Two If By Land

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Scene Title Two If By Land
Synopsis While the Vanguard continues Phase Two, Kazimir takes a detour outside of New York City to prepare for the initiation of Phase Three.
Date November 18, 2008

Providence, Rhode Island — Southern Waterfront


The fog is so tonight that the haze lights create give the run down industrial atmosphere of the waterfront district an otherworldly and ethereal feeling. Fog blows thick off of the water, billowing gray clouds of it that mask everything in sight, save for the approaching glow of headlights and the sound of tires driving over wet pavement.

Amidst hundreds of waterfront warehouses and shipping stations, a single automobile seems almost out of place. At this hour of the night, only a handful of shipyard workers on the other side of the waterfront brave the unseasonably warm but foggy night, and it's this distant sound of forklifts and cranes that serves as the backdrop for those working less than honest trades here.

"S'gotta be 'im." Stepping out from the open front of Warehouse 54, a tall and gaunt man with a black stocking cap pulled down over curly blonde hair waves towards another more portly gentleman who moves silently inside of the building. The approaching audomobile begins to slow as it emerges thorugh the fog, an enormous black lincoln with round headlights that glow brightly in the fog like the fiery eyes of the Hound of Baskerville.

As the vehicle rolls to a slow stop out front of the warehouse, the blonde man tucks his hands into the pockets of his gray pea coat, rolling his shoulders forward as he stalks up to the side of the car. His eyes wander the tinted windows, only to have his attention drawn to one sliding open partially to reveal only more darkness within. There's a moment of hesitation, as if he's reconsidering his actions here, drawing in a deeply inhaled breath before taking a few strides over, "Ah…" He clears his throat, "Mista' Volken?"

"David, it's a pleasure to see you again." The rough and firm voice that so silkenly croons from the open window causes the David to straighten his posture some. There's a distinct look of discomfort that flashes across his face as he looks back into the warehouse, then over to the open window again. But before he can respond to the greeting, the voice calls out once more. "Alexis informed me that the shipment I was waiting for has arrived. Can you confirm this?"

"Y-yes," David glances back at the warehouse, "Sir." His eyes flit back to the window, one hand motioning behind him to the dark entrance. "You're clear to head right on in, Alexis and Lawrence are waiting for you inside." There's no verbal response, but the way the window begins to roll up at David's statement is answer enough. His job here, at least for now, is done. The car doesn't hesitate to begin moving again, turning a sharp right to wheel around into the warehouse's looming bay doors, a stenciled and dark number 54 in large print over the entrance.

Inside, the car's headlights reflect off of the chassis of two semi-trucks parked within the warehouse with their engines off. Light comes only from a small lamp on the other ide of the trucks by a long table spotted with cans and bottles. There, the large-bellied man with a comb-over sits with an assault-rifle in his lap, and a very tall and thin gentleman with long black hair and a thin mousetache at his side. The two both get up as the car pulls in and parks in front of the white semi-trucks, the shorter and rounder of the two moving to circle behind the long trailer of one of the vehicles.

Once the car comes to a stop and the engine turns off, the rear right door opens. Immediately, the gaunt man making the approach stops in his tracks, quickly folding his hands behind his back, gray eyes watching anxiously as a broad-shouldered and weathered old man rises up from within. The sleek black suit Kazimir Volken dresses in gives him a sharp silhouette, accenting his shoulders and diminishing the presence of a little extra weight around the middle. "Alexis, how many years has it been?" Soft blue eyes meet grey ones, but even in their softness, the other man diverts his eyes.

"Too many, Sir." In his many years, Alexis has managed to shed the hints of his Russian accent, not out of a lack of pride for his homeland, but in order to blend in better, it's something Ethan once got him in the habit of doing. "It's good to see you again." Something seems out of place, and it's when Alexis' eyes settle on Kazimir's hands that it clicks. "Long enough to see you no longer need your cane…"

The added supposition draws a sharp frown that sags on Kazimir's face, and his eyes narrow slightly. "That is another matter entirely." Whatever reason causes Kazimir to be without his precious wolf's head cane seems to be the source of much agitation to him. It's evident enough that it causes Alexi to take a nervous half-step back. "Let's keep this strictly business today, Alexi. I have a great deal of work to do."

"Y-yes, Sir." The gaunt man motions over to the trucks, "These are exactly as you specified, refrigeration trucks with a false backing." The Russian starts to move, motioning to the trailers as he walks alongside, "There's enough concealed space in them to hold roughly ten people in the upright racks we installed. David did a wonderful job with the refurbishing of the cab as well, we can open and unload directly from the concealed space…" He knocks on the side of the trailer, "…by means of a sliding door that's concealed in the siding. Or through the refrigerated back, depending on access."

"Excellent work…" Kazimir begins, folding his gloved hands behind his back as he surveys the vehicle. "Are the concealed areas hermeticly sealed?" David only nods in response, enough to assuage concerns Kazimir had on that topic. "Then we're on schedule. Oscar and Wallace should be arriving within a few days with the cargo we'll be carrying in them, and that will put us right on schedule for the beginning of Phase Three."

At that, Alexis pauses by the open back of the truck, turning to look over at Kazimir with a curious stare. "You're sending both of these to New York, yes?" A single, dark brow rises slowly. "Then is what I heard true, you are comissioning others?" Kazimir's gaze narrows slightly at the question, and as he passes by Alexis his gloved hand comes out to reassuringly pat the man on his shoulder.

"Alexis," Kazimir's eyes focus up into the back of the truck, "I made it perfectly clear that certain cells of this operation wre not to share the particulars of their activities with one another." Kazimir's hand traces along the Russian's back, gloved fingertips brushing the wool of his peacoa, then stop to pick off a piece of lint and flick it away. "Who exactly told you about the other trucks?"

Swallowing dryly, Alexis cringes away from the touch of Kazimir's gloved hand, nervously watching him as he speaks. "It — It was just Leo, we were talking on the sat-phones and he mentioned you had a large comission for him in Nevada…" Those words stop Kazimir in his tracks, and he nods slowly. "N-no one else here knows about it but me, though…" With his back to Alexis, Kazimir settles his head down into a slow nod.

"Fortunate." He murmurs, "Fortunate for them, anyway." Alexis begins to question the statement, mouth opening, but the only sound that comes out is a hoarse gasp as he feels his throat drying. The Russian man staggers towards Kazimir, legs brushing thorugh the black fog that has grown around the old man's body. Tendrils of darkness snake their way up his legs, and Alexis lets out another harsh and gurgling cry as he reaches in vain to rest a withering hand on Kazimir's shoulder.

"You know how much I value secrecy." The hand crumbles to ash as it touches Kazimir, blackened bone cracking and splitting as dessicated fingers snap off and crumble to the ground. Alexis hisses out a crying whimper as his eyes shrivel and decay in his sockets, and his legs finally cannot support the weight of his torso, shattering at the knees until his entire, crumbling body collapses in one showering blast of ashen flesh and dusty clothing.

The rasping noises stir the sound of footsteps from deep in the back of the truck, followed by the hissing click of the sealed chamber. Heavy footfalls accompany Lawrence as he meanders to the back of the truck, watching as a cloud of ash and dust rises up from a pile of clothes, the same clothes Alexis was wearing when he saw him moments ago. The rotund man's breath catches in the back of his throat, and his eyes come to meet upon the gentle blue stare of Kazimir's.

"Did you have something to add to our conversation, Lawrence?" There is silence as a reply to Kazimir's words, silence and the rapid throb of Lawrence's heart in his chest. Kazimir nods slowly, motioning down to the ashes, "You're in charge of things here now, and I expect the schedule will be kept as precice as I would like." The old man begins to walk away, "Inform David that Alexis is no longer with us, and that I will be contacting him directly via satellite phone when I want the trucks shipped up." There's a pause in Kazimir's stride, even if momentary. "And, Lawrence?"

"Y-yes, sir?" The large man curls his fingers tightly against his palm, and even if Kazimir isn't looking at him, he tries to stand up straight, fearless and attentive like a good soldier.

"Send Alexi's wife and daughter my regards, and compensate her the remainder of his salary."


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November 18th: Accommodating
Previously in this storyline…

Next in this storyline…

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November 19th: ...Or I'll Sit In Your Lap
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