Part 67Update 31
: The scenic quay 19, just the right port for that gallant transporter of snuff videos, the Victor Matsnev.
A weatherbeaten cabin. A strong gust of wind would be enough to topple it.
An ordinary fishing vessel, typical of the Baltic fleet; rusty and cramped.
: About what I'd expect. Well, no point in dawdling - off off and to distant shores. Like Argus of the ancient times, tum-tum tum-tum tum-tum...
A stern looking guard stamps out of his box...
He is quite clearly serious, so you return to the quay.
: Oh well, the gangplank is for losers anyway. Proper heroes always go around. Good thing I left all my surveillance equipment behind.
You swim round to the seaward side of the Victor Matsnev.
Thankfully, the crates provide a fairly decent hiding spot.
He reaches the front of the boat and looks about, grumbling...
He takes a perfunctory look around, then wanders back to the other end of the boat, where he leans on the rail and gazes out at sea.
: I believe this is my cue to head down.
: Nothing here, and I wouldn't know how to operate the radio equipment even had I thought it relevant. What about...
Much like the rest of the boat, this cabin could use a good scrubbing. The smell of fish pervades.
: A spank magazine and a tractor romance. I believe I'll leave those be, but the rum and belt might be useful.
We head on up and...
: Hmm. I wonder...
: Hah! Time to investigate.
: No incriminating clues left lying around, and no hiding places that would pass a cursory inspection. Guess I'll head back:
: And down:
The cupboard makes for a perfect hiding spot.
After a minute, you hear the mechanic stumble down the stairs. He regretfully sets the bottle down and sets about getting the engine started.
: No head for drink, me? A joke!
The heavy diesel engine rumbles to life. Kapiton settles down for a meaningful discussion with his liquor.
: Yoohoo Kapiton, look at that one! Just asking for it!
Before he can get too far into it, you hear someone coming down the stairs. The mechanic hides his bottle in the corner and tries to look busy.
Savinkov takes a brief look at the machine room and the mechanic, before heading back up.
: Who's he think he is? 'nother damn tyrant!
Before Kapiton can get back to his bottle, someone else comes down the stairs.
: All right, all right. I'm here, aren't I?
: Just don't foul up. You aren't drunk, are you?
: 'course not! Whaddaya take me for? "No liquor on board, Kapiton!"
: We'll be taking it slowly, so keep the engine running sweetly, and you'll be ok.
The captain heads upstairs, leaving Kapiton to his work.
:"No slacking", he says. "Don't foul up!" Another damn Stalin...
Grumbling contentedly, Kapiton turns to some spiritual solace.
With a gentle lurch, the Victor Matsnev is under way. You wait...
A scant few minutes later, he's finished two thirds of the bottle and still seems happy...
A few minutes later, the bottle is finished. Kapiton, in some distress, weeps and curses softly.
: All things considered - my handler is manipulating me and colluding with the criminals, and I'm all alone on a hostile ship, trying to uncover what might be a vast conspiracy involving high-placed KGB officials - I'm feeling pretty good. Maybe it's because I'm finally out of the city. Maybe because I'm finally doing something of my own initiative, and no longer have to dance to another's tune. Maybe it's just because I'm out to sea.
The boats motor cheerfully chugs you into a vigilant half-sleep. The hours slip by...
A metallic voice crackles over the engine-room loudspeaker:
: Kapiton, check the cooling system!
You switch off the pump and replace the shredded leather belt with the rubber one. You switch the pump back on... It works! The engine purrs back to life.
Time to go back in the closet :/
You snuggle as best as you can, and snooze a little more. The minutes tick by...
Now that our sneaking around won't be as easy to spot, it's time to head up.
We could hide here for the rest of the journey and complete the chapter... but we need to be on the forward deck to get some info.
So you settle down... and wait. Two hours later, the Victor Matsnev slows down and gradually comes to a halt.
: What we're looking for is a flashing yellow light. It could be on any side, so keep your eyes moving.
A minute later, Obukov points at something.
: Excellent! They are coming to us! Let us work quickly; Kapiton, I need you to help friend Obukov carry the boxes down to the radio room.
: How many boxes is a-comin' aboard?
: Three, I imagine. Two small, and one rather large and heavy.
: You'll be wanting to get underway quickly.
: Quite. Oh, and Obukov - don't forget to give them the videotapes.
: I have them right here.
The yellow light comes closer.
The rowboat which transported Wallace vanishes into the night, taking away Verto's videotapes. Obukov and Kapiton carry the suitcases below, then return for the box. From the way they take pains to gently maneuver it down the stairs, it appears quite heavy - and fragile.
Fomichov returns to the cabin, and the Victor Matsnev begins to move. Kapiton goes back to his engine. The others head down the stairs.
: Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
We sneak down the discover:
The crate looks difficult to open. Lifting one end gingerly, you estimate its weight at
From the rest-room, you hear several voices in conversation, but can't quite make out what's being said.
: Before we attend to that, though:
The other suitcase holds an identical looking packet of crystals... except this one tastes like (and appears to be) simple sea-salt.
: Wouldn't it be terrible if the contents of these suitcases were accidentally exchanged?
: Whoops. And now, to listen in on what that smug dandy is conspiring to.
: Let me repeat. Obukov, you will deliver the dark suitcase to Savchenko, then go to your apartment and stay there. Wallace and I will deal with the crack, then take the crate to Tsibulenko for the final programing. At 09:00, the fourth member of our group will pick up the package and transport it to its final destination. Now I must beg your pardon, as I should ensure everything is going smoothly on deck.
Savinkov has stopped speaking. You hear him approaching the door...
This is our cue to head upstairs and get back behind those crates.
An intelligence officer's life seems to be 90% spent waiting in uncomfortable places...
The Victor Matsnev suddenly slows down and comes to gradual halt.
: Same as least time. Keep your eyes skinned for a flashing light.
: Obukov and Kapiton, you'll move the crate into the dinghy. Be careful with it! Put the blue case beside the crate.
Obukov and Kapiton retrieve the objects indicated as the dinghy draws near.
The others draw back into the cabin / back to the engine room, as we wait some more.
Time to head to the stern deck.
Maybe this is a good time to take your leave.
A short swim later:
: Well, that was moderately illuminating. The only question is - what's my next move?