Give A Man A Rope...


hans_icon.gif kazimir_icon.gif rico_icon.gif

Scene Title Give a Man a Rope…
Synopsis Kazimir visits Hans to observe the assembly of Drake's christmas present, and learns of Rico's reluctance.
Date December 30, 2008

Jersey City, Irradiated Zone — Waterfront Warehouse

Unseasonably warm weather has given way to the chill climes of winter once more across New York. Just beyond the cold span of the Hudson, Jersey City is not exempt from the blanket of fresh snow frosting the buildings and covering the unplowed streets. Far from the "reclaimed" blocks of the irradiated city, the snow and ice is not as undisturbed as an abandoned city should appear, and the telltale packing of many feet dirty pristine white with the brown and gray of mud and slush.

"Sir." Two men in unmarked gray uniforms bow their heads in unison as a lone silhouette moves like a specter through the open bay doors of an occupied warehouse. It is not operating even under pretenses of abandonment any longer, as close to one hundred men work over the sounds of cutting torches, grinders and the noise of a full construction crew.

The click of a cane interspersed between the tap of hard-soled shoes is swallowed by the noise of so many workers, but the once poorly illuminated silhouette is revealed in the flaring light of spot welders working; showers of sparks raining down from an eight foot high scaffolding erected around some mechanical hulk of steel and iron.

"Herr Volken!" A much more muscular and toned man calls out, removing a welding mask as he drops down from the scaffolding. Hans lands in a crouch, slowly rising up as a pair of workers behind him lead an automotive crane with a portion of a tremendously large engine across the warehouse floor behind him.

Kazimir stops, blue eyes scanning over the unfinished machine, and then up to Hans. His stony exterior remains stoic and silent as he makes an approach, "It's coming along nicely." Those blue eyes track to three freight crates on the other side of the warehouse, and to the soldiers unloading disassembled components off of it. "How much longer until it is combat operational?"

Hans' eyes move from Kazimir to the soldiers, then up to the long barrel of a tank gun being raised up on chains by a hydraulic winch. "A week, give or take." His voice does not shift from the terse and tense tone, eyes directed back to Kazimir as his hands fold behind his back and shoulders square.

"You're ahead of schedule." Kazimir's eyes narrow slightly, and though his expression seems displeased, it does not reach his measured and level grumble of his rough voice. "How are your subordinates handling their assignments?"

"Efficiently." It is the highest form of praise Hans can give, though for all of the years Kazimir has known the young soldier, he can tell when there is uncertainty in his expression and in his words. Likewise, Hans can see the expectance in Kazimir's blue eyes, the lack of acknowledgment of his single word answer as sufficient.

"There is…" Hans begins to walk, moving past Kazimir slowly, and the gray-haired old man turns his shoulders and then languidly his whole body to move into step at Hans' side, "…one issue."

A single gray brow rises in expecant reaction to Hans' choice of words — Issue. "I spoke with King," The young Russian continues, "about his concerns on Velasquez's loyalties." The words cause Kazimir to pause in his stride, turning to look back at the tank under assembly, then up towards the second floor walkway where a grizzled man in a black beret lounges against the railing on folded arms, smoking a cigar.

"Rico?" For once, Kazimir seems honestly surprised, turning his focus down to Hans, letting his voiced concern linger in the air.

"When King and Rico were finishing the roundup of test subjects for the virus," Hans paces anxiously away from where Kazimir stands, peering out the open bay doors to the lightly falling snow in the otherwise abandoned industrial complex, "Rico seemed to be doubting the outcome of the Work, he had reservations on what would be left when we are done." From the tone of Hans' voice, he has no such concerns.

Kazimir nods slowly, letting his eyes close partway. There's a mild disappointment in his expression, one that — visible as it is — brings pause to Hans. "Have I spoken out of line, Sir?"

"No." Kazimir's voice quiets some, and he looks back up to Rico wordlessly at this long distance. "No, Hans, you've performed admirably." Gripping his cane tightly, the leader of the Vanguard swallows dryly and scans the warehouse once more, looking for someone he does not find. "Where is Ellinka?"

Hans hesitates, just a beat, before answering. "She… She's at her perch, keeping an eye on the city." Nodding slowly, Kazimir takes a step towards Hans, reaching out with a gloved hand to rest it on his lieutenant's shoulder. Too far out of Hans' peripheral vision, the soldier misses the black and brown mottled spider that scurries from his sleeve to crawl across Hans' shoulder and then up under the collar of his uniform.

"Get back to work." Kazimir intones in a hushed voice, slowly moving his gloved hand away once the spider has found its way under the soldier's collar. "Let me know if anything else comes up."

Hans arches one brow, then nods slowly, his eyes lingering on Kazimir's only as long as he can bare to meet the man's icy gaze. The bow of his head is both silent acknowledgment of both his orders, and the end of this meeting.

From the second-floor walkway, Rico's cigar is plucked from his lips, pinched between his forefingers and thumb before being tossed down to the ground below.

It lands with a few sparks, before the ember on the tip cools and turns an ashen gray.

December 30th: No Right To Complain

Previously in this storyline…
I Dream of Kazimir

Next in this storyline…
...and He'll Hang Himself

December 30th: ...and He'll Hang Himself
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