaken for the Marvel Comic villain Sabertooth (TM).

As the porter gets back on his feet, the large man chides the boy for his incompetence, reading him the proverbial Soviet riot act. When he notices Artis' contempt for the treatment of such a minor offense, the surly man looks at Artis with a similar glare, then begins shouting at both of them.

"What are you looking at?! No doubt a Western imperialist out to rape more of Mother Russia. Boy, make yourself useful! Get up and fetch my luggage!"
Dieter 2002-09-06 18:27:46
"What am I looking at? What am I looking at," I muse, sarcastically. "I don't see how anyone could miss your fat ass, you're takin' up the whole hallway. Take the cattle car next time, fucko."
Dieter 2002-09-06 19:20:53
The large man makes a move towards Artis,

"How dare you talk to me this way?! Do you know who I am?"

At this point the porter desperately tries to intervene, prying himself between the two foes.

"Uh...excuse me, Comrade General. The Westerner may not know who you are, but I do. I sincerely apologize for my carelessness (herding Artis towards the inside of his compartment). I will get your baggage right away and perhaps a bring you a bottle of that vodka that you like so much?"

Beads of sweat pour down the sides of the porter's face as he turns to Artis with the look of Back down...for the love of god, back down!
Gatac 2002-09-06 19:56:25
Jess grabs Art by the arm to pull him away from the Grey Hulk (c) (tm) (patent pending), then whispers a quick "That was *smooth*, Art" to him.
Gatac 2002-09-06 21:34:56
To the porter: "No, no, don't apologize to that fuck! He should apologize to you, that's no way to treat somebody who takes care of your stuff and your drinks..." I spin to Jess when she talks to me and reply, "You gotta stand up to bullies like him - that guy (pointing at the porter) is scared shitless of 'im, well I'm not."
Dieter 2002-09-06 22:03:15
Just then, the small amount of self-control and discipline left in the old warhorse runs empty.

As Artis' explains the subtleties of the Ancient Art of War (TM) to dear Jessica, Comrade General (we'll call him Zangief [Street Fighter]) grabs the porter and tosses him aside like a ragdoll. As Artis turns glances back to the hallway after giving Jess a lesson in morality and righteousness, Zangief gives Artis a bit of his own righteousness AND a LEFTeousness.

The first strike is a fierce and downright brutal hit to Artis' solarplexus. Zangief's second attack goes wide, shattering the simulated wood paneling around the door trim.

(And now it's initiative! Check the OOC thread for details of Artis' brutal hit and INIT scores)
threadbare 2002-09-07 23:06:50
nimrod's going to cause an international incident and get his skull caved in before we even pass the Volga, Harry thinks to himself. He decides to first reason with comrade general (from a safe distance) and ask him, "Please, sir, listen to reason. that man is rude, yes, but isn't that porter one of the workers you protected?"

(Edited by Threadbare at 4:27 pm on Sep. 7, 2002)
Dieter 2002-09-09 18:04:58
Gavin tries to intercede, throwing half of his torso between Artis and Comrade General (taked from IP's nickname for him, so we'll start calling him the Big Red One [BRO for short]). Artis goes into "Not in the face!...not in the face!" mode pulling up his forearms in hopes they'll block at least some of the damage from the meathooks.

Good news/bad news:

The good news is that Gavin's intervention has taken most of the heat off of Artis. The bad news is that BRO appears to now have a more formidable opponent on which to lash out years of repressive Communism upon. One thing that can be least Gavin saw it coming.

Gavin stands in a defensive posture, trying desperately to be a human shield between Artis and BRO,

"Hey there big guy. Why don't ya just calm yerself with a cold drink and a warm babushka? All this stress can be hard on the ticker."

Gavin's calming words only infuriate the mad Russian even further. BRO grabs the collar of Gavin's shirt with Gavin trying to counter the attack.

Unfortunately, they don't teach Russian-style wrestling at the Academy. This would explain why BRO was able to grab Gavin and slam him into the adjacent wall without much ado. It actually was scary seeing a person of Gavin's size being thrown around like a ragdoll. BRO then turns his attention and meathooks back in Artis' face. He jabs a finger into Artis' chest, the digit feeling more like an icepick than human flesh.

"I would suggest you and your companions (glancing towards Jess and Harry) stay out of my way for the duration of your trip."

With that, BRO eases up on Artis and lets go of his deathgrip on Gavin. He then proceeds down the hallway, barking orders at the hapless porter.
Gatac 2002-09-09 18:55:56
"Are you *done* now, boys ? Is it so hard to realize that there are some people you shouldn't piss off ?"
Dieter 2002-09-09 20:05:33
About 30 minutes later, as everyone is settling in, the team hears a knock on their door.

"Eh...hello? Excuse me, this is Gregor, the porter you er...I...well, the guy you stuck up for when the Comrade General was boarding the train. May I come in?"

(OOC: assuming you let him in)

Gregor thanks the team for their help (or lack thereof) in defending him. He tells them, particularly Artis and Gavin, that they were lucky to get off so easily. As prompt as he gives his thanks, he cuts to the chase...

"So, I haven't had the pleasure meeting too many Agency operatives this far from civilization. You must have either pissed off the wrong person or have a deathwish to be working out here. Judging by your initial responses, I'm guessing you're (looking at Jess) the resident facewoman."

Gregor looks at her hands and does a once over on the rest of her body.

"Yeah, I'm dead sure of that. No soldier would go out into the field with manicured nails...unless you're one of those sick bitches (no offense) who get off on that sort of thing?"