Join Date: Jul 2008
Featuring Captain Freedom and Comrade
In order to avoid attracting unwanted attention, Alexi and Roger traveled to Dmitrov wearing only their civilian clothes. Alexi led Roger to the old warehouse where the facility was located. He brought him to the secret passageway which was protected by a wall. As he didn't remember how to open it, he decided to smash through it with his fist. Roger followed Alexi into the complex and proceeded down a long staircase.
They had come here in search of Alexi's brother, Sergei, also known as Red Star. He had disappeared in the early '70s, around the same time that Alexi was imprisoned in the Siberian gulag. This facility was the site of Red Star's last known mission, so they could only hope they would find some leads here.
Roger spotted a hidden camera on the ceiling, and quietly warned Alexi that whoever was inside could already know they were coming. And he was right. As soon as they entered the main room, a group of men armed with guns were surrounding them.
"We weren't expecting you to bring a friend, Alexi, but--"
Alexi slammed him to the ground before he could finish the sentence. His cat-like reflexes and super strength complimented by Roger's uncanny skill in battle allowed them to overwhelm the gunmen. Even without his shield, Roger was able to make short work of his opponents. It was just like the good old days as the two heroes fought back to back until only the pair of them remained standing.
"How did they know we were coming?" asked Roger.
"Someone had a feeling I'd go looking for Sergei as soon as I was free. Whoever was behind his disappearance all those years ago must still be active."
"Maybe it's time we got some answers," Roger suggested, and his eyes found one of the hired thugs, whose eyes got big when he realized he was about to be interrogated.
Alexi yanked the little man up by the shirtfront. "Where's Red Star?" he demanded.
"Red who?" the man asked, making a poor attempt to play dumb.
"You know why I'm here, and you knew I was coming, so cut the crap. Where's Red Star?"
"I want my lawyer!" he said. Alexi had more trouble restraining himself from causing the man permanent physical injury than he did mobbing the floor with these goons.
"You have two choices," said Roger, "you can cooperate and tell us everything we want to know now, and do the jail time, or we can pull the information out of you with Astra-Fire and we'll have to tell the judge that you were unwilling to cooperate with a missing persons case, which is only going to make your life even more miserable. Either way, we get what we want. Not so for you though."
Roger's method of persuasion seemed to be working. The man hesitated for a moment before speaking again. "Okay. Okay. I'll talk. But first you're going to have to cut me a deal."
Roger reached for his phone. "You know it just so happens I have my buddy Astra-Fire on speed-dial--"
"Wait, no! I'll tell you what you want to know!" the criminal exclaimed excitedly.
"Alright. We're listening. And keep in mind that we're pretty good at detecting lies."
"Okay, just remember, I wasn't even born back then so I can't be blamed for what happened in the past, you know so--"
"Just tell us what happened to Red Star."
"From what I was told, Red Star was on a mission in Dmitrov investigating illegal scientific experimentation on young children. He got in over his head, and...well, he had to be eliminated." His eyes darted to Alexi, and he was clearly gripped with fear. He hoped that if the superhero felt the urge to kill him, Roger would intervene.
"Sergei....is dead?" said Alexi in disbelief.
"The whole matter was kept quiet. They didn't want the whole superhero community to come down on top of them."
"Who did it?" yelled Alexi.
"A mercenary. A professional killer. He does jobs like that all the time, it was nothing personal--"
"I want a name!"
"Manslaughter. At least that's what we call him. We don't know much about him."
"I know him," Roger said. "He usually partners up with another supervillain with the codename of Primeval. Never met either one of them in person though. Usually they're foes of the Champions of Justice, but they've run jobs all over the world."
Alexi turned his attention back on his captive. "Is Manslaughter the man who hired you? Is he the one who arranged this little ambush?"
"We do work for him, but this wasn't his idea. He told us you were coming and ordered us to clear out but we thought we could handle you ourselves."
"Where is he now?"
"I don't know. He doesn't tell us where he goes. He doesn't trust anyone but Primeval, and he never gives anyone the opportunity to betray him."
"I want you to get a message to him for me."
"I can't do that."
Alexi felt his anger grow. "Why not?" he growled.
"We don't contact him, he contacts us."
Angrily, Alexi dropped the criminal to the ground. Roger laid a hand on his shoulder. "I'm really sorry about this, Alexi. I know you were already torn up about Elizabeth, and now this..."
"Thanks. But I'll get through it. And one way or another I'm going to make sure Manslaughter pays for what he did."