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Omni Parker Hotel, Boston, Massachusetts

Friday, 5 June 2015

Noon

 

The historic facade of the Omni Parker House overlooked the historic stone King’s Chapel and the historic green burying ground. It was a normal, busy day in the heart of Boston, and the hotel was busier than it usually was with men and women in neat suits filing into the entrance. In the middle of them were a few types that particularly stood out; like the man in the long saffron robes, or the woman in buckskins, or the man in a long cassock have a quiet, heated argument with a woman wearing a Catholic nun’s habit.

The crowd flowed up the stairs and into the mezzanine spaces, congregating around the Isabella Stewart Gardner and the Harriet Beecher Stowe rooms. With its doors opened to the 23rd Interreligious Convention, the staff at Parker House were continuously updated to the different dietary requirements the speakers and registered attendees had indicated. The lunch they had laid out for the first day of the convention was blander than they usually strove for, but each steamer platter was still delicious (and had its ingredients cleared listed).

Siobhan Drake found herself in line, staring at a starched wimple and waiting for her chance at the crab cakes. While she suffered in a non-smoking room, she felt a tug on her sleeve. She turned, and saw a young man in an old man’s body smiling at her. He was her height, balding, slim, his wrinkled face pulled into a bright smile, and a vibrant energy burned from every pore of his body. “Professor Siobhan Drake? I must say, I very much enjoyed your paper about occultism in post-war Western countries.” He smiled broadly and rocked on his heels, evidently pleased with himself at pronouncing ‘Shiv-awn’ properly.

Edited by Raveled

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Comrade Frost stood in King’s Chapel Burying Ground among the other dead men. He could see tour groups stop outside and read the Freedom Trail plaque and move on, but none entered the cemetery. In a busy, bustling city, it gave him a bit of peace. He’d been contact by the People’s Heroes only a few days ago, and had only gotten to boston this morning. The email had a dossier on Sgt. Sergei Volkov.

Volkov had joined the Red Army when he was 13, as a youth in Stalingrad, running ammo to gun nests and snipers as they fought to hold back the Nazis. After the war he became a regular soldier, rising the exalted rank of career sergeant. That was as far as the public record went; he served in the military, shouting at conscripts and bowing and scraping before enlisted officers and commissars. He had fought in Afghanistan, and it was noteworthy that a fifty-year-old was fighting from the frontlines and embarrassing hyperfit twenty-year-olds.

And then the Soviet Union dissolved and Sergei took his military pension and settled to St. Petersburg. As far as the public record was concerned he was a military retiree, but the People’s Heroes knew there were records that didn’t exist anymore, records that had a three-year gap in Sergei’s history, and other one or two week gaps afterwards. There were a couple dozen other individuals in the Soviet system who had such gaps, who exhibited extreme physical abilities and large pensions. There were only a few reasons Stalin would disappear his people and then make them reappear; but it had been a long time since anything like that had happened. Those days were a long time ago though, and while the People’s Heroes kept an eye on such people they were willing to let them live peacefully in Russia.

The problem was that Sergei Volkov was not in Russia anymore. Three days ago he had boarded a train to Lithuania, and from there to Berlin, and in Berlin the airport cameras had recorded him boarding a plane to Boston; but the cameras at Logan International Airport hadn’t seen him getting off the airplane. Sergei Volkov was not an easy man to miss, as most 6’ 4”, 240 lbs blond Herculeses aren’t easy to miss, but somehow he had disappeared.

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Siobhan stared wistfully at the crab cakes. This line was taking so long. So very, very long. And she wasn't a huge fan of having to wear a pantsuit. She'd gotten way too used to swanning around in robes all the time, or at least jeans when she was at work, and this more formal setting was just constricting, even with the university paying her to be here.

She turned to the man tugging at her robe and smiled. While not as pleased as he, it was indeed nice when people got her name right. You'd think being a publicaly known superhero and respected researcher would help with that, but nooo... Siobhan shook the man's hand. "Thank you, it seemed an interesting study, given the rapidly branching nature of post-1960s European occultism. I'm sorry, you know my name, but I..." She trailed off, rather than explicitly say 'I have no idea who you are' to this friendly old man.

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Comrade Frost had hardly ever been able to pass for human - so he didn't bother to try on this occasion. Skilled hand though he was with a surgeon's knife or a castrating tool, he was something of a blunt instrument when it came to serving his country. Instead he strode directly into the Parker Hotel, radiating cold and firmly decided intent as he scanned the room, earning the usual gasps and snapping pictures. He headed straight for the front desk, where he asked them to call security before showing them the picture of Sergeant Volkov. "Am Comrade Frost of People's Heroes and attached to Freedom League. The Sergeant is hero of Second World War," said Frost to the uniformed security guard, his voice full of not-entirely-false sympathy for the man's plight. "His face is kept young by powers, but mind, eh..." He pointed to his own temple, mentally apologizing to the shades of men and women rewarded for heroic valor by dementia and Alzheimer's - a long list now that he thought about it. "Would like to bring him home quietly and securely." 

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