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The Secret City/1

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It was quite late when the train arrived to Moscow. With a pained moan Alexei stretched his legs to start the circulation. He spent day and a half sitting on a hard floor of the cargo car, but a smile spread across his face. He was coming home. After 3 years away he was back in Moscow.

He waited patiently for the others to leave and jumped down to help a lady with a child to get down. He waved her thanks away and with a mock salute slung his bag on the shoulder and started towards the station building.

He was surprised to see so many policemen around, but decided it was better to leave the questions for later when he was back at Yelena's apartment.

A quick pat of his jacket pockets assured him that he really was out of cigarettes. He scanned the surroundings and spotted a policeman smoking. With a smile he headed that way and saluted casually.

"Comrade, might I trouble you for a cigarette? I've been in that blasted train for a day and a half and am fresh out. The best thing about the Red Army on offensive is that you never lack cigarettes. Even if they are made in Germany. So, what do you say? Spare one for the soldier on his way home?"

--Kerensky


The policeman only offered a passing glance to Alexei as he approached. His face was quite young, but his eyes showed a much greater age. Unblinking and observant, he allowed only enough of a connection to portray he heard the soldier speak.

Looking over Alexei's shoulder, he reached into his breast pocket and pulled a pack Crimean blend cigarettes. Flicking his wrist, one popped its head out of the package for easy retreival. Once the cigarette was removed, he took one for himself. Lighting first Alexei's he lit his own and took a thoughtful drag, all the while keeping his eyes on the passengers of the train as they left.

"You fought the Germans?" He asked.

His accent was Balkan, perhaps Serbian or Croatian.

--Laveaux 09:19, 9 December 2005 (CST)


Alexei took a long pull of the smoke and breathed out with his eyes closed.

"It is a bad habit I know, but it feels so good. You ask if I fought the Germans. Well, you could say that. I was with the 16th Rifle Division and leter got transfered to 6th Guards. I saw my share of the killing. Even been at the Berlin in the end. Artillery pounded them for days and still they crawled out from the holes and fought. And then when it was over I was told that we shall remain in Berlin to protect it from British and American troops. Been there almost two years. Finally going home. Or rather my sisters home since my own was destroyed by the Germans. Lost both parents in the fighting. But, I ramble. Tell, me what is new in Moscow? I always liked the State Circus, but I heard that the Germans destroyed it back in 1941. Did they ever rebuild it? I sure would like to go there for a show."

Alexei chatted away oblivious to the policeman's obvious disinterest. He was home and nothing could change the way he felt. And though he was eager to see Yelena, he still liked the conversation. Even one sided as this one was so far.

--Kerensky


"Yes, the circus proceeds. It was the will of the people to be entertained in their dark hour."

The man took a heavy pull and then said as he exhaled, "You would be pleased to visit Gorky Park. These are good days upon us. The people will have a year like none other."

The policeman changed his tone suddenly and for the first time made eye contact, "You are a soldier. Do you see this man behind you? He has blond hair, a simple black suit and blue eyes. Look, but do not be noticed. Tell me what is wrong with this man."

As indicated, a man fitting that description left the train. He carried a violin case a shoulder bag, and was smoking a cigarette with a filter. A newspaper under his arm could not be identified at their distance. He looked to all corners of the station and began walking away.

--Laveaux 09:19, 9 December 2005 (CST)


Alexei turned to his shoulder and pretended to wipe some dirt from his jacket. His eyes flicked to the side and he scanned the man policeman pointed out. It was a mere second or so before he turned back.

He waited a few seconds before he spoke.

"At first glance nothing. But, the man looked everywhere. So, he is either looking for someone or is making sure he is not being watched. Probably the second. For, if he was looking for someone or if someone was supposed to be waiting for him, he would have stayed and waited. Now, if he was guilty of something he would have evaded police, but he did not keep his eyes on you. So, he does not fear the police, but someone else. But, he did not seek police protection and that puzzles me."

He smiled and took another pull from the cigarette.

"Am I close?"

--Kerensky


The policeman smiled and continued smoking.

"Perceptive. You were good in your trade, comrade. This man is not afraid of the police. The public police. It is the others he looks for. He carries very important information from our allies. This man is bringing information to an enemy."

Pausing to smoke he continued, "If you are interested you can come with me and see the police at work serving the people."

Last edited by Laveaux on Mon Apr 18, 2005 9:31 pm; edited 2 times in total

--Laveaux 09:19, 9 December 2005 (CST)


"Let us go. I did not fight for this country for six years to allow someone to sell it to filthy foreigners. As for being good, I would not be alive if I weren't good. Every tree could hide an SS sniper. But, let us talk later. Rodina (fatherland) comes first."

Alexei threw the cigarette to the ground and snuffed it out with his shoe. Motioning for the policeman to proceed he adjusted the straps of his backpack and felt the knife hidden under his jacket.

Last edited by Kerensky on Tue Apr 19, 2005 9:44 am; edited 1 time in total

--Kerensky


The policeman started a brisk walk to catch up to the man, as he jogged up a staircase exiting the station. As he went, he introduced himself, "I am Pyotr, pleasure to meet a soldier of the people."

His calculating blue eyes followed the perpetrator up the stairs and although he did not run after him, his pace was brisk.

"We are backing them up," he explained quietly.

The stairs took a thin crowd of people from the artful station into a windy, snow-flurried cold night above. The air bit exposed skin and eyes instinctively squinted to avoid the chill. Outside, the snow-littered streets were free of cars and very nearly free of pedestrians.

The blond man quickly looked around, pausing in his step. There was a a couple walking the streets arm in arm, an older man watching the domed skyline of Moscow and another gentleman sitting on a bench on the sidewalk of the street.

The man half glanced behind where they were standing and then forward. His face melted into panic. Suddenly falling into a sprint, he dropped everything but the violin case. The man on the bench and the couple immediately charged after him, as did Pyotr.

--Laveaux 09:19, 9 December 2005 (CST)


Alexei started running as well, but kept back a few paces. This was police business and although he was asked to help, only one man knew what he was doing. But, still he tried to keep up in case the police needed help.

He slowed down and scooped the newspaper man was carrying and then continued his run. It was possible that the man was just luring the police away while his accomplice picked up the real documents.

Even, though it was cold outside, Alexei just narrowed his eyelids. He was used to the cold and snow. He remembered the days he spent in the open waiting for the Germans to come. The day he received the news of his parents death. The day he was recruited. The day he was told he had to remain in Germany. The day German sniper killed Sergeant Kivarov spraying blood all over his face. And then he redoubled his efforts and ran after the traitor.

--Kerensky


The chase went for several blocks, but the man running seemed quite athletic, able to keep a steady pace ahead of them. Now in a warehouse district, he had better places to escape the pursuit. The man took a sudden left and scaled a chain link fence hopping effortlessly to the other side. The couple split up, the woman maintaining pursuit and the man went to circle the block.

Pyotr and Alexei reached the fence at about the same time, but the two secret policemen behind were not too far behind. Alexei had yet to be winded, however his companion was already breathing loudly.

On the other side of the fence, the perpetrator ducked into an alleyway behind two three-storey windowless warehouse buildings.

--Laveaux 09:19, 9 December 2005 (CST)


With a quick glance behind his shoulder, Alexei noted the winded policeman. He shrugged slightly and then leapt at the fence without slowing down. The newspapers he picked were folded in his pocket and were safe for the moment.

With a slight alarm he remembered that the fugitive might be armed and noted the fact that all he had was a knife. In a run, he scanned the ground looking for a piece of rock or some other suitable object he could throw at a man if need presented itself.

As he neared the corner, Alexei was prepared to jump to the side at any sign of danger.

--Kerensky


Landing in an explosion of snow, Alexei's ankles were jarred, but only causing enough pain to hesitate. Scrambling back into a run it was now evident he was the closest one to the perpetrator. Reeling around the corner, he spotted a pile of wood on the side of the warehouse. Picking up a club-sized piece of wood as he went he spotted the target kicking open the backdoor to the warehouse.

Alexei's suspicions were confirmed when he was suddenly faced with a drawn pistol. The man let loose two wild fires that landed nowhere near him and then barrelled into the warehouse.

--Laveaux 09:19, 9 December 2005 (CST)


Alexei flinched at the sight of pistol, but continued after the traitor. Now it was personal. And besides the man was a lousy shot. He hefted the piece of wood in his hand and rushed to the warehouse door. But, instead of rushing straight in, Alexei waited for a second or two. Ex-soldier took a long breath and backed up a few step and then ran into the door

But, before the door even started to open he was already rolling on the ground letting first his shoulder and then his back open the door to let him through. At the end of the roll he quickly scanned the surroundings and had the piece of wood at the ready. As soon as he saw the man from the station the wood was flying towards the unsuspecting victim.

But, even if the man was hiding Alexei was prepared. He even anticipated that. He was ready to roll into the first cover if more than a second passed before he detected the traitor.

--Kerensky


A dense thud resonated through his shoulder as the door buckled underneath the momentum. His spine absorbed the remainder of the shoulder roll and now properly dispersed the pain fleeted into a distant ache. On his feet now, the darkness inside betrayed his senses.

Streetlights betrayed the perpetrator, however and his pale skin reflected enough of the light to disclose his position, not 5 meters from where Alexei stood. The board went airborne and in the next moment the man collapsed into a pile of wooden crates letting out a muffled cry as he went.

Eyes now adjusting to the warehouse a sea of storage presented itself. Crates stacked three stories in neat aisles surrounded them. The man could not have run farther then 5 meters before hitting the wall of crates he just fell into.

In the dim light it was difficult to tell if he was conscious and if he still carried the gun.

--Laveaux 09:19, 9 December 2005 (CST)


Alexei smiled as the wood hit the tractor and let a short cry of triumph as he struggled to regain his feet. His left knee creaked and a stab of pain shot through his calf and thigh. It took him a moment to adjust to the darkness and then Alex was on the move again.

He did not like people who wore weapons and shot him, so he had to make sure that the stranger was out cold. Half a dozen running steps and a leap were measured to bring him there as soon as possible. Ex soldier extended his left hand and drew back his right. His eyes searched for the man's head and as soon as his left hand touched the other man's clothing he would swing his right. The momentum of the leap and a swing which Alexei timed so as not too hit the man too hard and hurt his own hand. But, the impact should be enough to knock anyone unconscious.


Alexei took temporary flight as he leapt over the warehouse floor. The darkness radiating around him he could see only the faint glow of the downed man's face below him. Landing did not go as elegantly as his shoulder roll, however. Snow having been drug in by the perpetrator already melted to slush. As Alexei landed he lost his footing and tumbled forward ontop of the enemy.

The man grunted and tossed Alexei off with his shoulders and the ex-soldier tumbled onto his back. The perpetrator recovered his stance and gripped the back of his neck painfully. In the next moment he would bolt into the darkness.

--Laveaux 09:29, 9 December 2005 (CST)


Alexei did not expect to fall, but luckily did not get hurt when he hit the ground. And the man was obviously an amateur in this. And Alexei did not survive the war by being and amateur.

He rolled onto his left side and lashed with his right leg aiming roughly at the fugitives knee. At the same time his right hand darted behind his back and found the grip of his old bayonet.

Using the momentum of the kick he pivoted onto his left knee and started to rise as the knife flashed in his hand. The man might run, but if Alexei could hurt his legs then he would not be able to run fast enough. A knife stab into the man's thigh would slow him down enough for the others to catch up to them.

--Kerensky


The Soviet Union trained her soldiers to war without the benefits of a wealthy nation. In the Berlin invasion, most of it was fought eye-to-eye on the streets in an urban setting. Unfortunately for the perpetrator, Alexei was bread in this tradition. A western soldier would lose all notions of combat with vision or firearms, but this one knew just where to strike.

The two-part move ended with the man buckling under the weight of Alexei's boot and with the ex-soldier in stance gripping a bayonet. The rough sole the boot did little to help the unfortunate fellow who crumbled to the ground with a wailing grunt.

It only took seven pounds of pressure to break a kneecap.

He was subdued, throwing his arms in the air, dropping the case, and saying in broken Russian, "Please ... no..."

--Laveaux 09:29, 9 December 2005 (CST)


The soldier was surprised to hear the crack of the man's knee. He did not know the strike was that hard, but accepted the fact easily. If the strike was not that successful, it would have been followed with the knife stab anyway. This just made the whole business less bloody.

As the man raised his hands in surrender, Alexei felt revulsion.

"You disgust me traitor. Not, so brave now that you no longer hold the gun. Don't worry. I won't hurt you anymore if you don't do anything stupid. Just roll onto your stomach and keep your hands on the back of your head. One wrong move and I will gut you like a fish."

He had no intention of doing it, but the man did not know that. As the traitor complied, Alexei slowly walked to him and kept the knife at the ready.

"Tell me now. Why did you do it? And for what? Money? What? And what is so important to betray your motherland? Who or what could make you betray what I and hundreds of thousands of other Russians fought for? Betray those millions of dead? Or better yet, save it for the police. I don't want to know. Just lay still and don't move a lot."

With one hand Alexei loosened his belt and pulled it out so he could tie the man's hands behind his back.


--Kerensky


"Please ...", the man continued to beg, "I'm not traitor. I'm man of business..." his Russian sounded terrible, "I'm American... please..."

He obeyed, rolling onto his stomach, tears rushing down his face as he moved his leg with the broken joint.

"I'm just doing my job..." he said trying to answer Alexei's passionate questions, "I swear ... I am not a spy... I work for a company. For an oil company..."

He offered little resistance to his hands being bound, melting into a weeping mass of flesh.

The sound of clapping sounded from behind as the entourage of police arrived in the doorway. The couple and unmarked policeman jogged up, one man slapping an appreciative hand on Alexei's shoulder. Pyotr lit a cigarette.

"Are you looking for work, comrade?" He smiled.

--Laveaux 09:29, 9 December 2005 (CST)


Alexei was just about to ask the man why he was running and why he had a gun, when he heard the clapping. He turned slowly and smiled. he moved away from the 'American' and shrugged.

"A job you say? Well, I was not looking, but if you are offering, who am I to decline. As for our friend there, he was armed with a pistol, but he dropped it somewhere in here. We should look for it before we finish our business here. And his knee is hurt. Probably broken. I hit him a bit too hard when he tried to run away."

Alexei's hand darted to his pants as they started to slide down and he smiled once more.

"And if you would be so kind to tie his hands with something else, so I could have my belt back. And an odd thing is the man claims to be a American. says he was just doing his job. Like I would have let him go, right after I chased his all this way and after he tried to shoot me. He must take me for a fool."

Alexei itched to ask what the man did wrong and why they were chasing him, but knew better than to ask. If they wanted him to know they would tell him. If not, well why should he place himself in harms way for someone who fired a pistol at him.

--Kerensky


Pyotr skillfully dislodged handcuffs from his belt and bound the man securely, returning the ex-soldier's belt with a grin.

"You are rather innovative," he said.

The two other men hoisted the American up and shoved him against the wall of crates, searching him. The woman who looked more like someone's gentle mother than a member of the police, briefly jaunted around the entryway until she discovered the pistol.

One of the men, the one that was stationed alone at the bench, brought his attention to Alexei.

"He is a business man and has done illegal work in our country. Creating profits where none should be had. A broken knee is only the first of a series of painful experiences until he discloses all of his friends."

The man said it loud and slow enough to be sure their prisoner heard.

"Pyotr likes you, perhaps we shall set up an interview. You can start tonight by helping us deal with this piece of garbage."

--Laveaux 09:29, 9 December 2005 (CST)


Alexei did not like this talk about pain, but his scowl could be mistaken as a disdain for the foreigner. He looked him up and down once more and smiled.

"Is it a custom for businessmen to wear firearms in your country, American? Is business done at gunpoint there? Or are you just an exception?"

As the man continued Alexei nodded grimly.

"Interview can wait. As for this scum here, I'll help you in any way I can. Just tell me what to do."

--Kerensky


Pyotr wiped some sweat from his brow and said, "Comrade, you've done quite enough. Come to the Lubyanka tomorrow and you can begin working for the people. Give me your name so they'll know you are expected."

The weeping coward of a man folded under the arms of the secret police as they hoisted him to his feet.

Pyotr took a thoughtful drag of a cigarette and followed the others out of the warehouse.


--Laveaux 09:29, 9 December 2005 (CST)


"Alexei. Alexei Sudarov. Corporal of the Red Army. Well the, if you don't mind I would like to go to my sisters home and get some sleep. I'll be at the Lubyanka tomorrow morning. Take care."

With a shake of the hand he said goodbye to Pyotr and left through the warehouse door. Once he got outside, Alexei took a deep breath and watched steam form as he exhaled. Only now, the danger he was in fully sank in. The adrenaline was gone, and he realized that he could have died. With a shudder he pulled the collar of his coat up and walked around a bit trying to find his way out of the warehouse complex.

It took him a few minutes to find the way back to the station and once there, he quickly oriented himself and set off. Even with Alexei's brisk pace, it took some twenty minutes for the ex-soldier to reach the unimposing grey building where his sister lived. It was then that the emotions overtook him.

Unable to hold back the tears he ran into a dark corner and stood there for a few minutes before his weakness was over. Then, wiping the tears off, Alexei set off to the third floor.

'Sudarov' it read at the door. His hand stopped a few inches from the bell, but he just took a deep breath and pressed the button. It took a moment for the thin line of light to appear beneath the door and soon a faint mumbling could be heard. Door opened a fragment and his sisters sleepy face appeared in the crack. It took a moment for Yelena's eyes to register what they were seeing and then a shrill yell sounded from her lips and the door was thrown wide open.

The girl jumped into his arms and soon he was fighting back her tears and kisses and laughing. A few of the neighbors appeared at their door, apparently awoken by all the noise they were making. But, their grim expressions soon changed into smiles as they heard Yelena saying "My brother, My dear brother.' over and over again.

After a few minutes she calmed down a bit and led him inside. A tea was soon brewing in the samovar and she was sitting in the chair opposite him and just holding his hand.

It was another hour or so, before she finally allowed him to get into bed after talking to him all the time. Alexei merely managed to take his clothes off, before fatigue overtook him and he just collapsed into bed, his last thought being the interview he had tomorrow.

--Kerensky


Morning offered very little to view on the ground. Cloud cover blocked the sky and beneath the heavy air snow sprinkled. A blizzard the night before covered most of the land with several inches of fresh and dry snow. Frigid temperatures have frozen the wet snow and the cobblestone streets of Moscow were dangerously iced over. The Moskva River was all but frozen and only the Red Guard were out, bundled in fur hats and heavy trench coats marked with the signature red star.

The snow almost completely camouflaged the Lubyanka complex on the edge of Red Square. The multi-story notorious building rested with a simple architecture. The smallest of three gray concrete buildings was the center of the KGB. Resting behind the notorious prison, the offices of the secret police were on the top three floors.

On the main floor of the headquarters there were half a dozen guards bundled in trench coats and hats keeping visitors out of the the various corridors. A large simple desk was positioned in front of the door where a security officer waited. He wore a simple black suit and a hammer and sickle badge on his lapel. Greasy black hair was combed back and a large pair of spectacles rested on a once broken nose.

--Laveaux 09:29, 9 December 2005 (CST)


It was a few minutes past 8, when Alexei reached the Lubyanka. He knew all the stories and was even a little scared himself, but knew that he was just being foolish. He watched the building fro across the square for a few minutes before finally he gathered enough courage to enter.

It was so strange that a place as notorious as Lubyanka was so innocent looking. The guards allowed him inside without a bother. After all it was not that hard to get in. It was almost impossible to leave, and that was the problem.

Without a visible emotion ex-soldier just strode to the front desk and stood at attention. Old habits died hard. With a smile he relaxed somewhat and nodded to the man.

"God morning, comrade. Corporal Alexei Sudarov reporting. I should have a scheduled interview this morning."

--Kerensky


The greasy black-haired man regarded Alexei with little expression and flipped through several pages on his desk. Running his finger down the list, he found what he was looking for and nodded.

"Yes, Corporal, you are expected."

Handing him a lapel visitor's badge he added, "You will find Comrade Yaroslav's office on the third floor."

The discussion was over and he returned to studying his papers. Free to walk into the Lubyanka, the guards around the lobby paid him little attention. The third floor was as simple as the first two. Drab gray carpet, white-washed cinderblock walls, and florescent electric lights running single-file down the ceiling. Dozens of offices presented themselves on this floor and most of the doors were closed.

Toward the center of the hall a door was marked simply "Yaroslav, Yerik" and it was open enough to reveal the contents inside. A nondescript office home to a desk by three blocky windows and two filing cabinets. The man who helped apprehend the perpetrator was inside. It was the man first seen on the park bench with a hat. Without his hat, it was clear he'd long ago lost his hair. A rolling face bound only by thick-edged glasses peered up.

"Ah, you came," he said, "come in, come in."

--Laveaux 09:29, 9 December 2005 (CST)


Alexei took his visitor's badge and hung it on his coat. Seeing that no additional information was forthcoming he just nodded and proceeded to the stairs.

He did not rush, but his steps were swift and he did not linger in the halls. Although the ex-solider was curious, he curbed it and just walked to his destination. He knew that most of the things happening here were secret and that to see them or speak of them would be inviting trouble.

He noticed the opened door and took a deep breath before he knocked and pushed the door open. A small smile crept across his face when he recognized the man at the desk.

"Good morning, comrade Yerik. I was told you were the man to meet. Something concerning a job?"

--Kerensky

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