2019-12-05 - Rousting the Udachny Locals


Agents Drew and Odame arrive in the remote Russian town of Udachny, hoping to unearth the ghost that is Prevoshkhodstvo.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Thu Dec 5 00:00:00 2019
Location: RP3 - Udachny - Russia

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Theme Song



Its been a couple of days since the pair of SHIELD agents have settled into their false lives in the remote city of Udachny, Russia. Every day there is a cycle of activity, as workers make for the diamond mines before sunup, then working their way back into town. Some of them go home to their families; others go to bars, where the vodka will warm them up.

One particular bar seems more popular than others, likely because it also has food and television sets, not to mention a pair of wood burning stoves. Kwabena is seared at a table across from Jessica, a lit cigarette in one hand, a bottle of vodka resting between them. He observes those coming and going with a frown on his face, and following a drag from the cigarette, he looks to Jessica. "No one talks here," he says in quiet, broken English. "Is like… dey get up, dey go to work, dey come here. Dey drink, dey do not talk."

"It's eerie," Jessica agrees with a nod. "Are you certain this place would have been vacated?" She pours herself a shot of vodka and lifts it to him before downing it. Because why not? Not like it will affect her. Probably.

"Certain," Kwabena assures her. His tone of voice is confident at first, but after a moment, his expression falters. He pours himself a shot and takes it before shaking his head from side to side. "Why would dey stay?" he asks then, and tries to work it through his head. "Dere is no way that dey do not know what happened to me, which hands I fell into. It would be stupid not to move. Yes?"

He looks to the cigarette in hand, then takes another drag; this time, there is a touch of anxiety to the way he does it.

Jessica nods, slowly, reaching over the table to take Kwabena's free hand in both of hers, and she speaks softly as she makes a show of affection to her new Russian lover. "Maybe they have too much invested here. Or maybe there is more money to be made here than they can stand to forfeit."

She lifts his hand to her lips to kiss it. It's a lovely excuse to play up her role as a doting and smitten Russian woman with her completely normal Russian partner.

"Which means leadership may be gone," Kwabena muses aloud, "but operation remains."

A smile forms out of the anxiety, and it's one that seems rueful. He leans forward, putting his head over the table, and lowers his voice to an even quieter hush. "Want to see if we can stir up some of dese quiet locals?"

His hand remains hers to do with as she pleases. It's not a crime to enjoy a thing even while on the job, after all.

Jessica arches her brows and looks around them nonchalantly. "I'm all for it," she says quietly. "I'm not sure what you have in mind, but I trust you. You know this place better than I do." The corner of her mouth quirks into a little smile as she speaks. Curious as to what he has in store.

There's that glimmer of mischief.

Kwabena pours himself and Jessica another shot of vodka. He raises it to clink it against her glass, and after drinking it, he slams the shot glass upside down and into the table, making a bang loud enough to get the entire bar's attention.

Rising from his table, he throws the cigarette onto the floor and stomps it out. Switching with ease to Russian, he swipes the bottle of vodka up and makes for the bar.

"What is with you people?" he asks, and elbows his way between to men at the bar. "This place is like a tomb!"

When Jessica speaks again, she speaks in flawless Russian. "Where is the music? Where are the women?" she asks as she sets down her shot glass. She pushes herself up with her hands on the table, and she trails behind Kwabena. "I have never seen a place so quiet, and sad!"

The patrons seem… unimpressed.

With a scoff, Kwabena motions for the bartender. "Here," he says, and slides the bottle of vodka over. "Pour one for all of these fools." He turns to look down the bar with a cocky smirk on his face. "Maybe if we warm up your asses, the icicles will thaw off your testicles!"

That one gets at least a couple of laughs.

"See?" Kwabena says to Jessica, "It's not quite a tomb after all."

"Life cannot be all that bad, can it?" Jessica asks one man at the end of the bar. "The work here seems cold and hard. But at least you are finished, yes? Time to breathe free air and stretch, and warm. Time to revel!" She nudges the man with her shoulder and smiles.

Leave it to the pretty woman to get a cold, Russian bloke's attention. The fellow brightens a touch, joining in the hesitant laughter. "Da," he answers in the local dialect. "You're not from around here, are you? We do not celebrate. We work. We work for the greater good."

While the conversation does catch Kwabena's attention, he does not interfere with Jessica's bait. Even while the bartender pours shots, he walks down toward one of the men who was laughing and hooks an arm around the hard Russian's shoulder. "You do have testicles here, don't you?"

The man gives Kwabena a sneer. "Keep that up and I'll show you."

"What greater good is there than to celebrate your freedom from a frozen job?" Jessica asks with a grin. "You talk like there is no joy here. Yet here you sit, with comrades and vodka!" Jess picks up another shot and downs it. "Let's have fun, while the boss isn't busting those balls!"

"That's the spirit," Kwabena says to the man, and shakes his shoulder a couple times before backing off.

Turning away, he walks down to join Jessica, and raises his glass. "To another hard day's work, and the industry of Udachny!"

At long last, the two have gotten some life out of this lot. Glasses are raised, and a collective shout is given.

Na Zdorovie!

"Another," Kwabena urges the bartender. "Open another if you have to, we will pay!"

The man looks back to Jessica with a knowing grin. "Where are you from?" he asks. "You are obviously tourists. This is not a popular tourist destination."

"Moscow," Jessica replies to the man. "I grow tired of the hustle of the city, and long to travel the countryside. We have visited a handful of towns already, but this one is by far the most quiet. I had begun to worry that the town was ill," she confides, as she takes up another shot in her glass. This time she holds it pensively for a moment, instead of upending it.

"Moscow." The man seems to respect that. "We are a long way from Moscow. Things are different here, like the Old Country."

Prevoshkhodstvo is run by old Cold War era military leaders. It's all in Kwabena's report. Speaking of the Old Country is a very firm suggestion that the organization has had something of an influence here.

"This town still lives," Kwabena joins in, shot glass in hand as he comes up behind Jessica. "And your women?" he asks the man.

"They tend to the home so that we can work," he answers.

"Long hours?"

"Da. Very long hours. It's a man's place."

"Do you all work in the mines?" Jessica asks conversationally. She takes her shot of Vodka and sets down the glass. "Beating the earth to force it to give up its treasures seems like the hardest work I can imagine."

"Of course, yes," the man answers Jessica. "We work in the mines, so we have no housing costs, no food costs."

"True socialism," Kwabena adds with a mixture of appreciation and wonder. He's careful not to mention the big bad C-word, which would be a dead ringer that they are Westerners.

"As it should have always been," the man answers, before looking back to Jessica. "Is hardest work, but the best work. We may not have much, but we want for nothing."

"I admire that about towns like these," Jessica replies. "Your wellbeing is seen to by the overseer, da?" she asks. "A healthy man is a happy man. I worried that you all seemed so quiet and downtrodden."

"We don't 'party'." The quote marks are palpable in the man's tone. "We work, we drink, we rest." He casually avoids any discussion about any 'overseer'.

"We would like a tour," Kwabena finally says, and hooks his arm around Jessica's shoulder with a grin. "I want to see what this looks like. Things are very different in Moscow."

"Yes! A tour! I want to see the diamond mines. I've always wondered what they look like! Are they automated? Or do you still swing pickaxes like in the old tales?" Jessica blinks, wide-eyed. "Please, may we see how the mines operate? It is fascinating! Perhaps you can buy me a diamond, Darling!" She grins and chides Kwabena.

"Diamonds are not for sale," the man says sternly.

"Fuck," Kwabena answers, and sighs. "I will have to wait until Africa to pop the question."

"We have never given a tour."

Kwabena leans over Jessica's shoulder, absolutely leering at the fellow. "There is a first time for everything." He then steps back and slams his shot glass down on the bar. "One more round!" he demands, then turns back to the fellow with open arms. "A favor for a favor?"

Jessica frowns, and looks between Kwabena and the man at the bar. She wants to press questions, but at this point she fears it might widen the rift toi much to make any more forward progress. "We won't get in the way, I promise!" She smiles and wraps an arm around Kwabena's waist. Maybe they can get more answers if they can get inside the mines.

The man grumbles a bit and looks between the two. "Eh. Fine. Tomorrow, 6:30, be there. I'll talk to the boss and see what I can do."

"Perfect!" Kwabena answers, then reaches for his fresh shot of vodka. "You have a name so we know who to ask for? I am Dashiell."

"Pasha," the man answers.

"Mara," Jessica offers, by way of introduction. "I can't wait to see it. I was wrong, this town is more exciting than the last three combined!" Jess positively beams as she looks back to Kwabena. "And you thought this vacation would be boring!"

Kwabena sighs dramatically, and reaches forward to rap Pasha on the shoulder. "Always trust your woman!"

Pasha laughs! "Da!"

Kwabena takes a step back and lifts his fresh shot glass. His tolerance may not be enhanced, but he's been drinking vodka since he was a teenager. "Na Zdorovie!"

The toast is answered by all of those present, and when Kwabena is finished, he slams the glass down before reaching into his coat to produce a nice display of cash. "Whatever the bartender doesn't take, you all drink!"

Jessica laughs and steals a kiss from Kwabena, then moves to grab her coat. It is almost certainly 9th circle of hell cold outside, and her parts might freeze off. "Thank you for warming up with us, Pasha. And all of you!"

Once they are sufficiently bundled up and outside, Kwabena hooks Jessica's arm through his and starts trudging toward their rented lodging. "One step closer," he murmurs to her, still using Russian. "The whole attitude though… it feels… familiar. I think we are onto something."

Jessica nods and presses closer to Kwabena, holding tightly to his arm. "I thought so. But you know this place better than I," she replies, also continuing in Russian. "I was eager to find out what you thought, once we were done there."

Jessica finds her footing a little less than pristine, and it surprises her. "I don't think I have ever even been tipsy in my life. But that was a LOT of Vodka. Russian vodka. I feel all…." She casts a sidelong glance at Kwabena. "Well…I am feeling it. That is for sure."

"So am I," Kwabena laughs lightly. "It's been a long time since I've drank - really drank - with men like that."

As the dim light of their small hotel comes into view, Kwabena pulls Jessica a bit closer. "Water, and warmth, is what you need." He glances her way and says, "I will keep you warm."

There may be down sides to sleeping with your co-workers, but this certainly isn't one of them.

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