Escape Route


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Scene Title Escape Route
Synopsis Drake and Rico reminisce about how they came to join the Vanguard, and also play with claymores.
Date December 16, 2008

Jersey City, Irradiated Zone - Wharves

"You know, I ain't never seen an opera." It's the first thing spoken between two disperate comrades in arms in the last hour. Walking down a narrow alley between two warehouses out on the Jersey City wharves, Drake Leeds carries a large plastic spool with fishing wire hooked around one arm. "S'not th'most manly thing t'do, but da' always want'd t'do opera singin'."

Behind him, a gruff and unshaven man follows, leading fishinig wire along one side of the aley, looping it through steel pitons driven into the metal siding of the warehouses. "That's not exactly manly, no." Rico raises both brows, then cracks a broad smile as he stops in place, letting the fishing wire continue to spool out as Drake keeps walking. "Mi padre," Rico snorts out two thin lines of smoke from both nostrils, shifting his cigarette to the other side of his mouth. "He was a man of simple pleasures." The south american soldier leans his back up against the warehouse wall, dark eyes following Drake as the former SAS agent continues down the alley to the end.

"Guns, knives, women." A rough, coarse laugh escapes Rico's lips before he draws in a slow, crackling breath. The drag on his cigarette causes the ember at the tip to glow a fiery orange before dimming as he lets the smoke waft slowly out of his opening mouth like some great smoldering beast's maw. "I take after him jes' a little."

Draks shakes his head slowly, snorting out an amused laugh at Rico's anecdote. "You don' seem like th'others." The observation is made casually, though in the back of Drake's mind it's a bit more glaring and sharp on the edges. Rico's gaze slips away from Drake at that observation, and his head tilts to the side slightly, teeth toying with the unfiltered end of the hand-rolled cigarette.

"Si," He mumbles, staring down at a waterlogged and warped old cardboard box half covered with a thin crust of ice and a dusting of snow. "Unlike the rest of you gringos, I did not join this for ideological purposes, or even revenge." Drake's eyes lift from the spool of fishing line, and his free hand moves to unsheath his combat knife from his vest, cutting his end of the line free before sheathing it once more. "I joined for money, an' power. I don' particularly care if the Evolved or whoever is in charge, as long as I make a cut of whoever's running the show, right?"

"So you're off to the highest bidder?" Drake crouches down and sets the spool by his feet, picking up the loose end of the fishing wire before threading it through the eyelet of one piton and then another, effectively making a difficult to see tripwire at one end of the alley.

"No." He states emphaticly, "I'd be an idiot to sell out from Volken. I don't need to be able to tell the future to know how that would end for me. I was just a little kid when I first met Kazimir, me padre was the leader of my group then, an' he was raising me to be his successor." One shoulder rolls as Rico steps away from the wall, tucking his hands into the pockets of his worn out old green jacket. "Kazimir was fleeding the government in the US, he killed some feds, so we were more than happy to bring him in. Most of our operation back then was Cuban, some Brazillians and Mexicans. Mi madre was Cuban, an' she hated the Americans. I grew up hating them too, so it was easy to sympathize with Kazimir. We didn't know — I still don't know where he really comes from, why he was in the states."

Drake shoots a glance at Rico, wordlessly suggesting that he has a few ideas, but doesn't vocalize any of them. Rico follows the path of the wire down the alley, his eyes never leaving it as he draws in another deep breath, letting that drooping ember and ashes at the end of his cigarette grow just a little longer, before gravity finally claims them for the ground. "Kazimir, he learned our ways pretty quickly; We help each other out. We soon learned of Kazimir's special gift, he stayed with us at the camp in Ñancahuazú. He helped us fight, and we did not question when bodies like the soldiers he killed appeared in other villages."

Unshouldering his backpack, Drake slowly unzips it as he listens to Rico's story, removing two squarish metal cases, one side marked this end towards enemy. "Ñancahuazú? You mean Kazimir— " Rico nods quietly, reaching up to pluck the cigarette from his lips and gesture with it.

"I was only six, so all I know is what mi padre told me of it. But yes, he was a part of the Ejército de Liberación Nacional de Bolivia." The cigarette is flicked to the ground, and then stepped on soundly. "The US Special forces attacked when Kazimir was away in Chile, and when he returned, the rebellion was over. Mi madre died in the attack, and mi padre was so badly wounded, he could no longer fight. That day, I could not be a boy any longer. Kazimir helped shape me into a man, taught me, trained me. He took care of mi padre and we took care of him. Found him people… special people, like himself."

"Guess we're not so diff'rent after all." Drake mumbles, hooking u the fishing line to the detonators of the claymores before placing them down into the snow and covering them over. "I was a top-notch member of the SAS, station'd in Afghanistan in '03, not the bes' time t'be out there." He lightly packs the snow down, and then zips his backpack closed, slinging it over one shoulder as he nods to move back down the alley from where they had come. Rico backpedals a few steps, then turns around, listening quietly.

"I was workin' with some 'mericans, intercepting radio transmissions from Al-Queda with some of their Spec-Ops. So, one night, we're set up in these god-forsaken bloody hills, nooks and crannies hiding snipers an' God knows what else in the dark. We come under fire, two of my boys an' one 'merican soldier go down in the haze. My fuckin' gun jams up, I can hear bullets crackin' on the rocks all 'round me. Then out of fuckin' nowhere someone fires an RPG, but not a'us, at the goddamned terrorists."

Rico arches one brow, head canting to the side as he fishes around in his jacket for a crinkling plastic bag filled with tobacco. The wind picsk up for a moment, blowing loose snow from the roofs of the adjacent warehouses, and Rico squints his eyes and tucks the bag back inside of his pocket. Too windy.

"We though'it was reinforcements, some otha' Spec-Ops in th'area. Turns out we w'right fuckin' wrong." Drake pauses to look back over his shoulder at Rico, settling the way his backpack hangs over it. "It was Ethan fucking Holden an' a couple of his lot. They didn't stop for fuckin' tea an' crumpets or anythin', just blew the fuck outta them terrorists and moved right in like they were on a mission." Rico is about to interject as Drake cuts him off, "— Yes, I bloody well know they likely were."

"So while we're sittin' down lickin' our wounds, there's a fuckin' firefight goin' on at the ridge. Me an' a couple of my buddies break off to go investigate, we didn't intend to get drawn in. But then we saw one of the fuckers who had been shooting off a rifle into our flank at the ambush jus'… throwin' fire 'roun like he was some kind'a circus juggler."

"That'd about make me piss my pants." Rico says with a crooked smile, "I mean, I was used to the idea of special people from when I was a little one. But to have it thrown at you like that," He shrugs away the last few words, and Drake only manages to smile at the notion.

"Close enough." Drake says with a laugh, coming to the end of the alley. "I lost it when m'buddies w'torched 'live by the son've a bitch." Drake's light eyes lower from Rico, down to the snow, then out towards the water beyond the warehouses and the wharves. "The rest's sort've a blur, but from what I remember Ethan tellin' me, I crushed th' fucker's skull with the butt of my rifle, after Ethan 'ad shot him dead." A croaking laugh escapes Rico from the notion of Drake losing his calm, and it earns a cold stare from the brit. "A lot's changed since then." He tries to make up for the lack of control, for how it makes him look.

Rico takes a step forward, slapping a hand on Drake's shoulder with another, louder laugh. He looks back down the alley, "Truth that." He agrees, and then in a more serious tone, "Six more claymores to lay." Drake manages a hint of a smile, nodding his head at the hand on his shoulder.

"Right." Back to work.

December 16th: Or Bury Your Head

Previously in this storyline…

Next in this storyline…

December 16th: A Caricature of Vigilantism
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