Final Iteration, Part I


iago_icon.gif kazimir5_icon.gif raith_icon.gif

Scene Title Final Iteration, Part I
Synopsis Kazimir attempts to evacuate Cerro de Hierro Negro with Raith, but both are waylaid when Iago has plans of his own concerning the destruction of the Argentina Vanguard.
Date December 31st, 2009

Argentina: Cerro de Hierro Negro

It's an average day for Cerro de Hierro Negro — but extraordinary days usually start off that way. But for one little raptor robot, it's all very much average.

Its clawed feet of steel click and clack against the cement ground, steering a path down a hallway at a steady, need we say robotic pace. Dim as the hallway is, seeming like its cut from the very same black stone this montain is named for, its twin points of light where its eyes would be glow bright, but remain relatively unseeing as a small group of militia men march on down the hallway, talking quietly. It pauses, briefly, lifting its head to allow video recording to sweep on over them, from their militant garb, the guns in their hands, familiar faces, and Iago moving up the back. The group moves past it, splitting and dividing and paying so much heed to the raptor as they might furniture.

Robots don't have learned instincts that aren't programmed into it, so it doesn't think to avoid the careless kicking to its rickety side from a foot made of metal when Iago crosses it by. It staggers to the left, sparks flying, scrabbling to right itself. By the time it's steady once more, the men and their leader have all but disappeared.

Just another day.

The robot continues its pace, now with a slight waver in its step, veering into the wall once at a faulty turn of its foot before getting back on course. Some few minutes later, there's the sound of brisk foot steps, and once again, the raptor bot stops, and lets its gaze track over who comes around the corner.

Stepping out from a doorway after Iago's pass, Kazimir Volken's darkly dressed silhouette moves with a serpentine grace. His head cocks to the side, regarding Iago's back. In one black-gloved hand, team Alpha's SatCom dvice is held, thumb sliding across a power down switch, turning the touch screen black. He watces Iago only a moment longer, before turning down the corridor in the opposite direction, tucking the SatCom into his pocket as he makes his way five doors down, knocking on the outside frame. It's not quite a slow knock, there's some urgency in it, and Kazimir does not wait before pushing the door open and stepping inside.

"Raith," he calls out to the room, blue eyes averted down to his pocket and the device as it slips out of sight, "I think you and I should go for a brisk walk. The…" He finally looks up, one brow arched, looking in now with considerable pause.

The… simple fact is that Peter might be taken aback by what he sees. Raith is not engaging is some exotic exercise regime. He is not tinkering with one of the many robots that can be found about the facility. He is not trying to lasso a tiny raptor. He is not trying to turn spare parts into a cappucino machine. He is not doing anything other than quietly sitting and apparently doing nothing until he looks out to meet Peter's gaze. But he doesn't waste any time. Already dressed, save for missing his fatigue top and being stuck with only a black sleeveless shirt, he requires no more preparation other than snatching up his sunglasses.

"How brisk are we talking, boss?"

"Brisk." Kazimir reiterates, both brows lifting as he walks into the room and shuts the door behind himself. Scanning for raptorbots in the room, he takes a few more paces in, hands folding behind his back. Once sure nothing in the room is listening aside from Raith — who is disturbingly paying attention for once — Kazimir still drops his voice when he speaks. "The United States military has been led to believe that team Alpha has been routed and the Vanguard are in control of Cerro de Hierro Negro. They are going to launch a tactical air-strike against this location, and judging from information I've been able to glean from the SatCom, they're launching today."

A blue eyes look is cast over his shoulder to the door with a twist of his body, then back to Raith. "We need to get Hector and ourselves out of here before we become a permanent part of the landscape." A gloved hand is lifted, fingers rubbed together. "If this works out, Alpha will be on their way here, and we can reconnoiter with them and make our escape. If not, well…" Kazimir's brows crease together, the scarring on his brow furrowing further, "hopefully Hector has a jetpack somewhere."

"I wouldn't put it passed him," Raith replies flatly. The is no room for jokes now, not when they might be bombed back to Vietnam. "Three questions. Where is he, how long do we have, and will we be needing weapons?" The urgency in Raith's voice is apparent, regardless of how level it is as he speaks. At the very least, Kazimir can be certain - completely, 100% certain - that whatever it is that needs to be done, Raith is ready and able to do it.

That gloved hand reaches out, resting on Raith's shoulder and giving a squeeze. It's a show of trust the old Kazimir used, showing restraint on his part by the thin layer of leather between life and death, and trust from his operatives not to recoil from the notion of Kazimir reaching out for them. Maybe it's the same now, maybe it's not. "I'm not sure where he is," Kazimir admits, letting the hand fall away as he turns back towards the door, letting his hands both fold behind his back again as he starts to walk towards the exit of the room.

"I don't know how much time we have, but assume half of the itme necessary to escape." Which is pragmatic Volken-speak for hustle. "And as for weapons…" there's a furrow of Kazimir's brows, and somehow he seems to manage a smile as he looks over his shoulder to Raith, pushing the door open with one hand at the same time. "Oh, I have a feeling we may need more than good looks."

"Fantastic," is all Raith has to say about that. Whatever the hand on his shoulder means now, he doesn't recoil from it. Either he trusts Peter - Kazimir - or he just understands that neither of them will get out alive without the other. "And of course, we don't have time to get hardware and Hector, but we still have to without attracting attention. I hope you have a brilliant plan."

As the two step out into the hallway, it's the sounds of their own footsteps that echo in their ears, and their quiet conversation. Always there's the continual whir and hum of machinery, the occasional patter of robot feet, although this time, the stretch of hallway they move down is free of anyone but themselves. Finding Hector is something of a feat, considering the amount of rooms within the expansive bunker have been converted into varieties of work shops and storage for scrap, but let it never be said that Kazimir Volken doesn't always have a brilliant plan.

But there's always what is said about the best laid plans too.

They plunge into darkness with a sound of humming electricity whining to a halt, more stark in its absence than it is in its presence as silence suddenly fills their ears. It lasts for all of two seconds, before emergency lights suddenly glow orange from the corners of the ceiling, casting just enough light to throw everything in Halloween contrast of black shadow and orange illumination. The lights flash on and off, a continual rhythm between its half-light and pitch shadow.

In the same motion, there's the sound of footsteps beating war drums against the concrete, and one end of the hallway fills with figures - three men banking around the corner and bearing down on them at a march. Even with their vision half-stripped, Raith and Peter will be able to recognise the semi automatics pointing their way. From the other side of the hallway, there's the sound of something metal rattling and slamming into place.

Dark brows crease at the drop in lighting, Kazimir takes a moment of silence to consider the orange lights as they come snapping on. Swallowing audibly, he reaches up one hand to adjust the black necktie at his throat, seeing the soldiers coming down the hall. There's a sharp clearing of his throat, and a murmur to Raith. "Stand behind me," he intones with a quirk of his brow, "…and find out what that ah, is behind us."

Taking a step forward, keeping himself as much as he can between the soldiers and Raith, Kazimir does his level best to presume innocence, one gloved hand raised as if to command the soldiers to halt in their place. "What is going on?" He asks with a quirked brow. "Why was I not notified that we were under attack?" Then, playing as if he only just now noticed the guns, Kaizmir narrows his blue eyes. "What, exactly do you think you're doing?"

Kazimir is the man with the plan, or at least that is the hope. Raith has no issues with standing behind him; their potential assailants are more likely to listen to him, anyway. Of more pressing concern is the other sound, and without any prompting, Raith turns his head to look behind them. Almost certainly, it was a door closing and blocking them in.

A cage, actually, that has come down. The black bars that have rattled down in to corner the two men in, striking black lines in all the flashing orange, and as shadow descends once more, and then lifts, Iago Ramirez's form comes into being, a dark silhouette beyond the bars heralded by the sound of his boot coming into contact with the concrete floor, and then the metal clang of his other foot connecting with it in limping rhythm. He halts, brings the tip of a cigar to flickering lighter flame, head angled to snare the other end between teeth. Soon, billowing white smike is whirling through the air around him, its acrid scent enough to reach the nostrils of Kazimir and Raith.

He says nothing, because the leader of the three men is talking. "We're under attack," he informs Kazimir, blandly, gun not moving from where it's aimed towards the slender man's torso. "«But we figure, you might already know.»"

"«Master.»" That isn't Spanish, actually, Iago's graveled voice wrapping around German as easily as it might be his native tongue. "«You tell me, what I am to make of a disappearing President. Of a servant who serves another. The device I took from the military base gone missing. I am having trouble coming to a conclusion.»"

Indignation is called for as Kazimir takes a step forward, tie straightened and hands returning to his pockets. "You think this my doing? Do you so easily forget everything we have been through, Iago? Forget so easily the stories I told you of the dangers those cursed like I present? Did you not learn anything from the Wolf that took my life? That those you often trust the most can betray you? I think it is obvious what has happened, Iago."

Tilting his head to the side, Kazimir removes a hand from his pocket, holding up the SatCom, waggling it back and forth in the air. "I found this in Braxton's room, connected to an American military frequency. Jensen and I were actually on our way to find him when you…" Blue eyes look from Iago to his men, and back, "delayed us?"

"I think it is clear. Braxton has betrayed you, I told him what we had planned, what was coming. He knows of the Flood and it is clear that he does not have the fortitude to persist. He sees the time of his usefulness dwindling, and he has comitted himself to some fool-headed plan to save himself." The SatCom is tossed in the air towards Iago.

"Why don't we go see what he has to say about this?"

A hand goes out, between bars, and seals fingers around the device thrown towards him. In the blink on and off of orange lights, Iago's expression remains guarded and thoughtful as he studies the man he'd call Master, as if there could be more sign than the lambent blue of his eyes. Steps back from the bars, rolling the small cellphone in his palm, before it's tossed right back — it bounces, clatters against concrete and slides to a halt between where Raith and Kazimir stand. "You would all betray me," he states, lips pulling back to show teeth in the way dogs do when snarling. "These jungles are mine. You think you can hide what goes on in them, and you are wrong."

From his pocket, no bigger than his lighter, a silvery device is extracted, casing slid back and thumb pressing down on a small screen that seems to scan the print photographed there, all done as casually as Iago takes a shallow breath of cigar smoke. The sound of klaxons begins to wail, distant enough that they can hear each other, but unmistakeable, coming from all around. "But you were right — it is a time of change. This mountain will be no more, and if you are true, you will live. Kazimir will live."

Iago bangs the side of his fist once against the bars standing between he and everyone else, a chin up to Jensen. "«No hard feelings.»" Then, a gesture towards the three gunmen, who only step closer as Iago turns to walk away.

"«So you know,»" the leader of the threesome states, quietly. He's older than the other two, scarred, silver shot through his hair, but obviously capable. "«If you are Kazimir Volken, this will be a pleasure. You destroyed everything we were, scattered Iago's men who would have followed him to the death, all for you. If you are the last mutant filth I kill, I will die a happy man.»"

"«Help us and we can spare you,»" another says of Raith, all three guns currently trained on Peter.

Blue eyes turn razor thin as Kazimir swallows dryly, breathing out a slow exhalation of breath through his nostrils. Jaw set and brows furrowed, he watches Iago's retreat with that steely acceptance of what has come, listening to the creak of his mechanical knee in every other step. There is a steeliness in his expression, a downturn of one side of his lips into a lopsided frown, and the creak of leather from his gloves. In a way, it is the posture of a man prepared to accept the execution of a firing squad with chin held high.

"«He is otherwise employed.»" Kazimir reiterates in Spanish once Iago is well out of sight. The scarred man's posture may also be reminiscent of a man commanding a firing squad, readying himself to make the call to execution. The tendrils of living shadow slithering out from beneath his clothing, visible only when the yellow security lights flash on, is his waved hand to signal.

Down the hall, the sound of raucous gunfire is heard, the staccato pop of small arms fire that should be the end of both prisoners, there should not be screams, horrified and terrible screams coming from down the hall, ones that start wet and throaty and end in dry, crackling death rattles.

Amid the pulsing yellow-orange security lighting, Kazimir's brows furrow, looking down to the bullet holes in his black suit, to the charred ashen holes sealing shut with wisps of black smoke, and to the crumbling blackened bones draped inside of military uniforms on the other side of the bars. A bullet is spat out from his abdomen, landing in a mushroom-flattened blunt on the ground with a click.

"I did not plan on a cage." Kazimir admits with a squint of his eyes, looking at the ashen corpses on the other side of the bars, tendrils of black slithering back into his body as he turns to regard Raith behind him. "That's twice now."

Raith is still behind Kazimir, of course, although he had the good sense to put more distance between when the gunfire started, just in case. "Yeah, I'm noticing a pattern," he remarks. But that's all he has to say about the cage as he turns his attention fully to their predicament. "I've been in worse than this," he says, "Admittedly, the cage last time had a lock I could pick." But no matter; trapped though they may be, Raith immediately sets to work searching for another way out. No fortress is truly impregnable.

Fortunately for the two men, the slamming shut of the caged door, with no visible locking mechanism they can see, has only slammed shut on one end of the hallway. Unfortunately, it redirects their route deeper into the mountain, the sound of klaxons only growing louder as the orange flashes on and off, granting them a few seconds of illumination in between periods of darkness. The doors they past, reinforced steel, remain clamped shut off from the smaller rooms, and almost in what seems to be an arbitrary pattern, hallways are sealed off in that same barred manner, as if funneling them in a certain direction.

The dusty remains of the gunmen lay strewn and neglected on the hallway floor, just as wee metal feet click click click through it. A metal nose bends down, nudges at a bleached dry bone that falls apart. Then, the creature takes off at a run.

Upon steering around a corner in an attempt to find out, Raith and Kazimir are greeted with a dozen unblinking eyes clustered at the far end of the hallway, all illuminated green. One by one, they bleed into glowing red. The sight of yet another barred door beyond the creatures is probably enough to deter them to try another route — if not, then the sudden stampede of steel feet clawing the ground might be enough to do so.

Frozen in his tracks at the sight of those glowing eyes in the darkness, Kazimir's blue eyes grow wide against the strobing warning lights. He holds out one gloved hand, two fingers raised, maybe to order Raith to a halt, perhaps he has another genius plan to escape from the perdition they've found themselves in. The hissing breath he lets slither past his teeth says otherwise, "Run."

"Run!" Kazimir turns sharply on his heels, hard-soles shoes clacking on the concrete floor as he sprints just a few paces past Jensen, panic in his eyes. "Run!" Sprinting from the clatter of metal feet click-ticking across the ground, there are few things that could have driven him to this reaction. Any man is little of a match for Kazimir's power, provided he's prepared himself for the battle. But robotsfucking robots — they don't bleed, they don't wither, they don't die and worst of all they don't get tired.

No, he's fresh out of plans.

It is unnecessary for Kazimir to tell Raith that he needs to run. If things continue going the way they are, it's far more likely he'll be telling Raith to slow down and wait for him. "This is the worst plan you have ever had!" he shouts, "You are not invited to my birthday anymore!"

What was brisk scurrying to find an exit out turns into a race, the scraping sound of metal shoulders jostling together and the patter of metal clawed feet coming closer and closer on their heels. The lay out of the mountain has become a maze, with new dead ends and flashing light and darkness, the continual scream of warning klaxons filling their ears. Raith is pounding on ahead of Kazimir, and so it's the latter that rather suddenly feels light metal claws dig into his back, a sudden piercing feel of a needle stabbing his shoulder with a shrill metallic cry from the creature. Numbing chemical flows from that point out, blossoms icily under his skin, but the critter easily slips off once it makes its attack, tumbling with a clatter.

And they just keep going.

Up ahead, there's the sudden whir of machinery, and in the flashing orange light, both Raith and Kazimir can see a steel door abruptly descending at an excrutiatingly slow pace. Considering the lack of options, it can only spur them on further, feet slipping on concrete and the creatures leaping after them. It can go like a countdown, three, two, one, and in those final moments, both men manage to roll under the closing door, just in time for one raptor bot to find itself crushed under its descent, allowing only an inch of space from where the door can't completely shatter its strong spine.

Staring red eyes die, and the tik tik tik of claws on the other side reach the men's ears before the sound becomes distant, the stampede of wee raptors taking off in a new direction upon the sealing of the door.

But they aren't alone.

The now familiar patter of a single raptor bot turns the corner, and stops and stares at them, eyes glowing bright green and the dust of dead men still on its snout. Its tail waves to and fro as it regards them, then, in an abrupt, jerky hop, it turns its back. Insect like, it twists its head back at them, green eyes bright, as if to propose: come with me if you want to live.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License