In the deep recesses there is a shout.
Their cries are in vain lest they be heeded,
By those willing their wishes be wrought.
Episode Forty Five:
Amidst the crowds of bargain hunters, Mashka and John broke away and rested a moment in an alleyway.
“At last!” Mashka sighed in relief. “We lost them!”
“That’s lucky.” John replied. “We weren’t even trying, and we shook them ahead of time.”
“You might not have been trying,” Mashka corrected him, “but I was manoeuvring us around from shop to shop, avoiding them. That’s why I got both of us some new outerwear, to help us disappear.”
“What?!” John’s eyes were wide in surprise, “You mean you’ve been calculating everything the whole way?”
Mashka removed the sunglasses he had gotten her, and glared. “Yes, but I didn’t think it would actually work. It’s kind of fun playing this whole cat and mouse game. I feel like a spy. And to my own dismay, I think I’m starting to appreciate the enhanced senses, even if they are the reason for this whole mess.”
“I suppose this means we can head over towards the docks. We’ll stop somewhere and change into the indigo jackets. Those will help make us blend in with the water tonight.”
Mashka nodded then suddenly her excitement was replaced with apprehension. The mission was not what scared her the most. At the thought of conflict, her teeth and nails began to hurt as if they were trying to extend even now, and with it came a desire to fight. It was this drive, hunger, that frightened her the most. She hoped she would not loose control as she had been warned, by both Chekhov and Dr. Hamid. She never again wanted to feel that monster inside her break free.
Evan walked into the dimly lit Nochyu Tavern. He smirked as he did a once over of the aged wooden tables and the grimy windows. It felt like the 'good old days.'
He walked up to the bar and ordered a glass of weak vodka. He did not want to get drunk, but there was a need to blend in. A few moments later a dubiously clean glass was placed in front of him. He picked it up to drink the burning fluid, but was distracted by a card game starting up on a table nearby.
“Is it too late to join in?” he asked.
The three seated gamblers looked towards a man sitting in the gloom at the far side. He was dark haired with a few white strands showing through, and had a week-old beard. He looked up at Evan calmly, after a silent moment, he nodded consent. All the card players seemed to relax.
Evan took that as a cue to grab a chair. He pulled one from another table and sat down. It seems the intimidating guy was the ringleader, of sorts. 'Perhaps I should of chosen a more relaxed group.' Evan reflected.
“Deal him in. This could be interesting.” the leader said with a grin, “By the way, my name’s Mark.”
“Pleased to meet you, I’m Iosif.” Evan replied. “So, what’s the game?”
“Poker,” the other man answered. Judging by his tone, he was already warming up to Evan, “so you should have a reasonable amount of money on yourself, if you plan to play.”
“That’s covered.” Evan replied, “Brings back old times to sit down to cards.”
“You mean the sensation of being broke?” the man to his left corrected him humorously.
“That too,” Evan conceded.
And so the chatter began as the first few rouble were placed in the centre. Within the space of twelve minutes, everyone felt like they had known each other for ages. Evan tried hard to keep them talking about themselves, considering whatever they asked him about his past, he would have to make it all up on the fly. Nevertheless, he was going to enjoy himself for a couple of hours.
The western sky had turned brilliant shades of orange when Aleksei opened his eyes and stood up, stiff from the cold park bench. He looked at the clock at the nearby bus stop, which read five - fourteen. “It’s time.” he muttered. A mixture of anxiety and eagerness swept over him, but was comforted by the calm hum of his detection field.
He felt the tracking device in his pocket to reassure himself that it was still there. As he walked, he moved the vapour sheet with him. He could not pick out anyone following him, but there were still a lot of people within his range, people who were just going on with their lives, not trying to escape a secret organisation.
The docks were still a distance away, and night began to fall, but that was all a part of their plan. He just hoped everyone else was in position.
Two nearly invisible figures crept among the shadows on the docks, darting from boat to boat and pausing beside boathouses, to spy out their next move. Mashka tried hard to follow John’s example, as they ~slinked towards the gray boathouse. They needed to get there before Aleksei, who was going to enter the vacant blue one, a mere twenty metres to the left of the gray one, farther off shore.
Seeing the docks were abandonned, they made the last, silent sprint to the grey building.
John leaned in close to Mashka’s ear, “Keep watch while I get the door open.”
She nodded then turned her eyes to the looming darkness.
A grin spread across Evan’s face as he looked at the two remaining men across from him. One was the leader, who remained stoic, and the other was making a valiant effort to hide his nervousness. The two others were sitting back, having already folded. The light-hearted game had become intense and exciting.
“All bets laid?” Evan asked.
“Da,” The other two replied.
The cards went down; the leader had four queens, the other man had a full house, and Evan had a straight in spades, seven through jack.
“Well it seems I’ve won the round.” Evan said in a polite tone, collecting the small stack of bills. He looked up at the clock, “I need to get going now.” He leaned forward to get up.
The man to his left placed a heavy hand on his shoulder, “Where are you going? The night’s only begun.”
“I have a pressing engagement. Good evening, gentlemen.” Evan forced himself up, past the man’s hand. However, because of his haste, he ran right into another customer, causing him to splash cold vodka all over himself.
“Prastite!” Evan exclaimed, about to assist the man.
He shoved Chekhov back, “Watch were yoush going!” The man’s breath reeked with alcohol, and his dark hair was oily and unkempt.
“I could pay for another drink.” Evan offered, “But I think you’ve had enough.”
The man suddenly advanced, knocking over a table and tackling Evan. The latter placed his hand flat on the man’s chest, a quick roar filled the room and the drunkard flew backwards, landing in a sitting position against the bar.
Evan had not meant to use his ability but he hid his surprise, nodded to the bartender and his card mates “My apologies for the commotion.” With that he vanished out the door, while reminding himself to have more restraint.
The sun had set when Aleksei arrived at the docks. He could pinpoint at least three people who had followed him. At his command the vapors rose from the ground around those following him and kissed their forms, telling him their size, shape, and whether they had drawn weapons, which they had not, yet, though he confirmed the presence of what could be a firearm on all of them. As he walked onto the wharf he slowly swept his hands outwards, then brought them back in. Mist rolled atop the dock from the lake in front of him, like a white carpet. He quickened his pace. The three pairs of feet behind him seemed to hesitate for a moment, but continued their advance.
He turned enough to spy them out of the corner of his eye, three shadowy figures. They probably all had tranquilizer guns, but he was well out of accurate range. A flash of red caught his eye and he could see a thin line draw itself into the fog, the end stopping at his knee. His breath caught as terror engulfed him.
“Got you,” Anya muttered, looking through the scope at Aleksei’s knee. She exhaled as she pulled the trigger.