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January 3rd, 2018, Soho, London, Club Immortus


Dreadnought slept with his future brothers, deep and sound in an enchanted slumber, to wake in the new year of 2018 by Mr. Murk, who had most interesting news...


Mr Murk brought coffee with him, as Dreadnought woke from his one hundred and sixty seven year slumber. He was surrounded by (now) at least ten sleeping Dreadnoughts, his future selves. 


The coffee was strong and black. 


"You may need this. Of course, caffeine might not work on you" said Mr. Murk, handing a bucket full of coffee to the immortal. 


"You awake in 2018. It seems the world has need of you, or more precisely, your team mate, Foreshadow" he explained, slowly and carefully, waiting for the enchanted slumber to seep away. 


"However, my vision is more cloudy on this. More cloudy than it should be, even within the strange fog that is the future. I sense...interference...manipulation..." he explained. 


"I think you might be needed...."



Because, just then...


Foreshadow, as a member of Vanguard, was being introduced to a Mr. Anton Vasilyev, ex-KGB intelligence officer. This meeting was beyond top secret. 


It was a private, secure room. Possibly bugged by the Ministry of Powers - but Foreshadow foresaw no such future. As far as he knew, via his foresight or skill, the room was secure. Of course, the ministry of intelligence would be pressing him to extract as much information as possible. 


"This room...its secure...yes?" asked Anton in fluent English. He must have been a good spy. Maybe he still was. A strong man of average height, non descript face bar a broken nose, and wearing unremarkable clothes. 


"What I need to tell you...its personal...about your family..." he explained. "Not really for others to know...."

Edited by Supercape
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"I appreciate it all the same My friend." he says groggily as he rubs the sleep from his eyes, Deep sleep being one of the few biological delights left to him after his transformation he'd come to appreciate the time within his own mind away from the world where he was so heavy and slow.


Taking the offered bucket of coffee and began to drink from it " staring out at the various other dreadnoughts throughout the basement with a mild interest, he'd been shocked of course when Mr Murk had first shown him the numerous itterations of himself in the basement of the law office, shocked to learn that whilst it was technically the earliest meeting on his own time line that it had been the sixth time for Mr Murk, now he felt a quite sense of ease, of continuality seeing himself from further in the future.


"Oh aye? Foreshadow is a decent chap, there are worse folks to work with." he mumbled, as he rose from his sitting to his feet a little dizzily "I shall meet ye upstairs once I've gotten reacquainted with myself and you can tell me what ya know before i go stompin off T'wards vanguards Headquarters."

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"I can tell you what I know now" said Mr. Murk, stony faced. "Nothing..."


"Not all my contacts, not all my visions. Not any subtle inquiry or blunt intimidation" he explained. "All I can tell you is this, someone has come to see Foreshadow, and that someone - or someone connected to him is blocking my visions of the future. Completely...." he complained, not used to being blinded in this matter. 


"I am afraid I am of no further use. Foreshadow has something to deal with and I think you should help him. He may resist at first, but I would press him. I would imagine he is as blind as I am, now..." he explained, his milky opaque eyes shining in the dim light of the cellar of slumber. 


"The only further answer would be most dangerous..." he added, quietly, indicating the ten slumbering future selves of Dreadnought, who might be able to answer what had happened in the past. 


The sleeping giants breathed so slowly one could barely notice. They glinted in the pale light, but only the most perceptive would note they were alive at all. 


Observing them, Dreadnought had an itch, a premonition. It might be possible to wake them...but, be it from the effects of time travel, or the sorcery that pefused them in the sleep, he had the scratching sensation that it might cost him his sanity to do so...

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Foreshadow eyed Anton closely.   "The room's secure as far as I know.  But, really what is secure nowadays?  For all I know, we could leave this room and a spook could mindscan us.  Look, dude, I'm going to level with you here.  It's as secure as it could possibly be.  But, I'm not looking to play games.  If this is the part where you make false promises about family secrets to get some sort of inheritance or leniency in whatever sentencing you're facing I'm afraid to tell you I'm broke and don't have that level of clout."  


Truthfully, he was as far from broke as could be, less truthfully he had no idea on the amount of pull he had as far as leniency for sentencing went.  Foreshadow was keenly aware as the sole foreigner on the Vanguard his membership to the team was in some ways provisionary.  Not that the Ministry of Powers was looking to turn away the help from someone with the gift of foresight.  But, at the very least he didn't think they would be so careless as to reveal his identity to an ex Russian spy.


Hence the lie, bait left dangling to see how much information the spy had on him.  Not that the KGB would be the first or even second government agency to have a record of his identity.  But, confirmation of that knowledge was important, especially when figuring out how much Anton's words could potentially be trusted.

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"I have information. For you, specifically for you" said Anton. 


"Look, I was a member of the KGB. I did things, I'm not proud of them, for the most part. After the USSR fell, I had to move to the independent sector, you see?" he said, opening his hands earnestly. 


"I won't lie to you, at this stage of my life, no pension, I'm trying to make enough money to retire. And I deal in information. I told the UK, the MI6, that I'm Ex-KGB. Told them enough information to get me to you" he explained. 


"Now, I come to you to sell you information, too. I'm not asking for much. Maybe twenty five thousand?" he asked, hopefully. 


"I know, I know, you won't agree until you hear what I say. I know how this works. But I've done my homework, you aren't broke, that's for sure. And you honour your deals. So I know at least a bit about you, you know nothing about me. So..."


He shrugged, taking a gamble. 


"I know where your grandfather is. I know what he can do, and I know what he is doing. And to be honest, I think you should stop him..." he explained. 


"Only trouble is, well, he lives on Svalbard, an old mine. Sensitive area, you see? Its Norwegian, at least technically, but lots of Russians there. Not an easy place to operate in. Cold as a witch, and you can't just dance in and say you are a member of Vanguard. At least, not with UK-Russian relationships the way they are..."

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It was always tempting to awaken his future selves to try and pick them for information, the thought that someone could force the best resolution to any situation and having the means before them was a siren call to those with much to gain and even more to lose on the turn of fickle fate, dozens of lives hung in the balance when he acted or failed to act, mistakes in his line of work were always heavily weighted.


But he knew better, if no dreadnought had appeared before him or given word to Mr Murk he could trust that things were going to work out, for better or worse, he used to have to rely on those feelings, back when knowledge of what might or might not be was not within his grasp.


"We're given free will and make our own fate, for good or for ill." he mumbled to himself mainly but not so quietly as to go unheard by Mr Murk as he began his stretching as he tearing his gaze away from the future selves laying around the basement "Right...sounds pretty major then, i'd better not stop for breakfast. eh?" he says "Thanks for waking me up Mr Murk, ill give foreshadow your regards when i see him."

Edited by Exaccus
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"Well, color me interested."  Foreshadow considered Anton's words openly.  Truthfully, he didn't even know he had a grandfather to be worried about.  Obviously, there were distant relatives, but the fact that his parents were given political asylum was the start and stop of the information he knew about their lives before moving to the US.  And with their untimely passing over a decade ago, it wasn't as if he was about to get stories about camping trips with pop pop.  Or whatever it is regular people do to learn about their grandfathers that isn't hold clandestine meetings with ex-spies.


Foreshadow took a seat in a nearby chair placing his feet on the table.  "Alright, Anton, I'll be your retirement fund.  I'll even set you up with some investment options that I have a very good feeling are on the upswing.  And trust me when I say that when I have a good feeling the return is all but guaranteed.  I'll hold this deal to the letter."  He then raised his hand in the air in preparation for the ex KGB officer to speak.  A warning that he wasn't done talking just in case the Russian spy got overly enthusiastic at the sound of good news.


"Of course, if this is all one elaborate con.  Well, when I do everything in my power to make sure they burn you.  Let's just say, financial stability will be a pipe dream."

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Anton sat back. "It's no con...but I guess that's what a con-man would say" he smiled. "Point taken"


He looked nervous, however. "I'd prefer to discuss this outside the offices of MI6, to be honest. I'm sure they would love to put their grubby little fingers into every pot of scandal and gossip, if they could. I know, that was my job back in the day" he offered, rubbing those very fingers in an agitated manner. 


"You have your super HQ, yes? I can show you maps, details, everything there. Not on any hard drive, I am afraid. I don't touch that stuff. Stories, stories. Uuuuh, there was a cyber hacker back in the day called Mother Board, she frightened the hell out of us. I don't touch computers since!" he said, firmly. 


He tapped his forehead. "But the old brain still working great! Everything in here!"

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And after making a little bit more light conversation with Mr Murk and a quick shower and change of clothes dreadnought was underway through the wider streets of London, doing his best to avoid tourists and congested roads to make as much haste as possible for vanguards headquarters but short for time as he was he couldn't help but smirk and reminisce a little when he caught sight of Trafalgar square in passing.


it didn't take him too long at least by his own plodding standards, to make his way into the secured lobby of vanguard HQ and signing himself in and making just enough conversation to be polite with the on duty secritary asked her to pass on a message to foreshadow for him.


"Tell him that I've got something to discuss with him, important like, you know?" a small smirk on his face "Relevant to his plans for the future."

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"You're lucky we're near one of the right kiosks. My better half was tuning my bike so I left it back on base.  I'd be taking a thousand off just for the London traffic alone.  Before you ask, you won't need a blindfold.  With my ID we just have to find the right red telephone kiosk.  Lady in charge is a fan of the classics."  Foreshadow teased.  Not that he would have actually driven Anton to the cover facility.  When your base has secret teleport access that could easily be torn down after a spy sees it for the first time.  You use that.


Course, the Haven and VERA aren't much of a step up as far as avoiding being monitored.  But, Foreshadow wasn't about to talk the guy out of being just a few short feet away from superhuman containment cells.  If Anton was pulling something and it was all a way to get inside the Haven for some sort of massive trap.  Well, then he'd find himself spending all the time he could want detained in one of their cells.  "Well come along.  I'll tell the guard dogs outside that I have it covered."

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And so...outside the HAVEN...


As fate would have it, persons collided. Those persons being Anton and Foreshadow meeting the trudging form of Dreadnought, whose lumbering booming steps could be heard for miles. Ah, one had to pity the poor streets of London being subject to such force. 


"Who the hell is that?" mumbled Anton, on the steps. 


"Wait! That's Dreadnought!" he concluded quickly as the shock wore off. "The giant! The giant giant!"


Lamentably, Dreadnought always (even in London) drew a crowd of people photographing him as he had become something of a tourist attraction, like the guards outside Buckingham Palace. He left a wake of people behind and in front who wanted to take their photograph with him. 


"At least he distracts everybody" offered Anton, although he was not comfortable with crowds. 

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Though he was normally happy to stop and talk with the tourists in london he knew he was more of a caged gorilla to be awed over than a celebrity, he tried not to let it get to him over much, he had the club immortus to retreat to after all, a wonderfully private place or social grounds if he so desired it, but right now he was on a mission and it seems fate, despite not being observable currently was still in motion.


his eye fix immediately upon the form of erik sloane of course, before drifting over towards the man on the steps that seemed to be accompanying him giving the man he assumed to be a simple tourist or buisness associate of his aqquaintance a friendly little wave


"Ahh, Jus' the man i were Lookin fer, if you're not too busy i'd like to talk to ya in private." putting a little emphasis on the last part with a soft wink, still not used to this super spy buisness in the slightest but only too eager to partake.


"'Bout buisness, iffin ya catch me drift, ill even let ya little friend take his picture with me or sign something for him, sweet deal no?"


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"I assume this is about the last donation I sent to the charity?  Alright Paul Bunyan, but let me bring my accountant along in case this gets really tricky."  Erick was lying to make it clear to Joseph that whatever he wanted to talk about he could do so in front of Anton.  Not particularly worried about the Russian spy who seemed to know his identity overhearing something from the guy with no secret identity.


He hoped the lie was an obvious message.   Actually, if he needed help balancing his books he had more than his fair share of connections.  Not counting the genius whom he lived with.  Who happened to work on the Vanguard with Dreadnought and himself.

But, any excuse to call Joseph Paul Bunyon was a reason well spent.   


"Just make sure to give your adoring press their autographs before you give Abram over here one.   Otherwise this crowd will never leave us alone."  That part was not a bluff.  Minus the fake name given for Anton, of course.  

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Good one 


Josepth thought to himself even as he stepped to one side to allow Errick and his accountant to pass him, he intended to do this in  private any way, one civilian that was apparently close to Erick wouldn't be a problem, surely.


"Ill follow you in shortly then my friend." as he stepped down the steps and into the tides of various tourists "Just a few today folks, Ill be around the city centre all week though, whos got something they want bending or foldin?, we can do a group photo if you want but i don't have time for individuals right now."

Boy did he ever feel like a pillock.

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And so! Inside the Haven....


Anton made himself comfortable. Or less uncomfortable. He wasn't a ball of nerves, but on the other hand, this was an ex spook dealing with sensitive information. Relax wasn't on the menu either. He contented himself with coffee, black. 


"Are you sure you want the giant listening?" he asked Foreshadow, before his instincts started kicking in. The instinct to ask questions. 


"Some coincidence you just walked down the street, huh? Where have you been? What have you been doing?" he asked casually, albeit that kind of velvety fist style. He truly wanted answers. 


"What brings you to Vanguard's headquarters today? At this precise time? Meeting Foreshadow, hmmm? Had you planned a nice take out meal and watching some reruns of Black Adder?" he asked, with that penetrating inquisitive nature. Whatever else, Anton had been pretty good at his job. Probably still was. 


His questions were largely directed at Dreadnought but he made it clear, via glances, that Foreshadow was also free to chime in. 



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Dreadnought mainly just blinked disbelievingly through the questions before turning to Erick in dazed confusion, there were many things he might've said, he could've said and he probably should've said, ever the indecisive sort he decided on the first thing that came to his mind.


"So, is whatever he's on good then?" 




then turning to address the skittish man with a calm  demeanour and steepled fingers.a soft smile upon his face he chooses his next words with a greater degree of selectiveness


"Firstly; Get bent" then turning to erick he addressed him directly "I have a friend who shares in your particular talent and he told me he had a vision of you getting up to something, that i was needed and then the pre cog channel has been putting up nothing but re-runs of the universe's creation preformed by static."

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"Hm.  I see."  Foreshadow muttered aloud to Dreadnought's statement.  What could he say?   Erick never openly advertised his precognitive gifts.  And he wasn't about to give more fuel for Anton to work within a case of a scheme.  Ever cautious he simply rolled with the punches as the came.  "Well welcome aboard the party bus.  Don't worry Anton, I trust you about as far as I can throw this guy.  And considering his legs are the size of a tree trunk you can imagine that's not very far.  Were as I trust him with my life on a weekly basis.  As much fun as it would be to watch you two gents go a couple more rounds.  Whatever you have to say to me you can say to him.  Or you can keep pouting and we will indeed order take out and send you on your way.  Forget pensions and let's talk pizza.  Actually no, I'm in the mood for some Indian tonight, what do you think Joseph?"


Erick never gained David's proficiency for flat out scaring thugs into submission.  Instead, the prescient acrobat relied on other means of social engineering.  Such as reminding an ex-spook of the money on the line.  Rather than concern himself with the very large muscular man with no patience for accusations.

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"Ho ho" chuckled Anton. "I know my limits. I'm a spook. A good one, but not a great one. And I'm in a room with the Vanguard" he shrugged. "You don't have to, and you probably, shouldn't trust me. But at least don't think I'm lying by default" he said, simply. 


"Me, on the other hand, I have a fair guess at trusting you. And even if i didn't, I kind of have to. So leave the trusting to me, and if you want to jump on board the trust train, or jump of it, that's your call..."


He paused to gather his thoughts for a moment. 


"Its about your Grandfather" he said to Foreshadow. "Dmitri Russov. I know the name, and a bit about him. Got involved in the KGB. Back in the day, they were trying to get super heroes, like the USA. Pretty desperate. You heard of Darwin-X? developed by a man called Doctor Zero, a way of getting super powers. Except it was more like a viral weapon as it turned out. Didn't get many successes..." he trailed off, rubbing his forehead with unpleasant recollections. "But they got a few. Like Dimitri..."


"Anyway, the old man is still alive, runs some energy company. Using dangerous technology. Fossil fuels, running out, and thus so his is company. He is looking to some very dangerous methods. Bioelectrical energy. And guess what he is using for that? Trying to get cells to pump out energy. Guess what he is using to mutate the cells?" he asked, rhetorically. 


"Darwin-X. Dangerous. God knows what he's up to, and God probably doesn't want to know if he did" he said, frowning. "He's operating in Svalgard, the arctic circle. Got himself a little power plant there, run down, barely working, but a great cover to experiment with"


He looked at them both. 


"Anyway, that's where he is. There's some answers there. And some danger. I'm not just talking about his little private army, either. Anyone playing with Darwin-X is a real danger. And the real problem; its tense on Svalgard. Its under Norwegian control, but plenty of Russians there. And when it gets to energy production, politics is an issue...so this isn't a door with a simple key...."

Edited by Supercape
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"I've Lived Darwin-X" dreadnought stated cooly "Made me the man I am today infact by ripping away everything i had before." he rumbles, his displeasure evident on his face as he rubs his palms together roughly, not really thinking about the action as he turns this reccent turn of events over in his mind.


Needless to say he would let His friend deal with his demons as he saw fit, but it was now his personal mission to  see to it that not one microbe of the accused viral agent escaped that far away place.


"Well I'm in it for personal reasons now if nothing else." he adds to avoid making the present company feel awkward "And i could murder a Beef Madras."

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And there it was.  Before he joined the Vanguard, Foreshadow's biggest concern would be whatever powered thug local crime families had hired to take a shot at him.  While a worrying concern more often than not they had their powers of their own accord.  Nowadays, it was what newfangled horrible body had some unwilling participants found themselves subjected to.  Although with Darwin X, there were always people willing.  "Private armies, political intrigue, and of course Darwin X.  Alright, Anton you might've just earned your payday." 


Foreshadow looked Dreadnought over.  Much like the doped up Olympians Erick and Dee had stopped when they first met, Joseph was the very image of physically imposing.  It was a sure constant with Darwin X, that all but sold him on how useful it would be to have his ally there.  Especially if this supposed grandfather of his was under it.  He had always wondered if he had any living family in Russia.  But, if the story was to be believed Erick had to wonder if he was better off not knowing.  For as bad as Headcase or Crab were, it was Dr. Zero' who always slipped away sight unseen.  Which brought, there was the elephant size pair of boots in the room that would have to be addressed.  There was no way they would be getting around sneakily.  Joseph was the center of attention wherever he went.


"Mardras it is.  Let me just drop Anton off somewhere, I'll pick up the takeout, and then you can help me get ready for a family reunion."  He'd then walk over to one of the nearby control panels.  Readying V.E.R.A so as to have a location to drop the ex spook.  All without taking Anton's input as to where exactly that location would be.  


Since Undercover is out, let's do it big.  I've never wanted to buy a mine.  But, I'm sure someone is selling.




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"Sure thing, ill get Vera to book us a flight." he says as he stands up and with a small nod of acknowledgement to the two gentlemen begins his thunderous trudging towards the vanguards inner chambers, he liked to think he had something of a raport with the AI housed in the buildings central computers


"Have a good trip Anton, good luck with your accounting gig, I'd listen to ericks advice if i were you." he added in a manner of fact tone as his disappeared down the hallway, out of sight but never out of earshot


"Vera? You awake?" he called out into the darkness "Got a little favour to ask ya sweetheart if you're so inclined?" he called out towards the nearby interface, not really sure if VERA did anything remotely approximating sleep but it would be rude not to check

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And so, one hired plane, several hours and a rather good Madras Curry later...


Svarbald was particularly cold in January, and this was a particularly cold January. Minus twenty C, to be precise. Whilst the cold would not affect Dreadnought, it would certainly affect Foreshadow, and the cargo plane he had procured came with plenty of arctic clothing. 


The journey was relatively uneventful bar the occasional turbulence. Anton had told Foreshadow pretty much all he could, right up to the location of his supposed Grandfathers power plant, on the east of the island. 


It was all ice and snow, here, and the snow fell heavily as they started their descent. Not ideal flying conditions. 


The nearest airstrip to Russov Energy power plant was a good thirty miles away, in a moderate sized Norwegian settlement called Vaanbergen, just under a thousand people there. Research and natural conservation, mainly. It had a reasonable landing strip, and whilst the weather was unpleasant, Foreshadow was clear (both from his own judgement and skill, plus his foresight) that landing would at worst be bumpy. 


The alternative was landing on the icy plains near the power plant. Difficult, but certainly possible...

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Foreshadow took a steady breath and called out to Dreadnought.  "Hey, hold on to your seatbelt, and don't spell any Mardras this thing is pricey enough as is.  Let's not add dry cleaning to the cost."   Iced runways provide a surprisingly level of traction.  But,, the plains weren't a runway.  It wasn't smoothed.  And, Foreshadow had taken great care to turn off any of the plane's instruments that would have alerted anyone to their presence.


The descent was fast.  Too fast, really.  As Foreshadow waited until he was 150' from the ground before lowering the throttle on the engine.  The snow made it hard to see.  The wind made it hard to steer.  All in all, Foreshadow had to admit there were worse ways to go.


The landing came in hotter than he wanted.  Almost making him regret not taking to the airport with a landing strip that would have put him parallel to the crosswinds.  Sure enough, As soon as the main landing gear of the plane touched the pavement, a strong gust tossed the plane to the left, actually blowing the left wing tip into the ground.  He pulled up, in an attempt to apply opposite rudder just enough to prevent the heading from changing.  It wasn't particularly smooth, however, and after a bit over banking the outboard wing, flap struck the ground.  Sparks visibly flying and the landing gear was put to the test and Foreshadow overcorrected to avoid the plane outright tumbling.


"I'd say don't tell Dee.  But, I can already feel her urge to tease me about our smooth landing from here."

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The Plane did come to a stop, although a large trench of snow and ice was left behind. Possibly a few nuts and bolts, too. There was an uncomfortable wrenching sound from the landing gear, and the flashing light on the dashboard indicated that the landing gear (or what was left of it) was stuck and would not retract on take off. 


All in all the rest of the plan was in good working order, bar a flicking light in the toilet. 


The snow was falling heavily; a mixed blessing, as it would conceal the plane and the landing (although finding the plane again might be a trick!), but would also be a devil to navigate too. However, they were probably only two or three miles from the power plant. 


And it was a fierce minus 20 outside...


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"Well, they say any landing you can walk away from is a good one so...good job." he states as he wipes what madras he escaped his mouth from his face as he picks up his large domed helmet, previously in the overhead baggage and now in the walkway and begins to affix it as he pulls himself and quite comically waddles his way out of the cargo bay doors to stand in the tundra.


"feels a bit nippy to be honest....you wanna try and fix the gear now or are we not expecting to have to make a quick get away?" he asks, a little nervous "this is the first time ive been on a real deal international secret agent mission haha...im a bit nervous." he confesses.

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