Alea Iacta Est Part 1


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Scene Title Alea Iacta Est, Part 1
Synopsis Kazimir and Adam run into each other on the edge of New York.
Date October 23, 2008

Verrazano-Narrows Bridge

The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge is a double-decked suspension bridge that connects the boroughs of Staten Island and Brooklyn in New York City at the Narrows, the reach connecting the relatively protected upper bay with the larger lower bay. Before the bomb, this vehicle-only suspension bridge spanned the divide between two boroughs as one of the major through-ways, but shortly after the bomb, this bridge, like many others were blockaded by Homeland Security and used as a Government-Personnel direct access route into the city. Only authorized emergency vehicles and government agencies were allowed passage across from Staten Island, as a measure of keeping emergency traffic flow free.

In the months following, the blockade remained despite the lack of necessity in the matter. By the beginning of 2007 it was deemed that the bridge would remain restricted to government vehicles indefinately until the majority of repair to Manhattan was completed. Currently both levels of the bridge are blocked on all but one lane by concrete dividers that, without the assistance of heavy lifting equipment, cannot be bypassed by vehicles. The bridge remains reserved for emergency use only, though in the beginning of 200, pedestrian traffic was authorized on the upper deck of the bridge between Staten Island and Brooklyn. Tresspassers on the lower deck could be detained by Homeland Security indefinately.

Still maintained and kept in solid working order for emergency use, the bridge is now one of the best ways in and out of Staten Island since the Staten Island Railway ceased operations shortly after the Bomb.

Late afternoon and the sun is shining — or, well. It's shining from behind the haze of ominous stormclouds that are gathering overhead, but whatever. Adam has places to be and people to talk to, and so he's walking across the upper level of the bridge towards Brooklyn. The edges of the man's suit (along with a few locks of his hair) flap a little bit in the wind that has begun to pick up, made worse by the openness of being atop a gigantic bridge; and it's actually beginning to get a little bit on the chilly side. All in all, however, the regenerator has faced worse, and unlike the rest of the stragglers traversing the bridge he faces the poor weather conditions without faltering.

It's only by coincidence that Adam Monroe passes by the person he does, leaning up against the guard-rail on the side of the bridge, hands tucked into his pockets with his cane hooked around one arm, head down and deep in thought. New York is an enormous city, and for a man who refuses the convenience of automobiles unless absolutely necessary, it makes for an often tired man. His features, to Adam, are unremarkable. A stone-faced old man with weathered skin and tired blue eyes, dressed in a black suit too fashionable to wear on the dangerous span between the crumbling Staten Island, and the crime-riddled Brooklyn.

The handful of other people braving the chill winds of the upper span of the bridge do so at considerable risk, with the muggers and rapists that find shelter on Staten Island, it is like a way-point between civilized society and the decaying underbelly of the city. It's the sound of a few raised voices across the bridge that cause Kazimir to look up, towards the sight of two men shouting at one another, one of them carrying a plastic bag full of cans. His brows knit together, an expression of discontent and disinterest. But it's that blonde hair in his peripheral vision, and his tailored suit that first earns Kazimir's focus.

To wear clothing as Adam is, in this part of the city, is to announce your wealth to any man capable of slinging a knife or drawing a gun. It's not so much the back of his retreating head that spurs Kazimir back onto his tired feet, but the swagger with which he walks, the way he carries himself. It's like seeing a ghost.

Black shoes hit the concrete walkway as he hustles to catch up, keeping just behind and to the side of the man he's following. Catching even a glimpse of his profile is enough to elicit a deep and level voice that lobs the name almost accusingly off of the tongue, "C — " Kazimir never falters in his speech, not until now. "Colonel Stewart?" A moment, as if trying to drudge up the name, "Colonel Charles Stewart?" It's not a voice familiar to Adam, but it is a name familiar to him. One generations left behind.

The name that is suddenly called out is a name that hasn't been in use since the German surrender in the May of 1945… and it's enough to stop Adam in his tracks. Turning on his heel, the regenerator stares back at the old man with a look in his eyes and on his face that is very nearly haunted, though it lasts but a moment. He clears his throat and knits his brow, frowning deeply at the stranger, crossing his arms over his chest. The man is watched for several seconds before the blonde turns to fully face him.

"I think you may have me mistaken for someone else, my friend. I'm called Adam." At least these days. "What can I do to help you, mm? Do you need directions? You seem rather out of place here, and the native population isn't kind to men who look as you do."

"Don't take me for some kind've bleary-eyed old crow," He keeps walking, even as Adam stops, "That's the same smile, the same eyes, the same attitude." He grips the cane with one hand, like a codgerly old man would to reprimand a child. But he doesn't raise his hand, and there's something in the back of those blue eyes that seems to stare thorugh Adam, hollowly, in that same haunted manner. "We both were on the front lines at the Battle of Dunkirk, we both saw what that Frenchman did to his subordinates." His hand grips the cane tightly, reconsidering his hesitation. "You know full well what happened to him when we brought him back for examination."

The light around the old man begins to grow dim, as if the sun was passing deeper behind the clouds. But it is not just a trick of light, the croaking screams of the two men who were fighting nearby begins to explain the situation in excruciating detail. "What I want to know…" The old man's brow lowers, and the two men collapse to the ground, writhing in agony as their bodies begin to turn gray and wrinkled, eyes shriveling in their sockets as swirling tendrils of darkness ebb to and from their bodies. Adam has seen this before, not quite like this, not from anything more than a touch, and the prickling sensation in his extremeties is a reminder of it. But just like before, it seems to have no effect — Save for that sinking feeling of his regeneration slowing as it struggles against the entropic energy eating away at it. "Is how you survived all this time…"

Adam's stare never breaks from Kazimir's. He doesn't even have to bear witness to the deaths of the other men on the bridge, because he can feel the hazily familiar pulling at the activity of his own life force. The blonde's eyes narrow and he purses his lips before letting out a clipped name, though it is more a statement: "Kazimir Volken."

And then there's a chuckle. "You old thing. I should've known you'd still be wandering about and blighting the earth with your presence." Rather than pull away in fear as many other men might have done, Adam uncrosses his arms. One hand props onto his hip, and the other is held outstretched towards the older-looking man as he starts walking, meaning to keep pace. "It has been a long time. How I survived is not of consequence. Call it a miracle of faith that has been in motion for longer than you could probably guess." His features, once tense, have eased their way into a familiar, easy smile. "You and I may have a bit of catching up to do. What're you doing these days?"

The shadows subside as the masks come off, but it's too late for the dessicated corpses on the bridge, ashen flakes lightly plucking from their skin as the wind picks up. His eyes wander to them, lips downturning into a mournful expression, but it takes him no more pause. He's seen enough deaths in his time, two more don't amount to much. As he turns back, footsteps carry him at an even pace with Adam, using his cane between each step. There's a suspicious, hesitant upkeep of the conversation. "Ever the charlatan…" He snorts out a reluctant laugh after the words, turning his head to the side to regard Adam again.

"You'll forgive my hesitance to just up and accept that you've been floundering through life…" His eyes narrow slightly, "Then again, we all have something of a story to tell…" Lips purse together, weathered and old, "I'm sure this wasn't the face you expected… let alone the era." His tone goes hollow, distant. It's not often there's as oul Kazimir can confide in, one that — to him — is like a peer. It's an odd feeling, disjarring and new.

Pfft. "Sauerkraut, you /should/ just accept it. I'm good at living and always have been, and don't intend to stop any time soon. You have certainly changed - and not for the better, by the look of it - but at least you're still here to tell the tale, unless this is an extremely elaborate prank." And Adam doesn't think that's the case at all. This encounter appears to be completely genuine. The Englishman stops talking for a few moments, contenting himself instead to walk wit his former confederate while pulling his hand back. It doesn't look like Kazimir's going to shake it, after all. "So. What's this decade got you occupied with?"

Kazimir pauses for a moment, looking to where the hand had been offered, then only gives a tempered stare to Adam. It's one crochety old look he's never managed to shake, and while it looks a bit more sullen than in his previous state, the withering glare is deflected away by Adam's longtime knowledge of the old war-dog. "I could ask you the same," But the point is, he doesn't. "I've been doing what we started. Carrying on the Work." His eyes narrow slightly, hesitating for just a moment before walking again. "I've become even more of a monster for it, but it comes with the territory it seems…" His jaw clenches, eyes diverting to the long road of the bridge ahead. "Why are you walking?"

It occurs to Adam that he and Kazimir didn't start the work when they met, since Adam had started it on his own quite a long time before that. But he doesn't mention it. It wouldn't serve any purpose but to antagonize needlessly, and in a way that isn't exactly related to silly nicknames. His gait has elongated into an easygoing and carefree stroll, both hands tucked away in his jacket pockets. "I'm walking because it's good for me. That, and I don't have a car. But mostly it's for the cardio. Tell me about your work."

Kazimir shakes his head, managing a rough grumble that could be construed as a laugh, some of his mannerisms haven't changed much in all these years. "Strength through destruction — Survival of the fittest." Blue eyes flit back to Adam, "After the Reich collapsed, I found myself in a precarious situation. Much as I imagine you did, but I took the way out of least resistance. What we did back in Germany was valuable, scientific research. The Americans paid by the pound for it, and in return I was exhonorated of whatever legal words they could have imagined for what we did back then."

The clink of the steel tip of Kazimir's cane punctuates every other footstep as he walks, like the rythmic tick of a meteronome. "Things have changed, over time. As they're prone to…" There's a distasteful tone to his voice, "I gave the Americans what they wanted, and they only became fearful of what I showed them. Some people went missing from my experiments that, perhaps in hind-sight, weren't wise to make so. They sent federal agents after me… and you behold the result." His head quirks to the side slightly, "It seems one Richard Santiago was unaware of just who he was entrating with death's embrace. And it appears I grabbed back."

After a moment of silence, though, Kazimir shakes his head, voice quieter. "My outlook on much has changed over the years. Perhaps it's resentment over myself," He looks up, "Over what we did in Germany. I'm beginning to see things in skewed patterns that aren't quite in line with the original plan… At least not in the end result."


October 23rd: Paper Frogs Like Cottage Cheese

Previously in this storyline…

Next in this storyline…

October 23rd: Alea Iacta Est, Part 2
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