His God, My God
"Have you found him yet?" Kevin drummed his fingers impatiently as he scanned a chart of an English airbase.
"Not yet," Falkner replied. "He's too good at covering for himself. Why don't we just let Drake track him down? They had to have had some kind of arrangement."
"Because I don't trust Drake, for one thing," Kevin clenched his fists and ground his teeth. "And for another, Kain isn't that stupid."
"Why is it even so important to find him? It's not like he can do anything."
"He knows things. Things that could throw the whole agenda off-balance. I don't like not knowing what he's doing with his freedom."
"He's raising a rebellion," Cosgrove stormed in, throwing open the doors to Kevin's quarters.
"And how do you know this?" Kevin said, suddenly intrigued.
"One of his followers tried to deliver a message to Drake. Drake took the message and turned the man over to me for questioning. He was very forthcoming with information regarding who he followed and the like. Unfortunately he expired before he could give up the location of their headquarters."
"Well, that is unfortunate. What was the message?"
"Just that he should wait until they could mount a rescue," Cosgrove stroked his moustache.
"See that Kain gets a very clear reply; let him know we are aware he and his friends are out there."
"Of course, sir."
"And Falkner," Kevin smirked. "Bring the Asiminovs here, would you? There's a matter I need to discuss with him."
"Sure. Why not?"
Sergei stared in shock from behind the dumpster he had ducked into when the black armored van pulled up. Two heavy-set men pushed two people out of the van and forced them onto their knees. Sergei instantly recognized the two people as his parents, even though it had been years since he last saw them. The door on the other side of the van shut quietly and a pair of well-polished boots began to walk around to the near side. Sergei saw his father address the sinister looking man but couldn't make out what was being said.
"So, Cosgrove," Pyotr grit his teeth and twisted under the grip of the man holding his shoulders. "This is really how you're going to do this? You're just going to execute us in broad daylight?"
"And why shouldn't I?" Cosgrove sneered, twirling his moustache between his fingers. "So long as the military is involved nobody will even come near this little piece of business; they'd be far too afraid of the fallout."
"And what about our deal with Kevin? How's he going to produce his weapons without our help?"
"The Monarch," Cosgrove corrected with a raised hand. "Has already seen to that. Our duplication of your machines is not perfect, but it is sufficient for our purposes. And we will be able to refine our own procedures to suit our needs far more easily than your own. In short, your deal has expired."
"You'll regret this someday," Pyotr threatened. "Somebody out there will come for you, mark my words."
"I'm quite sure you're right," Cosgrove mocked a yawn and pulled out a revolver with scrolling engravings along the barrel. He fired three rounds into Pyotr's chest, each making Sergei jump and choke back a scream.
"And now, Mrs. Asiminov, is there anything you'd like to add?"
Sergei watched his mother shake her head before she turned toward the dumpster he was behind and smiled, as if she knew he was there. Sergei clamped his eyes shut just before Cosgrove squeezed another three rounds off and ordered the men back into the van.
Sergei sat crying for a long time after the vehicle had driven away. He dared not go to see the bodies of his parents, and even if he wanted to his legs were shaking too violently to carry him. Eventually he heard a door open not far ahead of him and an elderly man supporting his weight with a cane came and ushered him into his home.
The room smelled of cinnamon and oats and Sergei had the distinct impression of some secret purpose to the room, but the old man revealed nothing in his movements. Shaking the thoughts from his mind Sergei took the glass of milk offered to him and held it to his lips with both his hands. The room began to blur and darken before he felt himself slump forward to the floor.
When Sergei came to he saw it was already night out and the old man was asleep in an easy chair behind him. Sergei eased his seat away from the table he had apparently been set at and immediately began rooting through drawers and cabinets wherever he could reach them. In one of the drawers he found a large pistol with a full magazine and a very sharp knife that was easily as long as his forearm. He took both the weapons and placed them in his waistband, creeping carefully to the door.
"I wouldn't try that if I were you," The old man wheezed from his chair. "Not that I can stop you."
"Shut it, geezer," Sergei snapped. "I've gotta do this. Nobody else will."
"Well, you're probably right about that," The man reached for his cane and began to get up, the joints in his knees creaking with every motion. "And I'm not saying you shouldn't."
"Then what the hell did you stop me for?"
"How old are you, sonny?"
"I'm ten," Sergei grumbled. "What does it matter?"
"Not even a teenager and you think you'll make it into the military's headquarters, through easily a hundred highly trained men, not counting the elite men of the Monarch's personal guard, and into the Regent's quarters to kill him without so much as even a simple plan? You won't even make it as far as the front gate before they gun you down and throw your corpse into the street for the strays."
"I can make it," Sergei clenched his teeth. "I have to."
The old man was on Sergei with surprising speed and struck him hard across the shins with his cane before reaching down and snatching the weapons from Sergei's possession.
"You couldn't even stop one harmless old man from disarming you. You wouldn't stand a chance and I won't see you throw yourself into your death. Relax, think things through. Your enemy is too strong for you, and too well guarded. For now," he added with a raised finger. "Revenge isn't something you can just do on an impulse. It takes time and planning. I can help you with that if you'll let me."
The old man tossed the weapons over his shoulder and offered his hand to Sergei, which he took sullenly. He winced as he put his weight on his bruised shins and limped back to the seat at the table.
"What do you want me to do?"
"Just be patient. The Regent is a thorough man; hopefully he'll turn up something on you that will present you as a potential threat to be dealt with. When he comes to tie up his loose ends you'll need to present yourself as an asset to him. Get as close to him as you can before you make your strike. It will take time, but you have plenty of that at the moment."
"And if he doesn't come after me?"
"Then you can assume he knows nothing about you and you'll be even better suited to position yourself close to him. Either way, you'll still be waiting for quite some time before you can act. In the meantime I suggest you study."
"The proper way to fire a weapon, for one thing. And a great many other things you'll find useful in the path you've chosen. Trust me, your time will be very much occupied for the next several years. It's better that way anyway. For now, rest. Let me know when you think you're ready to begin."
"I'm ready now. Teach me everything you can."
"Fine," The old man grinned wide. "No turning back now."
Kain looked at the cave at the base of the mountain and considered its proximity to Estancia's capitol city carefully. He had been walking for some time, thinking hard on what to do now that he knew who his allies were. It would be a long time before he was able to begin actively recruiting with any sort of success, and he still had no permanent headquarters or chain of command aside from the fact that he was in charge. He made a mental note of the landmarks surrounding the cave and decided to bring Shido there to determine the possibility of converting it to a base or even a long-term storage facility.
Kain heard a short burst of static over the visor he had kept from the day Garm had been killed. Placing it on his head he replied with a short transmission of his own on the same frequency.
"Kain, bad news."
"It's never good when you call me. What happened?"
"Cosgrove killed the Asiminovs today. I mean, we knew he was going to eventually, but we never thought they'd crack the nano-tech that quickly." Falkner seemed to hesitate.
"Drake told Anita and me the Asiminovs had a kid that they brought into the country when they escaped England. According to his mother he's supposed to show signs of being just like Drake."
"Well, Drake promised he'd protect the kid and he was hoping you'd pick up where he left off."
"Tell Drake I'll try to get someone to keep tabs on him. I can't promise to actively intervene, though. I need every hand I've got right now."
"I'll let him know. Drake's still trying to negotiate his terms with Cosgrove, but things aren't looking good. Cosgrove's insisting he stay within the city, and Drake's putting forth things that'll let him get in contact with you, but I wouldn't expect mush on that front."
"I never did. Still, I'm hoping he'll find some way to help me out."
"Yeah. This plan of yours is pretty nuts, though. Something I'd expect from Kevin with how long we're gonna have to wait. A lot of people are gonna die in all those years."
"I know. But it's gotta be done. We need the time to set up out here and try to get branches going in the cities. It won't be like when we took the city back from the English. Kevin's done a good job of making those people forget what he did to get where he is, assuming any of them knew to begin with. There's not a whole lot of room for us to make mistakes with."
"I know. Speaking of mistakes, it'd be a big one for me to stay on any longer. Next contact will come from Valkyrie."
Kain listened to the dead air briefly before shaking his head and hanging the visor from his belt. He unslung his rifle from his shoulder and sighted along it momentarily before sighing and kicking at the underbrush. Walking along he began to go over the plan he had set up with Falkner and Anita in case they could not contact each other over prolonged periods.
"Ten years," Kain said to himself. "Ten years of this game with everything riding on one day at the end of it all. This is going to be hell on all of us."
Kevin looked out on the city from the narrow window he had ordered installed in his quarters and grinned while Cosgrove told him what he had discovered.
"A son, you say?" Kevin smiled arrogantly. "Only ten years old. Not even worth considering. Give him time to grow, then see to him as you think best. Just make sure he doesn't become a problem."
"Of course," Cosgrove smirked. He already had a plan of his own turning that he believed Kevin was unaware of.
"Oh, Cosgrove," Kevin said to himself after the door had been shut. "So transparent. Your sacrifice will not be without purpose. I promise you that."
Kevin laughed long and hard as he watched the city go about its day, oblivious of the fate already determined for it.