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Moscow, Russia
Approximately 10000 miles above the center of the city
Monday,  February 2nd, 2015
1:14 AM

Foreshadow's last trip to Russia ended with him uncovering a >secret soviet conspiracy to win the Olympics with yet to be resolved complications.  Dressed to the in full costume, Foreshadow was currently leaning outside of the open side hatch of the plane.  Thousands of miles above the city of Moscow.  "I still think this is a bad idea."  An all too familiar reservation from the pilot called out.
His pilot was an alcoholic that couldn't even find stable employ with a PMC groups.  Mohammed Azzam was a veteran of the Soviet War in Afghanistan.  A man whose sacrifices for his country did not end in the war when he stepped on a landmine left behind by the Soviets.  Both his leg and arm were metallic replacements crafted by the local ASTRO Labs equivalent.  And he was the last person who felt comfortable "borrowing" a stealth plane to sneak into Moscow air space.
"Your reservations are noted.  Your payment has already been wired." Foreshadow's words were followed by the act of him leaping out of the moving plane.  Diving down towards the Russian capital.  Armed only with a parachute that hadn't been maintained since the late 1980s.  It was the sort of night Foreshadow lived for. 
When Erick Sloane popped up on Interpol's most wanted, he was inconvenienced.  When Erick Sloane was flagged at the London airport as a domestic terrorist, he was a little irked.  But, when an assassin showed up at his adopted father's home Erick Sloane was beyond outraged.  Of course, David could more than take care of himself which gave Erick a starting point.  
It took a lot of effort to track down the source of his troubles.  A long winding road that made one thing especially clear. Someone in Russia had it out for him.  Someone knew he was Foreshadow...


His recently established ties with Vanguard meant Erick had someone he could call if he needed assistance.  A thought that had crossed his mind many times.  There are just some things you need to do alone.  Things like sneaking into a country with some of the harshest prison conditions on the planet.


*        *        *


Even at 1 AM, the hero's descent into the city was a public affair.  But, none of the witnesses who claimed to have seen the lone man parachuting into the center of the city ha managed to snap even a picture.  Even fewer could place the direction he had run off towards.  The acrobat had wasted no time in donning his disguise.  Dirtying himself up he looked like a poor brown haired (hair dye was a wonderful thing especially water soluble die) tourist with a large lack of money.  Just the sort of person a local hostel would gladly take in.


Erick was counting on the fact that whomever was after him would be alerted to his public entrance to the country.  While at the same time he needed to blend as quickly as possible.  Though a single assassin had been sent to David's place.  There had yet to be a large out and out declaration that Foreshadow and he were one in the same. His foe was either sitting on the information or the fallout was instead a revenge motion due to his costumeless taking down of the Doctor and the Sleeper's olympic plans with Dee.


Either way Erick was set to get to the bottom of this whole thing.  The rest of the day was spent socializing with the other patrons of the Hostel.  Kristoff, as Erick had taken to calling himself, was a mouthy lad that mostly kept to himself when not preaching about the environment or new age mumbo jumbo.  Essentially he was a walking stereotype of the typical 'skipped college to save the world' youth that one could always be sure to find at a hostel.  Notable only in his ability to annoy the other patrons.

Edited by HG Morrison
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Finding out the best location for scouting out information on his foe in hiding wasn't too difficult a task.  His months long war with his precognitive foe in Freedom City had served to sharpen Foreshadow's investigative talents.  Questionable sorts always had their share of local watering holes, Erick  figured it was mostly so that they could brag about their latest accomplishments.  But, he accepte in truth it was nice to have some place to hang your head where you didn't have to hide a part of yourself.


In flashing neon lights the bar's name shined overhead.  It translated to something akin to Death in a Bottle in English.  Aside from the large bouncer hanging outside the door it was a pretty inconspicuous locale.  Inconspicuous enough for Erick to spend an hour staking out the bar to make sure he was in the right place.  Upon approaching the entrance the bouncer's palm reached out to push against Erick's chest.  Stopping him from taking another step.  <"I have money.  Please, just one drink?">


<"Go away. We are closed.">  The bouncer lied while music from inside clearly escaped the door.  He was a tall, muscular, man of well over six feet.  There was a 2 cm wide scar running down the length from the man's eye to his lips.  Tattoos on his arm spoke to a military background.  Despite the cool environment, his clothing spoke to a warmer season.  Aside from the cable knit cap donned on his skull.  His breath reeked of cigar smoke and vodka.  Doing nothing to distract the menacing glare from the bouncer's eyes as he looked Erick down.  In summation, the man cut an intimidating figure.


Erick's guise didn't exactly stand out from the rest rough looking clientele that had been moving in and out of the bar.  What he lacked was history.  The client's were expats, thugs, and thieves whom already knew each other.  And 'Kristoff' was simply too unfamiliar a face.   He couldn't just strike the bouncer down.  It'd end with too much attention on him that soon..  Reaching into his wallet, Erick pulled out a few rubles clearly attempting to bribe the man.


The bouncer took the money and smiled.  Just before pushing Erick backwards into the snow.  So much for the straightforward way.  When the Russian American rose from the ground, the doorman's expression made it clear.  He would not be budging in turn Erick took upon a dejected posture.  Retreating from the area Erick actually doubled back to swing into the nearby alleyway from the opposite end.

In the alleyway Erick made his way to a side entrance.  Crouching down in front of the doorway he got to work on silently picking the lock with intense focus.  So much focus he didn't hear the bouncer charging towards him.  Warned solely by his precognitive spatial awareness, Erick actually rolled underneath a hastily thrown kick to wind up on the other side of the man.  <"Sorry.  Sorry."> Erick raised both hands while making his declaration.
Punched in the jaw for his trouble, Erick shifted his body to narrowly avoid the second punch stepping forward.  Unfortunately, the shoulder led blow allowed the man to hook his arm around the acrobat's neck.  The doorman had clearly learned Sambo during his time in the military as Erick had fallen into the gambit of the casting punch thrown.  Hook, line, and sinker.
Or so it seemed.  Sometimes winning a fight was worse than losing one.  The bouncer wasn't going to kill him nor was he going to call the police.  No, this lapdog was clearly going to bring his prize to his masters.  The precognitive investigator could have fought his way out of the hold.  Instead, Erick brought his neck down allowing the man to get a tighter grasp of his chokehold.  The brawl would drop to knee level as Erick began to near blacking out.  Can't go out looking too much like a chump.  Reaching for a nearby rock in the snow Erick reared his hand back repeatedly slamming the rock into the doorman's eye until his arm fell limp.
The bouncer let go of Erick who smiled at the sight of blood rolling down the brute's face.  The last thing he saw before everything went black was the foot coming square towards his face.  
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  • 2 weeks later...

Erick was awakened by a splash of cold water.  His water soluble hair dye wasn't so brittle as to fall apart the instant it made contact with H2O but it was still something to watch out for.  Especially as a big meaty hand held him tightly by said hair.  That culd have potentially went a lot further in revealing the man was not a natural brunette.  


Erick was tied to a.chair.  Even before opening his eyes he knew that his wrists had been bound.  They skipped his feet.  That would be a mistake to cost them later.  Something Erick needed to remind himself of as he was struck in the center of his abdomen by a paddle.  Gasping out as he was forced to exhale, Erick's coughing was drowned out by laughter.


He gave a blurred look around the room, slowly setting back into consciousness, while comping with the pain.  Eight men.  Most of them appeared to be middle aged with fairly athletic looking physiques.  As if they went to the gym, but no one dedicated the task with any focus.  One was a definite athlete the only one who appeared to be in his 30s.  Erick could swear that he recognized the man from somewhere.  But, he couldn't place it.


<"Who are you?">  The man holding him by his hair screamed.  The screamer had an olive skin complexion.  His hair was greased back int oblivion and his breath reeked of vodka.  Erick figured the man owed a large part to his lack of volume control had to be the alcohol.  The fact that he then went one to squeeze Erick's cheeks in towards his lips in the hopes of eliciting an answer helped settle an instant dislike of the man.


The platinum hair man holding the paddle had cauliflower ears.  He had been in his share of scraps.  But that didn't necessarily mean he had won those scraps.  A thought that was of no comfort as he reared back with the paddle once more.  Clearly ready to strike if the group deemed it necessary.  <"Kristoff, I was just trying-">  Before Erick could continue his explanation of why he was even there, he was interrupted by the man holding his cheeks asking the very question he had planed on answering.  Or rather lying about.


<"Why are you here Krisfoff?">  The man's tone didn't lessen once he got an answer.  If anything he was agitated further.  Practically spitting all over Erick as he yelled.  A gift Erick did not care to much for.


<"Just shoot him Nazar.  The pretty boy annoys me">  A man called out from the peanut gallery.  This one was wearing a grey suit.  Which wasn't worth pointing out.  But, Erick knew his way around a suit.  And the drab looking thing was the only attire in the room that cost less than five figures aside from "Kristoff's" clothing.  His opinion was ignored.


But who knows how long that'll last?  Erick knew half truths made the best lies.  So that was what he fell back on.  Recalling the name of David Sloane's assailant.  If need be, Erick would toss the man under the bus.  He was already going to be serving prison time as it stood.  Especially if it bought him more seconds to work his wrists out of his binds.  <"An employer requested information.  I'm the best at sniffing out what I want.  I was just taking an honest look around." >


<"Honest he says.  Ha!  Grigor is right.  Shoot the rat.  He was clearly here to steal.  Picked the wrong place to stick his dirty nose.">


<"Shut up!  No one is stupid enough to steal from my bar.  Even the cops wouldn't mess with me.  He is no thief.  He is stupid.">  Nazar replied letting go of Erick's hair.  Barely managing to not take dye with him as he pulled back.  The hair being the least of Erick's concerns when Nazar pulled out a pistol.


"Alexei Smirnov."  The name was as common as say Bob Smith was in the states.  But the name drop filled the room with a bit of hesitation.  Far more than should have draw attention.  Smirnov wasn't an unknown quality.  It was a step forward.


<"What?  He is hired gun.  Clean work.  Why would he send a street rat in my bar?">


<"He told me he had a big job in America.  What if he failed them?>


<"Then Alexei is dead.  Not my problem.  If they want Alexei we turn him over.  Alexei is a nice enough fellow.  But, I'm not dying for that idiot.">


<"Unless Alexei made it our problem.">  There was a dawning or realization.  Unintentional though it may have been.  The room seemed content with drawing the conclusion they had been set up as scapegoats against bigger fish.  Settling the fact that they wouldn't have any more use for Erick alive.  Nazar began pulling the trigger.  


Before he could finish squeezing Erick had already flipped out of his seat.  Arms completely free from his rope bindings.  The bullet gracing by his hair in midair.  Wasting little time in clearing the distance Erick took out the bar owner with a well placed kick in the jaw landing on one knee calm and collected.  <"Right, we have a lot to talk abo-oh crap.">


Erick was finally able to place the man in his mid thirties.  No sooner had he come charging at him like a rampaging bull, before the newspaper headlines flashed before his mind. Erick rolled out of the way barely managing to regain his footing.  World champion boxer Petrov "the Human Wrecking Ball" Vasily.  A density controller barred from competing in the proper boxing organizations due to his powers.  The harder they are, the harder they fall.


Erick was sure it wouldn't take too long to deal with Vasily  Then...the rest of the group began reaching for their weapons

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  • 2 months later...

Blocking a bullet is easier than you would think.  Well, if you have precognitive warning, superb reflexes and two staves made out of the broken back of a chair you were previously tied to.  The real difficult part?  Holding onto said chairs sticks after a shot is deflected.  Erick's right arm went numb immediately after he barely managed to block a gunshot with the improvised weapon.  The second missed far and wide.  Luckily, there was no third shot.

Seeing as by that point Vasily had already reached him.  Proving why his moniker was the 'Wrecking Ball' by charging shoulder first into the gymnast's sternum.  The men in the room weren't thugs off the street.  Clearly they were veterans of war.  The criminals knew firing at him while Vasily was so near meant risking shooting the boxer.

So Erick had to contend with a trained boxer's punches instead of a hail of gunfire.  Small fortunes.  Especially after having the air knocked right out of him by that charge.  He knew he had to keep moving.  Staying still was death.  Ignoring the punch that followed, and barely holding on to consciousness as a consequence, Erick kneed the larger man in the groin.  

Stepping to the side he threw the lumber at two men.  Hitting them square in the face.  Six to go.  Five  guns left.  The remaining gunmen were clearly growing desperate.  Triggers were pulled.  Bullets flew.  And it became abundantly clear, Vasily would not serve as a proper body shield if they were willing to risk hitting him.  So the man otherwise known as Foreshadow struck the boxer in the carotid with a knife edge chop.  Vasily immediately dropped.

Five to go.  Five guns left.  As far as the Russian gangsters were concerned, Erick simply vanished out of thin air.  They took their eyes off him for a second in the shock of Vasily being knocked out.  And that was all the time he needed to disappear from view.  Sneaking up from behind he began taking the men out one by one.  As another fell, the remaining gangsters grew increasingly erratic.  When Nazar was the only one left he made a run for the door.

Nazar's legs were quick.  But, Erick was just a hair quicker.  Throwing a plate across the room the man was knocked prone.  Helpless to stop the "street rat" as Erick (or Kristoff as they knew him) had been dubbed.  Erick dragged Nazar over to the bar.  Pressing a broken beer mug against his captive's throat.  Not quite piercing the skin, just close enough to make the sharpness apparent.

<"Talk or bleed.  The choice is yours.  Personally, I hope you pick bleeding.">  It was a bluff.  Erick wouldn't actually go as far lethally injuring anyone.  And torture was squicky.  Scaring the piss out of Nazar though that he could do.

<"Please, I have a family.">

<"Who did Smirnov work for?">

<"Surova Energija.  Surova!  They hire him>

Erick had heard the name.  It was arguably one of the largest energy conglomerates in Russia.  With subsidiaries in multiple scientific fields.  Despite the company's questionable PR, there was nothing that made him think they had any. <"Why did Surova send him to America?">

<"I don't know!  I don't know!">  While Nazar was protesting Erick felt an all too familiar twinge.  By the time the front door had swung open the agile acrobat had already disappeared from view.  Having narrowly exited the building before the bouncer could catch sight of him.  Leaving only the wreckage of seven unconscious men, one scared out of his mind, and wrecked furniture everywhere to piece things together.

"Surova, huh.  I guess I'm doing a little research then."

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